Fun-loving and hard-charging, Kristin Lam isn’t afraid to knock down walls to ensure he clients get the flow and design they want.
Thanks for joining us, Kristin. Tell us a little bit about how you got started in interior design.
I was interested in design from a very young age. Born into a family of women with an innate sense of style helps. My aunt was a fashion designer in NYC and she and my mother had an incredible knack for design as well. They were able to combine antiques from their grandmother (that were really just family hand me downs to us) with some modern elements and end up with a fabulously beautiful room that was warm, inviting, balanced and up to date all at once. It really was a marvel to see them work.
Southern California definitely has a cool vibe. What elements of the SoCal lifestyle do you try and incorporate into your designs?
The great thing about living in SoCal is that there are so many design elements right at our doorstep. I live within walking distance to the ocean so my own personal style lends itself to a relaxed coastal feel. But really anything goes here. We have everything from the coastal beach cottage to mid century modern to the big Italian villas. I love it all and really enjoy working on the different styles.
Describe some of your most challenging spaces? Does a more unique layout always benefit the designer? Hurt?
I love a good challenge. I recently remodeled a 1947 cottage that had no flow to the house from the beginning. Removing a couple of walls, reevaluating and repurposing the use of the rooms created a completely different feel in the entire home. If the designer can pull off taking a unique space and making a huge transition for the client it definitely helps. It shows the designers ability to achieve what can seem unattainable to some clients. I love when I have a client that has never used a designer and has little trust for the process. It’s so fun to transform the space and then see the client completely transformed in their thinking as well. At that point I become their most trusted friend and the process of working with them is much easier.
The idea of flow is huge in design. How are your designs patterned to help the occupant feel that the space is stress-free?
Making a home a clients sanctuary is paramount for me. In a world that is increasingly stressful our homes should be a place of peace and rest from the world. I use a more monochromatic color scheme with an accent color repeated here and there. I like soft, natural textures like linen, wool, wood and natural stone. Layering rugs on top of a hard surface lends warmth, texture and interest in any room.
Area rugs are versatile and since SoCal has plenty of loft space with hardwood floors, I’m sure you see a bunch. Tell us how you tend to incorporate them in your design?
I love using rugs in my design. They add another layer of texture and warmth to a room. The style and design can also change the room based on what type of rug is used. I always cover a hard surface be it tile hardwood or stone with rugs. The room doesn’t look inviting or finished without a beautiful rug on the floor.
Do you have a type of area rug that you lean on most? Or is it a case-by-case basis?
I love using kilim’s and tribal rugs because of the design elements of the rugs, the story they tell and the history of the people that is so embedded in their culture through the rugs. I recently went to the Konya region in Turkey where there are some of the most beautiful kilims I have ever seen. The rugs are so embedded in the life of the tribal people. They are used as dowries, door coverings, donkey bags and layered on the dirt floors for warmth. To walk into a room with a rug like that on the floor is like uncovering a piece of history from another world. It’s truly a work of art and a labor of love for these people.
How much is too much when it comes to rugs?
I have to laugh. The sky is the limit. It depends on the clients budget, much like buying a car the prices vary greatly.
Any final words of design advice? Get a rug that makes you smile every time you look at it. If you purchase the right rug it will only increase in value over the years.
Where can readers see your work, or make an appointment for consultation?