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Kathryn Ireland, Lounge Wizard

The California-based designer has a new venture, new Santa Monica digs and oodles of her usual charm



Photography by Tim Beddow

The genius of Kathryn M. Ireland is that she can put together a space that is both beautiful and welcoming. There is nothing that screams “a decorator did this.” Like Beyoncé at the piano, she makes it look easy. 

We all know it’s not, which is why her latest venture, The Perfect Room, offers customers around the country a contained bit of her je ne sais quoi. The online site includes Ireland and several other A-list designers who can work remotely with a client, suggesting individual items or creating fully thought-out spaces that are shipped to the client’s doorstep.  

In the meantime, Ireland, who has decorated multiple California homes for herself (and for Steve Martin, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Drew Barrymore) has just finished her latest, a 4,000-square-foot Santa Monica nest that is home base for both living and working. We caught up with her while the youngest of her three sons, 24-year-old Louis, was basking poolside and Mario Lara had arrived to blow out her hair. Fortunately, her multitasking skills are legendary. Here, we offer a few snaps of her outdoor spaces, along with a bit of insight into how she works her magic. “Outdoor spaces need to work as rooms,” she says. “They also need to have a purpose and be comfortable.”

Like most of the products here, this Swedish-made, plastic-coated rattan swing; hand-appointed Indian table; and Peruvian rug from the Santa Monica flea market can be purchased from The Perfect Room. Ireland has one swing on each end, providing symmetry and serenity to her second-story veranda. “This is a really divine spot to sit and watch the sunset with a glass of wine,” she says. “It’s also my Sunday place, where I surround myself with newspapers, books and coffee.”

Outdoor spaces need to work as rooms. They also need to have a purpose and be comfortable. — Kathryn Ireland

The fire pit is one-of-a-kind from The Perfect Room. “I’d rather sit outside with a wrap over me than be inside,” Ireland says. 

There is not a fireplace in the living room. This fire pit is my replacement and it's great for entertaining." — Kathryn Ireland

The pooch, Charles, is on loan from Ireland’s son Otis, who currently partners with mom, running the family fabric business, otistextiles.com. Japanese tableware in gray and blue rests atop a ralli throw. Each throw is unique, but Ireland will be selling similar pieces on her new site. The wall sconce has a history: “I originally bought it for Steve Martin’s house, but it didn’t work,” she says. “I never buy anything for a client that I wouldn’t want myself.”

 

Ireland chose the dual mirrors, designed by Stephen Block of Inner Gardens, because they reflect the surrounding greenery and they’re “more interesting than looking at a white wall.” The daybed is an old sewing table of hers that she cut down and painted. “I love taking familiar things I’ve had forever and placing them in new surroundings,” she says. The fabric is North Haven in Indigo from her 2018 Summer collection. The green-plant palette consists of drought-tolerant plants, and the bougainvillea adds pops of color. 

I don’t ever use white or black in my decorating—life just isn’t that way.” — Kathryn Ireland

Nothing beats an outdoor shower. Ireland’s is made by Italian faucet and fixture company Fantini. The pink towels from Kenya are called kikois and provide both color and function. The light fixture is from Ireland's The Perfect Room line. 

 

Ireland in the Jacuzzi bit of her “cocktail pool,” thus named because a guest can walk from one end to the other while holding one. Sans beverage, it works well for a cooling-off dip.

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