Posted on Oct 2, 2020

Sheltering in place has sparked a movement to rethink our spaces and pare down the objects that inhabit our everyday lives at home and work. The shift isn’t necessarily about minimalism, but a greater sense of what is important to us. And KKDL had the opportunity to sit down with the esteemed team at Carl Hansen & Son to talk about how this movement is revealing itself in our projects.

Is there a greater appreciation in interior design for considering fewer and more meaningful objects? How can designers guide clients to choose wisely, or reuse and repurpose? How do we stop specifying throw-away pieces that end up in landfills? How do we authentically choose with meaning and sustainable practices? The panel of professionals, from various backgrounds and viewpoints, led a lively and thought-provoking conversation on this topic. Included in the group were our Carl Hansen & Son’s sponsors, Sherri Simko, Director North America & Yolanda Silva, Area Sales Manager, NY. The Moderator was Katharine McGowan, President-Elect, ASID Metro; Principal, Katharine Jessica Interior Design, LLP. Kerrie was joined on the panel by John Cialone, FASID, Board Member ASID National, Partner + Vice President, Tom Stringer Design Partners; Leeann Latsch, Key Account Manager, Remains Lighting’ and Sandra Septimius, US Representative, Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers.

When asked “What object do you have that has special meaning to you? What does that say about you or your space?” Kerrie shared how her grandmother’s monocle sparked joy. “Jewelry always fits and when I need an extra boost for a big presentation, you will find me donning my grandmother’s jewelry. This necklace actually inspired me to create a furniture piece that we now share with our clients called ‘The Mary Lou Dresser’. The dresser has a glass top and allows one to shop their own jewelry, watches, pens, pocket squares and treasured pieces. Otherwise, out of sight, out of mind. We have three Mary Lou’s in our home. One for my jewelry with undergarments stowed below, one for my husband’s pocket squares, pens and watches with his work-out clothes below, and one for our treasured pieces from our travels that we can share with friends and family. Each piece is customizable with an exterior casegood color or stain, interior color or stain, hardware and COM fabric in the long top jewelry drawer.”

Other questions include the following—see Kerrie’s responses below.


  • How do you in your business/practice work with clients to create spaces with meaning? We thoroughly interview clients about their lifestyle and encourage pieces that are custom to their story. We also re-invent pieces that may not have been considered. One client in particular brought us in to redo her master suite after her husband had passed. Every time we visited, the closet was still full of his clothing. As a sophisticated, dapper man, he had beautiful clothing. When the client finally gave away his clothing, we scooped up a camel hair coat with leather buttons. Upon the grand reveal, we presented our client with a pillow made from the jacket that now sits in a desk chair in the master suite. Only she knows the meaning behind the cherished piece.


  • Do you seek objects that tell a story? That hold value and add authenticity to a space? Working for Ralph Lauren Home collection for 5 years out of college, yes. All of Ralph Lauren’s pieces tell a story that bring soul, patina and personality to a space.


  • How do you guide clients for a project not to just fill a space but to give it a soul? How do you balance that with budgets and time constraints? During the economic downturn of 2008, we learned to crawl into attics and find family heirlooms, forgotten artwork and hidden treasures. For little or no money, we were able to reframe pieces, reupholster furniture and display items that shared a family history. Additionally, giving a client permission to remove the room title from a piece of furniture has been liberating—the dining room hutch can quickly become a furniture piece with new life by simply removing the dishes, relocating the piece to the den and filling it with books, providing an unexpected new library instead.


  • Has COVID-19 caused a shift in the types of pieces you are recommending? Are designers and consumers seeking more intricate pieces that show hand labor that make it unique/special? More custom pieces by chance? Currently our clients are on two ends of the spectrum—instant gratification or high-end new construction and renovation ordering custom items. While we meet our instant gratification clients over Zoom and have them share pieces they already own so we can feather in meaningful art and accessories they already have with the new fast-design pieces, it is up to the virtual client whether they include these pieces or not. Our custom clients are selecting fabrics, finishes and materials specific to them, creating unique spaces that cannot be found in a magazine or catalog.


  • How can we plan a space to have lasting value? How does a young person starting out make informed purchases? Young people must have patience to create spaces that are timeless and worthwhile. While working at Ralph Lauren, I would see people of all ages seeking specific pieces that they saved up for, creating valuable layers to their desired interiors. It took time and research, but the end result was always worth the effort.

Did you miss the presentation? Catch the recording on ASID NY Metro YouTube page and let us know your thoughts on treasured pieces in the comments below.