Over the last 20 years, Kendall Wilkinson has become one of the most highly regarded and sought after residential interior designers in the West. Chosen as a contributing designer to the prestigious San Francisco Decorator Showcase six times and the ELLE DÃ‰COR Showhouse, Kendall continues to earn accolades in the industry and demonstrates her ever-evolving design talents.
What inspired this career path for you? I left a career in the movie industry to study abroad in Paris. While there, I was inspired by the architecture, art, and design, and decided to forge a new path. Also, my mother is a celebrated interior designer and one of my greatest influences.
What is your go-to source for inspiration? There are many! Art, nature, travel are some. I think having downtime for reflection and observation is really important.
Tell us about your creative process. As I said, I am inspired by nature and travel… a color, a sound, a texture. This is where the thread starts. And when I meet with a client for the first time, I listen carefully and take cues from several areas. What their passions are, what colors they wear and have around them, the things they collect, the places they’ve travelled themselves, how they enjoy living. A vision develops from the blending of these elements and I go from there.
Describe your style in 6 words or fewer. Versatile, authentic, stylish, and always functional!
What’s a staple in your tool kit? Texture — I think the proper layering of texture is critical and can make or break a project. This is equally true in a monochromatic project where texture is tantamount as well as a potentially more restrained texture in a multi-hued interior.
Who do you look up to in the design world? I really admire the French designer Jean-Louis Deniot. He is so multi-talented and approaches his work holistically, through the disciplines of both architecture and interior design. His work is a little quirky but always sophisticated, and I love the way he uses materials and textures. Even though he tends to work with a neutral palette, his work is always interesting and never without surprises.
If you could design a space for anyone, what kind of space and for whom would it be? I draw huge inspiration from fashion and I would create a space for the French designer Isabel Marant. She is a favorite of mine! She was a tomboy growing up, and started her career making her own clothes because she couldn’t find the kind of clothes she liked. She was so resourceful, and her career blossomed from there. I love that about her. Her space would be a Paris apartment that reflects her style… casually chic, somewhat bohemian, and never over-thought.
Tell us your favorite design-related word, phrase, or quote. Order equals Calm — this is my motto for work and life. The Bay View project is a one-bedroom apartment, but has incredible and innovative storage so that everything has its proper place. The monochromatic scheme helps to draw your eye to the gorgeous views. Perfect for unwinding after a long day at the office.
Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without? There are so many to love! I just finished looking at Interiors magazine. The projects featured tend to be cutting edge and the sheer beauty of that publication is a treat! The layout is uncluttered and the projects are so artfully displayed that it is easy to focus on the details. Some of my favorite personal time is to make a cup of tea, find a quiet space (not easy with two young boys), and linger over my magazine stack: there are so many wonderful magazines, and I love the tactile nature of turning the page.
What do you love about Viyet? I think it’s a great place for clients to list pieces when they change out a room; there are also some great finds. It’s an easy shopping experience!