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In 2008 she opened Kendall Wilkinson Design and Home at 3419 Sacramento Street. A plethora of furniture, bedding, cashmere throws, traditional-chic home accessories and a custom collection of chic lacquer and Lucite tables and chairs await those seeking a shower or hostess gift, and those looking to decorate their home top to bottom. In addition, she has her design business she runs. She started carrying Bee Line Home soon after its launch and welcomed Bunny to the area with a festive cocktail party. Her shop is a go-to for those in the Bay area seeking high end traditional showcased in a bright space filled with colorful and stylish vignettes. I eagerly await her new home furnishings line, see it here soon!
As a designer and shop owner, which do you find is more of a challenge and why?
Great question. Each really presents unique challenges, so it’s hard to say. As a shop owner I can create the aesthetics entirely from my own point of view, without constraint. With my clients, I am careful to keep their desires and needs in the front of my mind, which as a designer challenges you to create the right balance between being true to your design sensibility, while not overriding the client’s ideas.
Your work is full of color and fashion forward. What do you think is next regarding trends in color, material, style, influence, historical period and locale?
I really appreciate it when my viewers can see how heavily fashion influences my design work! Right now, more and more, the ultra-fem features of fashions past are making their presence again in our current times. We are seeing resurgence in fabulous ruffles, floral rosettes, and jewel encrusted lace accent pieces. But the fun part is that some of the colors are totally new. Cement violets, taupe, chartreuse and slate grays are really hot. It’s sort of like 1930’s glam meets a 1970’s mod color palette.
Do you have a signature look and how would you define it?
I like to think that I evolve, but still keep my core design principals intact. If you were to lay out all my work side by side, you might see that I tend to be quite tailored and crisp, and clean- but love the use of bold color. I am traditional in my approach, but never stuffy. Antiques will also always be one of my truest loves, so you’d be hard pressed to see a project that didn’t feature my vintage treasures among the newer ones.
Do you have a singular favorite fabric pattern or print?
I tend to love bold linen prints. They make their way into most of my projects one way or another.
What material do you love?
When not using bold linen prints, I really love the look and feel of mohair. It has amazing color range, and adds a great textural element to a space. It can go totally casual and fun, or be part of a very traditional interior. I have an off white mohair sofa in my living room that adds elegance and texture to the space.
Where do you shop in SF and other cities to get inspired?
I got my start in the industry as I began to travel frequently to Paris and the south of France to buy antiques for friends and clients. The auctions in Provence and Paris yielded some amazing finds, which eventually led me to opening my own shop. SF has a great collection of independent showrooms within the design district which showcase amazing vintage, European and one of a kind treasures. I particularly love Sarlo, Epoca and Coup de’Etat just to name a few. La Cienega in LA is a must see when I am shopping for clients down south. In New York City, John Rosselli Antiques & Decorations offers a wonderful range of antiques.
What are some great lines you always carry in your shop?
For the past two years I have been really focused on my own private label line actually. I carry a signature candle, some really elegant lambswool and angora throws and have a line of lacquer and Lucite furniture. But we also represent other great lines like Serena & Lily, the Morgan Collection and we love little accessories from Roost.
Do you have San Francisco Trade Secrets you turn to?
I have incredible resources that my company works with directly. They range from top notch upholsters to very accommodating window treatment vendors. When a client signs up for my services, they know I have a great resource list that will get them the best quality mixed with the best competitive price points.
Who did you work for and where did you study to learn the trade?
My very talented mother, Alice Wiley.
When did you know this was your calling in life?
I was working in the film industry when one night, over dinner with my interior designer mother, I had an epiphany. As my mother discussed her job, I realized it might be the right career for me as well.
What other designer do you most admire living or not?
Bunny Williams, Barbara Barry, Elsie de Wolfe, Sister Parish, and Albert Hadley.
What books do you own old and new that you constantly refer to?
An Affair with a House by Bunny Williams, Grace coming out by Anne Lamott, and Vogue Covers Published by Little, Brown.