Known for her joyful use of color, artist and designer Lulu de Kwiatkowski channels the spirit of her Bahamian upbringing in her vivid work. After recently renovating a Lyford Cay estate called Terrania, de Kwiatkowski moved back to the islands with her husband and young sons. There, she develops her signature art under her Lulu DK line, with an exclusive collection of prints now available through the Chairish Print Shop.
See what Lulu had to say about her work, her travel-inspired influences, and why it’s important to paint every day. And be sure to shop her selection of colorful, curated Chairish favorites, including patterned silk pillows, tropical wallpapers, ikat lamp shades, and more.
You’re offering some exclusive works in the Chairish Print Shop. How would you describe these works?
My work is inspired mostly by nature and the many places that I have both travelled to and lived in. I grew up in the Hamptons and currently live in the Bahamas. My husband is Italian, so we usually spend our summers on the Italian coast. All these visuals, memories, and elements appear in my artwork. My work can be described as my visual diary.
I’m sure you love all your Chairish prints, but if you had to choose, what would your favorites be?
I love the “Cabana” collection, which is the collection of prints with all the umbrellas. It just screams “summer chic” to me!
The colors you use seem to be inspired by where you live — do you find your palette changes when you come back from your travels?
I feel my colors vary depending on my location. With that said, I do have “favorite” colors. The blue of the sky, faded bright yellows, corals, ivories, and navy are some consistent go-to’s…
What is your most important tool as an artist? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio ?
I always use Liquitex Acrylics and I mix them with Benjamin Moore Atrium White flat interior house paint. This makes for a slightly thicker mixture. I also sometimes use my leftover coffee for the perfect tan color!
How did you start making art, and when did you know you wanted to become an artist? Are there any other artists in your family?
I knew very early on that I loved painting and drawing. I am the youngest of six children, and everyone always drew in my house. There were no iPads then! I graduated high school early to go to Parson’s School of Design… I wanted to get on with it!
What is your artistic process like?
I usually paint every day, even if that means working on my Samsung Note 10, which has a pen… for me, painting is like writing in a diary. I have travelled a lot through my life to a lot of amazing places and have had some amazing experiences. Painting in the morning has always allowed me to capture my trips like a visual autobiography.
For me, painting is like writing in a diary… Painting in the morning has always allowed me to capture my trips like a visual autobiography.Lulu DK
How do you approach designing art that is meant to be displayed in peoples’ homes?
This is actually one of my favorite things to do. I graduated from Parsons with a degree in interior design, so I feel like I understand spatial awareness when it comes to mixing art with decor. I also specialized as a trompe l’oeil artist in Paris when I was in my 20’s. I would create installation art on walls and fill a room with either geometrics or huge flowers; this is what led to me creating fabrics and wallpaper as well. So interiors and art are very hand in hand for me.
Is there a color you don’t like to paint with and why?
I really never use black… I may be the only person in the world that is not a fan of black! It just never seems to go with what I am painting.
Who are the artists that have inspired you the most in your career?
Matisse is my favorite artist of all time. Also Picasso, Giotto, Helen Frankenthaler, and Alexander Calder, to name a few.
What do you find most compelling about Chairish?
I am a natural hunter and gatherer. When Chairish launched, I was in heaven — I was just in the process of decorating our Bahamas home (where we live now). It absolutely saved me and hooked me right in! The site is really well curated and has a fantastic selection of both high- and low-priced items.
Favorite decorating cheap thrill:
I like a white, ivory, or cream palette where I can mix in bright artwork and details. I love neutral mixed with splashes of color.
Favorite paint color:
Benjamin Moore Atrium White: my go-to for walls, ceilings, and molding. I like using the same white tone throughout. It makes everything flow more.
Favorite design destination you think every decor lover should visit at least once:
Favorite hotel that’s most inspired your work while traveling:
Il Pelicano, Italy
Favorite vacation destinations:
India, Morocco, Italy, and the Bahamas
Favorite small museum in the world:
I like a white, ivory, or cream palette where I can mix in bright artwork and details. I love neutral mixed with splashes of color.Lulu DK
Dinner invites to other peoples’ homes 😉
Favorite way to unwind at home:
Favorite adult beverage:
Rosé or a vodka tonic
Favorite entertaining essential:
A great bar setup with music
Lead image of Lulu DK’s Lyford Cay home. Photo: Pernille Loof