|Living Space/ Informal Meeting Space, Photography: Jonny Valiant|
|Court"s Desk, Photography: Jonny Valiant|
|Office/ Dining Space, Photography: Jonny Valiant|
|Detail in Living Space, Photography: Jonny Valiant|
|Detail in Office/ Dining, Photography: Jonny Valiant|
|Detail in Living Room, Photography: Jonny Valiant|
|Bedroom, Photography: Jonny Valiant|
|Kim's amazing shoe collection, Photography: Jonny Valiant|
|Bedroom looking through to Bathroom, Photography: Jonny Valiant|
|Detail in Bedroom, Photography: Jonny Valiant|
|The Kitchen, Photography: Jonny Valiant|
|Kimberly Steward and Court Williams of Kess Agency|
When I first met Kimberly Steward quite some years ago, She joined my team at Real Simple as a Intern where we quickly formed a firm working bond, She assisted me very closely on a lot of shoots for the magazine. When I went Freelance, Kim expressed interest in being my main Assistant and for the next couple of years she became my right arm, showing wonderful tenacity and an ability to make anything happen, essential skills when it comes to being a Prop Styling Assistant.
I knew she had eyes on a bigger project for herself and as her main passion is fashion, She and her friend Court Williams, who had been at WWD for 4 years prior decided to open an agency, Kess Agency, they did it with a bang with an amazing launch party in NYC in August 2010.
The Agency located permanently last year in NYC and Kim asked me to design a living/ work space in Manhattan’s Financial District at William Beaver House whose amenities are conceived and designed by famed hotelier Andre Balazs who also is responsible for The Standard Hotel line, Chateau Marmont and The Mercer Hotel. The building is a 47-floor skyscraper and was built from 2006-2009, its exterior designed by the firm Tsao & McKown.
The two level duplex to be occupied by Kess was a totally blank canvas and Kim gave me free reign to design a space that would both work for her to live upstairs in a private bedroom and downstairs, An office space that could transform into a dining room by night to entertain dinner guests and a living space that clients could relax in for informal meetings.
From working with Kim for many years I tapped into what I know she likes, one of the main colors I chose for the scheme was pink because she has always been MAD for it. Teaming it with soft oranges and grays, we first painted the space to reflect these colors. Introducing pattern was also important, Kim had some pieces including 2 antique Louis style chairs that we transformed with graphic fabric from Marimekko. Taking the lead from the gold gilding on the chairs frames, I introduced pieces reflective of this around the apartment, I sourced many vintage pieces including a mid century gold gilded mirror, Murano vases and blossom wall plaques. It was important to me that the space felt playful but chic and reflective of Kim’s effervescent personality. Mirrored side tables, metallic vases and artwork that felt modern and graphic fill the space. The lighting is quite dramatic in the space; I chose a classic gold Sputnik light from DWR for the bedroom so Kim could sleep under a sea of stars, a shiny white lacquered horn fitting for above the workspace table and a very dramatic girly birdcage chandelier for the living space. The amazing rug is from my friends at Madeline Weinrib.
In the space, there is also a wonderful outdoor patio that we plan to develop this summer for work functions. Stay tuned.
The wonderful Jonny Valiant photographed these images and I can’t thank him enough for his eye when shooting the space. The project was also not possible without the help of my trusty Assistants Andrea Greco and Mykl Cummins who spent hours and hours helping me source all the pieces for the space, constructing some furniture and helping me install the lighting and fixtures.
This was an exciting project and hopefully one of many private commissions to come, Working in this area is very different to photo shoots as somebody actually has to live/work in the space, Unlike many of my photo studio shoots with sets, the space does not get torn down after being shot which always leaves me feeling a bit sad, These spaces live, breathe and function.