Creating a Home

Kathryn M. Irelands 2009 book "Creating a Home"

Kathryn M. Ireland is an accomplished and renown designer with a long list of big-spending clients. She is a super savvy business woman who has created lines of some of the most amazing and sought after home decor fabrics, wallpaper, and accessories. When it came to her purchasing a run down but historic ranch in Ojai Valley in California though, her decision was based primarily on emotion.  In her beautiful 2009 book entitled Creating a Home, Ireland relates her attachment to the ranch and all of its outbuildings, through her thoughtful consideration of  the property’s charming and well-crafted details during the restoration process.

Although I am sure she spent loads of money tackling this seemingly impossible and enormous undertaking, I learned so many things while reading the book and taking in all of its gorgeous photos.

The great room at the Libbey Ranch. The mix of small and large artifacts, the casual draping of a vintage textile over the sofa back and the roaring fire ground the room in warmth despite the soaring ceiling.
Ireland writes about pieces that she takes with her to every home she has created. This unique painted side table brings in loads of personality. Somehow, it both blends in with the accessories above and makes its own design statement.
A cozy bed in a nook in the guest quarters. Irelands advice for a comfortable guest room is to offer plenty of clean and warm linens as well as empty drawers and closets. Make them feel like they can really settle in and relax.
The master suite feels like a true retreat, with lots of space to roam. Ireland uses table lamps and sconces covered in fabric throughout the home. The use of these instantly creates a feeling of intimacy in a space. To quote her: "And just ask any woman to name one overhead light she considers her ally." Its so true. I have had an aversion to overhead lights, and a healthy obsession with table lamps ever since living in my first dorm room at college.

I also loved the fact that so many of her wonderful textiles are dotted throughout the home’s rooms and live  side by side so harmoniously.  This blending of patterns and prints has given me a new sense of confidence and a more adventurous eye. When I finally selected fabrics for my throw pillows, I chose things that didn’t match perfectly or all come from the same designer or collection. Of course, I have been on eBay trying to get even a remnant of one of Kathryn Ireland’s Mexico Meets Morocco designs, which she conceived of while renovating the ranch.

The Mexico Meets Morocco collection by Kathryn M. Ireland. I would LOVE to use an assortment of these fabrics. Unfortunately, neither the fabrics themselves, nor the pillows for sale on her site are within my humble budget.

Alas, nothing. I won’t give up, but it was time to press on. Here is a preview of the fabrics I finally purchased:

An assortment of prints, all from JoAnns. One is a batik, the solid teal is a linen cotton blend. The other two will work together to form fronts and backs of the same pillow.

I’ll certainly post photos when I’ve got the pillows done. I am now looking forward to diving into the project, newly inspired by this amazingly talented designer.  I also look forward to getting my hands on a copy of her new book Summers  in France, just out in stores now.

Just out. Get it at your local book vendor or on Irelands website.

All photos, except for my own, are from Kathryn M. Ireland’s website.

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