Q&A: Nickey Kehoe

Q&A: Nickey Kehoe
(A verdant corner of a West Hollywood loft (above left) and designers Todd Nickey and Amy Kehoe. Photos courtesy of Nickey Kehoe and Giovanni Jance)
Names: Todd Nickey and Amy Kehoe
Occupations: Co-founders of residential and commercial design firm Nickey Kehoe; NK Collection, the duo's signature furniture line; and NK Shop, a cult decor boutique in West Hollywood
Reside in: Los Angeles
Best known for: Stylistic trademarks including "William Morris wallpaper, anything by Christian Austuguvielle, Mathieu Matégot light fixtures, and weathered wood pieces," in Kehoe's words, for a personal, thoughtfully curated aesthetic that's "certainly heavy on aspiration and an overall blend of feminine and modern."

1. Antique or modern?
Both. We really enjoy the combination of eras and periods living together. It helps a home feel collected and not appointed.

2. City or country?
Both ... why not? We find equally as much energy and inspiration from cities as we do from being quiet and still in nature.

3. Which colors do you use most?
Green and blue in a variety of hues, and gray is another favorite in all different finishes.

4. Favorite materials or textures?
AK: Brass, rush/wicker, and waxed finishes.
TN: Velvet, burlap, and corduroy.

5. What is your favorite interior design-related word?
Juxtaposition. At the risk of being overused, it still helps us define a point of view that reflects how we approach working with our clients.

Q&A: Nickey Kehoe
(The romantic sitting room in a Long Island residence (above left) and a detail shot in a Los Feliz dining room. Photos courtesy of Nickey Kehoe and Amy Neunsinger)
6. Does your current home look like the one you grew up in?
TN: Maybe it still reflects my bedroom as a teenager, but not the rest of the house I grew up in. What is reflected is an inherent casualness to how we live in our house now. Rooms are used, furniture is not precious—dogs are allowed everywhere—and nothing is over decorated.

7. Does a room need a view?
A room does not need a view in the traditional sense of looking beyond the structure—but I do think it needs a point of view, or a soul. Even one great piece of furniture could become the view of the room.

8. Favorite designer or architect ?
TN: John Pawson. I love how simply and understatedly he designs and builds, and yet how much incredible detail and warmth he can conjure in an empty space.
AK: Gert Voorjans is a designer whose project images are ones I've been tearing out (and now pinning) for years, before I knew the man behind them. His sensibility is bold, if not wild. His work at the Dries Van Noten store in Paris is exceptional.

9. Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without?
AK: World of Interiors—it’s just a treasure of visual inspiration.

10. What qualities do you most admire in a room?
TN: I respect a room that has depth and character but is inviting and comfortable to be in.

Q&A: Nickey Kehoe
(The NK Shop interior. Photo courtesy of Nickey Kehoe)
11. What is a forbidden word in your house?
TN: Neat.
AK: Yummy, when not referring to food or babies.

12. Design rule you love to break?
TN: God, I love to paint floors—I know it's not forbidden or a rule to not do it. But I can be pretty irreverent about it.

13. What is your favorite room in the house?
TN: The kitchen. I love cooking and all that comes along with it: plates, cookware, utensils, and ingredients!

14. What do you wish you could do without?
TN: I don't really think there is much I have that feels excessive. I have too many clothes, but I do tend to recirculate on a regular basis. 
AK: Driving.

15. How does West Coast design differ from East Coast design? Does it?
TN: I really like the casualness and larger scale of LA. But I also get into the tradition and history of the East Coast.
AK: On the heels of a trip to Charleston, we were both reminded of and so inspired by the truly eclectic traditional style of the South—you don't see as much of that on the West Coast.

Q&A: Nickey Kehoe
(An architectural tri-armed light fixture pulls focus in a Hancock Park living room. Photo by Sam Frost) 
16. What is your favorite thing about the West Coast—design-related or otherwise?
AK: The endless access to the outdoors; that a door or window can be left open most of the year is something to love.

17. If you could live in one historical figure’s house, whose would it be?
TN: Monticello. I think Thomas Jefferson was a genius and I love how his passions and intellect led the way he lived in his home.
AK: I have two historical fantasies—both involve plantations either in the South or the sisal plantations/haciendas of the Yucatan. Of course, [in my head] I've conveniently eliminated the humidity factor.

18. On what movie set would you like to live?
AK: It's a somewhat disturbing movie, called Adore, but what got me through it was the utterly beautiful scenery of the Australian coastline.

19. To which city or country would you move for the design?
TN: Japan. I love the inherent combination of beauty, simplicity, and function found in Japanese design.
AK: Morocco, for the bright colors and handmade quality of the craft and furniture.
I am Editor-at-Large at Lonny.
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