Maile Pingel 2014-10-06 08:27:17
LOS ANGELES STAR OF THE SHOW Withthe launch of her new book, Inspired By..., designer Kathryn Ireland was inspired to host a casual fall dinner party at her new studio and showroom in Los Angeles. For designer Kathryn Ireland, known for her starring role on Bravo’s Million Dollar Decorators, life just keeps getting better. A hostess at heart, Ireland has forged a successful career creating beautiful homes for her clients, but she’s also known to open up her own residences—and now, her brand-new studio too. Set on an unassuming street in the middle of L.A., the designer’s 8,000-square-foot space now houses all the many facets of her business. After having an office and showroom in different parts of the city and spending too much time in trafic, Ireland has welcomed her new headquarters into her life with her signature zest. “I’d been waiting to find the perfect space, and here it is,” she says excitedly. “It’s like walking into my own world.” It’s also like walking straight into her home: first the foyer, lit by an antique lantern; then the colorful kitchen; and onward into an expansive living room withcomfy sofas and tables stacked with design books. (Yes, there are also sewing machines and a workroom, but it’s all part of the charm.) A dining table at one end of the living area serves as a meeting space, while a lavishly furnished dining room is always ready to welcome guests. “My life is about entertaining. I like meeting new people. I like to hear laughter,” she explains. “It takes company to really laugh!” With this in mind, Ireland recently organized an impromptu dinner party to kick off the fall season. A brand ambassador iconic English cooker, AGA, the designer used the range to whip up roast chickens and autumn vegetables for an intimate group of friends, who gathered around a massive antique table that belongs to London dealer Christopher Hodsoll (his other items in the room include a massive 1720s portrait of sisters, Venetian chandeliers and an 1880s Islamabad carpet). “I love the formality—it’s my English roots,” Ireland explains. “Everybody loves a sense of grandeur again, thanks to Downton Abbey.” The designer, who opened her business in L. A. in the early 1990s, recently put her home in Montauban, France, on the market when a house in her childhood hometown in Scotland came up for sale—but she has no intention of leaving the States anytime soon. “It’s the great thing about America: There’s room for everyone’s ideas,” she says. “If you have the idea, energy, time, patience, know-how and, above all, passion, you can do anything here.” Currently, Ireland is creating textiles for Scalamandré, furniture for Grange, a paint collection withC2 Paint, wedding styling, house staging and three-day boot camps for budding designers. Her brand-new book, Inspired By... ($45, Smith, Gibbs), is just hitting shelves. There’s even a new TV show in the works. So don’t think you’ll catch her resting on her laurels. She’ll more likely be cooking up supper and running for the doorbell. “Carpe diem!” she says. “I’d rather have a great dinner conversation than just about anything else.” 5285 W. Washington Blvd., L.A., 323. 965.9888, kathrynireland.com Table Matters When it comes to entertaining, Kathryn Ireland will tell you to just be yourself. But a few little decorating tips from her won’t hurt: I love to have lots of flowers, especially for the holidays, but keep them low. You don’t want to have to crook your neck to see your guests. Lots and lots of low candles… hundreds of them! Print up a fun menu. Keep a Sharpie on hand, and guests can write notes for the hostess on the back. I love handwritten place cards. It’s not about money; you can write the names on stones or pretty leaves. Use family pieces or things your children have made— always try to make your table personal. It’s your home.
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