We’re back with a new guest tastemaker for some quick-fire questions and a mini-curation of some fab Chairish finds!
This week, we we’re chatting with one half of the design duo behind KTII Design Group, Kalah Talancy. She and her husband Kevin Ten Brinke developed a mutual passion for design through traveling the world together. And after years working in separate industries, the couple – in all their undeniable synergy – parlayed their appreciation of other cultures into the aesthetic and ethos of their current collaborative firm, marrying – pun intended – their expertise in architecture and interior design.
Read on to find out how she and Kevin collaborate seamlessly on design, and what their tips are for working alongside one’s spouse during quarantine.
What is the biggest benefit of having both your and Kevin’s points of view represented in the spaces you design?
For us, the biggest benefit is what goes on behind the scenes. The conversations that happen on a Saturday morning over coffee, or while we’re cooking dinner on a weeknight. Those mini moments where you can point out a finish, a color, a material that would never warrant an official email between architect and designer. There is no pretense to our communication. And for better or for worse we get the chance to talk all the time. It drives our kids bonkers.
Would you say that you each specialize in different steps or aspects of the design process, or is the whole process collaborative?
We definitely each play different roles in a project, and we pass the baton back and forth throughout. Kevin typically kicks us off by analyzing the natural elements of a site before starting his house design. He pays close attention to where the sun rises and sets and any elements on the site that should be celebrated (established trees, bodies of water, rocks, etc.) Once he has a rough concept, we discuss the plans and they begin to develop. I often times interject about house flow, and think about room layouts and the overall color palette. As I starts to pipe up, Kevin’s final drawings are tweaked accordingly, and elements are incorporated to make the architecture and the interiors cohesive and engaging.
Can you share with us a story of a time when you differed greatly on a vision for a project? How did you overcome that hurdle?
Yes! This actually occurred at our own house. When we moved in here, we took down 90 trees. In doing so we were able to achieve a bit more curb appeal, but Kevin was also convinced we could fit a circular driveway in. I was the biggest naysayer, spending days walking in the “circle” amongst the tree stumps to see if a car would be comfortable turning around. Kevin was adamant that it was the right choice for the house and the property – and to this day I eat my words every time I pull in.
What’s helping you get through quarantine? What are you excited to do once it ends?
As we moved our office into our home again we really had to analyze how we both worked. Kevin is a early riser so that he has time to design before the chaos of the day begins. I spend mornings flooding myself with inspiration, images, magazines, travel dreams – so that come mid-morning I am aching for a quiet space to let the vision come to life. We both have tried to be a little less sensitive if somebody yells to “be-quiet” – knowing we are both just trying our best to be creative, and tend to business and family all simultaneously – and sometimes that is hard. We also have a quick morning talk about schedules: Who is out of the house when, who has Zoom calls, where the kids are, and who is making dinner. In terms of what are we excited to do when it ends – for us it is between entertaining and having friends over, or traveling somewhere far far away with a hotel room on stilts over crystal clear water.
What kind of design additions or changes have you made to your home since quarantine began?
We are big believers that your home should evolve with you. The biggest evolution as of late has been a re-design of our living room – which is our favorite room in our house. We both spend the beginning and the end of the day in the space, so it is important to us that it feels light and bright. By swapping our upholstered pieces for white Sunbrella, the room feels like a cloud has been lifted. We also recently took all the artwork off our walls and edited, moved and re-hung our favorites. It is amazing how moving something to a different space can bring it new life.