It must be quite a feeling to know you're at the top of your game, especially when your game includes balancing a child's cereal, a schedule book, client meetings, and multiple trips to the trés chic design center. A designer to some of San Francisco's most elite clients, Kendall Wilkinson manages a juggling act at home and at work while churning out perfection in some of the most fabulous homes in the Bay Area. If a walk by her Sacramento Street storefront makes you swoon, just imagine a tour of a home she has tailored from head to toe.
Curious to see what makes her tick, I asked the lovely lady to sit down and reveal some of her trade secrets and words of wisdom for our devoted Casa readers.
CasaSugar: What is the biggest trend you are seeing right now?
Kendall Wilkinson: It seems like midcentury gems are in high demand. The words Saarinen, Knoll, and van der Rohe seem to flutter through the design world these days. It's interesting to me, since for so long midcentury design was sort of rejected as being of our parents' time. But I guess like frosted lipstick and the wedge sandal, it's back! I actually really enjoy midcentury style, and see how seamlessly it can fit into today’s modernism.
CS: Where do you look for inspiration?
KW: Often referred to as a devoted Francophile, my adoration for all things French is no secret. I attribute my travels in Paris and Provence as being the launching points for my career as I am continually inspired by the architecture, culture, art, and fashion. But closer to home, I’d say that the beauty of the Bay Area landscape always inspires a new color combination or design concept.
CS: It seems you like to mix a lot of vintage with new — what is your go-to for antique pieces?
KW: Parisian flea markets and estates in Provence are ideal destinations for amazing vintage finds, but when traveling such distances is just not possible, I love to pop to Maine for some fabulous finds.
To see her other nuggets of wisdom,
CS: What is your favorite part of your job?
KW: I always enjoy the creative sparks that fly when I collaborate with other artists, vendors, architects, you name it. It's wonderful to share ideas and come up with something special. And of course, seeing the final installation of a really spectacular job is a great reminder of why I do what I do. It's very exciting.
CS: What is your day like?
KW: My days are nonstop! I’m often hopping on one high heel while I’m making sure my kid’s cereal has milk before I jet to a client meeting. I try to achieve a good balance of life and work, but while I am on the clock, I am running from meetings to showrooms to my office where I check in with my team. It's often hectic, but that's part of what makes it fun and unpredictable.
CS: What are your biggest challenges in design?
KW: It's sometimes a challenge to continually be innovative and fresh, while being sure to delineate between being fresh and being trendy. I want my work, whether classic or modern, to be timeless. I have force myself to look ahead.
CS: Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite style home?
KW: I love Neo-Classical architecture, hence why San Francisco is one of the ideal places for me to be.
CS: What is the one thing in your own home you cannot live without?
KW: Based on the way I answered the question about my typical day, it's safe to say that my bed is my prized physical possession! I designed the tufted headboard in a soft blue color and it reminds me of a cloud sometimes — very serene and inviting. At the end of a long day, it’s a very welcome sight.
CS: What would you splurge on and what would you save on?
KW: Splurge: shoes and save: dining out. I know it's cliché, but we all love a great pair of heels!