Meet the Designer: Kendall Wilkinson

Name: Kendall Wilkinson
Resides in:
 San Francisco
Occupation: Principal of Kendall Wilkinson Design
Best known for: Bold use of decadent color; the artful ability to balance the old with the new.

1. Antique or modern?
For me, it’s rarely an either/or proposition. In fact, I like to use one to help reinvent the other in the same space—it evokes a more well-rounded interior. 

2. City or country?
It’s the experience of both that strikes harmony for me. I need the duality to stay balanced. 

3. Which colors do you use most?
Violet and platinum are top contender. And, of course, my signature orange and blue!

4. Favorite materials or textures?
Good design is such a tactile experience. I love anything that makes me want to grab it—the quality of hide, linen velvet, mohair, and silk feel so amazing, and I also love the smoothness of a honed stone.

5. What is your favorite interior design–related word?

6. Does your home look like the one you grew up in?
Oh my, no. I grew up adrift in a sea of chintz, with layers of floral upon floral. While I can appreciate some of it now, it certainly doesn’t live in my home.

7. Does a room need a view?
Not necessarily. A stunning photo, painting, or mirror can turn a solid wall into something stare-worthy.

8. Favorite designer or architect?
Frances Elkins and Albert Hadley.

9. Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without?
Besides Lonny? I have to say, I love the feeling of holding a magazine and reading Elle Décor or Architectural Digest from end to end. I also reference the Financial Times a lot—it helps me gauge market trends.

(Photo by Aaron Leitz, courtesy of Kendall Wilkinson Design)
10. What qualities do you most admire in a room?
One that demonstrates full-circle thinking. In other words, a space that has clearly considered the components end to end: layered textures, proper scale, function, and finishing touches.  

11. What is a forbidden word in your house?

12. Design rule you like to break?
The idea that art needs to match a room. To me, it’s antithetical to the effect art is supposed to have.  

13. What is your favorite room in the house?
The family room. It’s the epicenter of living, and I love to make these beautiful and yet totally usable. 

14. What is your most treasured possession?
My boys. 

15. What do you wish you could do without?
Sometimes I wish I could tear myself away from email, but out of necessity, it has become like another appendage.

16. What are you afraid to DIY?
Many things! That's why I have a cadre of amazing craftspeople to help bring my visions to life. Sometimes trying to do it yourself can diminish the intrinsic beauty of how something should be done.

17. Have you ever had a change of heart about an object or a style?
Do hairstyles count?

(Photo by David Duncan Livingston, courtesy of Kendall Wilkinson Design)19. On what movie set would you like to live?
Downton Abbey or Don Draper’s apartment. 

20. What is your favorite design errand or journey?
Shopping in Paris—it’s one of my first loves.

21. To which country would you move for the design?
France, France, France.

22. What's your favorite hotel?
Cliveden House in England is spectacular. It’s very traditional, but there is something almost beautifully haunting about the landscape and historic feel.

23. If you were reborn as a piece of furniture or an object, what would it be?
The unique accent chair in the corner that doesn’t generally get sat on, just admired.

24. What does "accessible home design" mean to you?
Accessible to me means it’s within reach psychologically—it’s beautiful, but still totally livable and lovable without feeling like a showpiece that can’t be touched or enjoyed.    


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