Design Q&A with Cloth & Kind

Design Q&A with Cloth & Kind

Abby Stone
May 6, 2014
(Image credit: Cloth & Kind)

Krista Nye Schwartz and Tami Ramsay, professionally known as CLOTH & KIND, chose Ian Fleming's Goldfinger as the inspiration for their window at Sydney Harbor Paints as part of this year's Legends of La Cienaga event. With offices in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Athens, Georgia, the duo specialize in residential interior design, with projects in the Midwest and on the East Coast. Schwartz and Ramsay are renowned for their ability to create spaces rich with history and heart, and the interiors they create are layered with one-of-a-kind pieces and finished with unique textiles, art and furniture.

The dynamic design duo also pen the blog CLOTH & KIND, which specializes in showcasing leading and emerging talents and personalities in the interior design, textile and art communities. Their ongoing column, PROUST ON DESIGN, which offers a design-related spin on French novelist Marcel Proust's classic questionnaire, has been answered by many of design's marquee names, and both their design work and blog have been featured in House Beautiful, Lonny, The Atlantan and The Huffington Post, among others.

What inspired you to choose the novel/book you have selected for this year’s LCDQ Legends of La Cienega event?
We chose Ian Fleming’s Goldfinger for a variety of reasons. First, who does not love the dashing and dapper agent 007 James Bond?! We consider the post-war era of the book a wildly pivotal period for art, furniture and lighting design. It was a time that eschewed the formalism of the 40s and 50s and embraced a non-conformist mix of styles, patterns, periods and colors. This speaks to our design aesthetic fundamentally, and we favor mid-century modernism over most eras of furnishings, for being lean and mean, glamorous and sophisticated.

What novel to movie adaptation got the production design/set design right? Please give an example of one that got it wrong, too!
Truly, Goldfinger did! The film won an Academy Award and is still considered one of the best Bond films to date. Plus, the set design was spot on, whether in sun-soaked Miami, the green hills of Kentucky, the Swiss Alps, or the UK. Beautiful babes abound and that always helps! Sadly, The Great Gatsby hit the skids for adaptation. The F. Scott Fitzgerald novel has been made into movies several times over the years and we had high hopes for Baz Luhrmann’s most recent attempt, but ultimately there’s a reason why this book has been dubbed “unfilmable”. The imagination that the book conjures up in our minds is the grit in the oyster, and better left that way.

Designers love to feature fashion, art and design books in their finished rooms. What are some of the best hardcover novels to display?
We are big believers that any hardcovers displayed should actually mean something to the client and not just fill a space on the coffee table or bookshelf for show. We tend to style and accessorize based on that. Some of our favorites have been a huge first edition Gray’s Anatomy, vintage books of poetry, as well as books picked up in travels. But, if we had to choose one, hands down it would be David Hicks: A Life of Design.

Everyone loves a great deal. Tell us a quick story about the best bargain you’ve ever found at a vintage store or flea market.
We fortuitously stumbled on a pair of mint condition Milo Baughman for Thayer Coggin 1188 Chairs (1968) in a local thrift shop. We stopped, stunned at the rock bottom price, and then ran with them to the check out. The chair has been recently re-released by DWR, but we are thrilled to have originals that we now use in our studio office.

Excluding fresh flowers in abundance, what is your favorite styling trick?For photo shoot styling, we love to create mood and a space that appears to be lived in, not just observed. Unmade beds with newspapers strewn aside and a kitchen with fresh fruit in imperfect handmade bowls and coffee cups on the countertop are all real signs of life which, ultimately, are what make a house a home (both in real life AND in glossy spreads).

Sometimes even the clients with the biggest budgets fall in love with an affordable item from a popular catalog or online store - what is one of your best affordable finds?
We’re always fans of mixing high with low, new with old and worn with pristine to create naturally layered and storied spaces. So needless to say, we have many sources for affordable finds. A few favorites that we return to time and time again are Jayson Home, Anthropologie (especially for their hardware), and Agora Vintage.

For more on Cloth & Kind, click here.

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