Yesterday, I interviewed interior designer Kathryn Ireland of Bravo's Million Dollar Decorators about her career, her design advice, and some of her clients featured on the show. Ireland is known for her relaxed, congenial approach to design, and her understated interiors are notably family friendly. Ireland has three sons of her own and is a frequent entertainer — read about it in her new book, Summers in France — so I thought I'd ask for her tried-and-true advice on creating a family-friendly home.
On textile selection and decorating for your lifestyle:
"I think that nothing can be too precious. I don’t use silks and incredibly expensive fabrics on drapery or the sofa. It has to make people feel comfortable and then you live in that environment. When you were living at Versailles or in the grand days, it didn’t really matter, but the way we live today, we live in our kitchens. And we do the cooking — even if you have someone cooking like I have Jacqueline. So our houses have to reflect the way we live today. So I go for linens and cottons and things that can be cleaned. There’s nothing worse than feeling that you can’t just jump up and down on the sofa and just have a good time. I mean, kids have to be kids! And adults have to be kids at the same time."
"It’s very important if you’re entertaining, which I do a lot of, to make people feel comfortable. Manners are very important to me. I don’t like people just going and helping themselves to something in the fridge; I like when people ask. But I also like people to feel very relaxed and that they can unwind and have a good time."