Monday, May 11, 2009

Mondays Are For Day Dreaming- Getting To Know Celerie

Last Thursday I attended a lecture at ADAC featuring Celerie Kemble, author of the book To Your Taste and designer extraordinaire. It was wonderful. She is so down to earth and approachable. Her advice really works across the board from small to large projects. I thought today I would share some of her points that caught my attention. My comments are in blue.

First was the story of the book cover. The chairs shown were literally found on the side of the road and borrowed for this shoot, normally they are not there. She did not change the fabric thinking that later maybe it could be photoshopped or changed. As things progressed this picture became the cover just as it was. I loved hearing how such statement pieces came to be on the cover.

  • When she first started in the business she had not yet developed her own style so clients shaped her as she went along (which obviously worked).
  • She is not scared to pull out her cell phone at parties to take pictures of things that inspire her and she knows the length of her hand which she uses as a tape measure in these situations. I am going to start using this method I think.
  • A sofa must be 22" D.

  • While most people start a room based off big pieces like the sofa, she starts with the most complex element and works her way back. Take risks first. This is usually a bold pattern, interesting piece, etc.
  • "Don't let the fear of being tacky render you tasteless." Quote she loves, so true.


  • As a designer when you finish a project it stays with you and the unfinished pieces gnaw at you. You still keep your eyes open for pieces for the space.
  • Don't ignore the walk through spaces of the house- halls, entry ways, back doors, etc. They are the arteries of the house and where you spend the most time.
  • Budget is the filter through which she looks. When clients are not 100% honest with what can be spent it can hurt the project.
  • As a designer you have to be a strong editor but let them guide you.
  • There is no shame in copying someone else. Designers are copying for the client, not to claim we invented something. The headboard featured in pg 104 of her book was taken from an Elle Decor cover.
  • Quality is a luxury. It is a luxury to believe in the quality of the sources you are using. (usually determined by budget, but not the case all the time)
If you do not already own To Your Taste, you should really pick up a copy. It is refreshing to know that the person behind the designs is down to earth and could really be one your friends or peers.

All images Kemble Interiors

14 comments:

Kara said...

great post! my friend ashley works at kemble here in palm beach and loves it!
xx
kara

paula said...

love this! I especially love where she says don't ignore the walk through spaces of the house...

High-Heeled Foot in the door said...

Oh this was such to read. I love her and that book is actually on my nightstand now. Loved hearing that those chairs were just found on the side of the road. They are one of my favorite things in that room.

MyLittleHappyPlace said...

Think I'll hop over to Amazon and order the book muito pronto! Thanks for the re-cap!

LindsB said...

This is one of the only design books that I have read cover to cover, every single word. I love her and her book- she has such great design ideas and lessons.

Blair said...

Again, you are such a alucky duck! Love all these tid bits--how funny about the cover of her book. That qoute about the fear of being tacky is my favorite from her book!

bluehydrangea said...

Love this post. Especially the part about the chairs! I too have found furniture on the side of the road, my husband thinks I am crazy!

Blueprint Bliss said...

I don't have this book.. adding it to my list.

How was career day??

from the right bank said...

What a great blog you have! Thanks so much for visiting mine. I hope to see you again soon.

down and out chic said...

i really want to buy this book (i'm not a designer, but i am in my own home!) oh, and i'm loving your blog btw.

Maria Killam said...

Love that quote "Don't let the fear of being tacky render you tasteless!" So true! Great post.

Under a Green Roof said...

Jamie got me her book for Christmas and I love it! The floor on the cover is the inspiration for what I want to do in the kitchen on the floor!

Molly Jean said...

thanks for sharing...LOVE LOVE LOVE Celerie's work!

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