This week, I had the opportunity to chat with interior designer Kathryn Ireland, a cast member of Bravo's hit new reality show Million Dollar Decorators, about her career, clients, shopping routine, decorating advice, and experience on the series. Check out the first part of our interview below!CasaSugar: So how did you get involved in Million Dollar Decorators?
Kathryn Ireland: I was a guest judge on that show with Margaret Russell, Top Design, and I met with someone from Bravo and a girlfriend of mine, Brittany Lovett, brought up the idea to Bravo to have a decorating show with kind of an ensemble cast. And actually originally, it was three of us, and I happened to be the only one that ended up doing it. So I’ve kind of been there from the beginning.
I’ve also done a show in England called Design Wars, where I was on the air every day for a month making over a house that was actually a competition. I was representing England, and there were five other countries, and we all had to make over an identical house, kind of in the style of our country. So I’m pretty comfortable with being in front of the camera.
CS: How is balancing the show with your client base and your day-in and day-out workload?
KI: It’s juggling! I didn’t take my usual Summer holidays off, and I’ve got the kids, and even though they’re older, they still need parenting. Probably even more so now than when they were younger. So, you know, it was challenging, but ultimately it was really fun.
I was only interested in doing a show that was going to be amusing. I think too many of these shows are just dull, and I am more interested in entertainment than anything else. And I think the idea of this ensemble cast was very well cast, because I think we’re all incredibly different and we work well together, and I think it’s a good mix of characters.
Continue reading for the rest of the interview!
CS: I know you’ve known Martyn [Lawrence-Bullard] for 10 years or so, were you acquainted with the other designers before the show?
KI: Yes, I knew Nathan very, very well. When I had my house in Ojai, CA, which I sold to Reese Witherspoon, Nathan used to come up most weekends and cook. He just loved to get away. We spend a lot of time together, so I know him very well. Mary, I knew the least. And actually Jeffrey and Ross, they’ve been new-ish friends. We don’t live far from each other. So some of us were brought together before necessarily being great friends.
CS: Have you found that there’s a strong design community in LA?
KI: There is, there is. And I think it’s a very nice design community, because we’re all pretty much good friends. There’s a good camaraderie between us. And I know, you go to places like New York, and everyone’s a little bit cutthroat. But New York is New York. Here we’re a bit more laidback.
I think certain people are attracted to certain cities because of their personalities, and I think LA is very representative of who I am. I can hike in the morning, go to work, go to the beach . . . there’s so much diversity here and also bringing up three boys, I can’t think of a better place to live. You’re living in a city where it’s full of culture and interesting people from the entertainment and music business, or from the banking business, and a lot goes on that you don’t necessarily think of in LA. But I’ve lived here for, you know, almost half of my life, and I couldn’t imagine not ever living here as part of my life.
CS: Where are some of your favorite places to shop, in LA or around the world?
KI: In LA, my two favorite shops at the moment are The Melrose Project and Galerie Half. They’re very different, but they’ve got good things. Then I’ve got all these kind of funky places where I go and get Indian and Moroccan stuff. I love going to the Santa Monica flea market at the Santa Monica airport because it’s a small market. And I know all the dealers now, and they know me. It’s an interesting journey.
I love picking things up wherever I go. In London, there’s a great place called the Gas Works, a group of 12 antique dealers or so that all show in an amazing old factory. In Paris, there’s a shop called Origines, which has a shop in the city and an amazing warehouse about an hour outside of Paris. I have a great resource in Melbourne, Australia, called Vixon and Velvet that I also buy from. Then, of course, I’ve got all my little antique shops down near me in southern France. I’m not so keen on all the places that everyone else goes to like all those places that were done for the Americans. But I speak fluent French and Italian, so when I go in, I’m speaking their tongue, which is a great help.
Stay tuned for part two of this interview coming up soon!