A Conversation with Birgit Klein
Tell us a little bit about your design style:
Luxurious and timeless interiors that are rich, warm, comfortable and relaxed.
What drives your design decisions?
To me, it’s really all about the family/person that lives there. What their likes and dislikes are, the location of the home and understanding what they expect or want from their home.
What, or whom, are some of your biggest inspirations?
What questions do you typically ask your clients before getting to work, and how do the answers factor into your design decisions?
I always like to know if they have worked with a designer before, what their budget and timeframe is, what they consider expensive, who the decision-maker is, if they have any favorite hotels or images of homes/rooms they like, colors/patterns they like or dislike, whether we have to work with existing furniture or not, do they have kids ie is it a family home or not … In short I am just trying to find out as much as possible about the client to make sure I really understand who they are and what they are about, what’s important to them and what they expect from the home.
How do you determine the design style you will be using for a home? What style, colors or patterns do you prefer?
This is really a very hard question to answer as to me it really depends so much on the home and the location. We have clients that we have done several homes for in different locations. And they are all totally different in style. Personally, I like to keep the expensive pieces neutral and add interest by adding color and pattern with throws, pillows, art and accessories. It’s easy to change when I get bored of something or even make seasonal changes.
Which section of your portfolio are you most proud of? What does it reflect in you as an interior designer?
It’s impossible to choose one part of my work as it changes and progresses with each project. I am most proud of my ability to design to my clients’ styles and lifestyles. Our portfolio is hugely varied from modern to traditional, from coastal to city, from monochromatic and tonal to colorful with a lot of patterns. The proudest moments of my career have always been hearing how happy my clients are once we are finished with their homes and recommending us to their friends. We do very little advertising and we get most of our work through word of mouth.
What do you see as the next big trend in the design industry?
With families being home more and parents working from home we are noticing that open concept living could be a thing of the past. People are realizing they need their own space and are enjoying more defined rooms.
Indoor/Outdoor living continues to be a big trend thanks for the Californian climate.
Sculptural design pieces such a curvy and shaped furniture is huge at the moment and I think will stay for a while.
With my European upbringing, I have always loved the traditional wall finishes such as tadelakt, lime wash and Venetian Plaster as well as the use of wallpaper/wall murals. These finishes have finally made over here also and continue to become more and more popular which I am so happy about.
“I am constantly inspired by the gorgeous terrain by which we are surrounded. Beautiful nature whichever direction you look. I try to hike, go for a long swim or on a long beach walk as often as possible. My favorite hike is up San Ysidro Trail and I often find myself walking down to Miramar Beach with our dog. This is when I clear my mind and often have the best ideas on how to design spaces in homes that I am working on.“
What do you love about Santa Barbara’s design scene?
I love that there is such diverse talent in Santa Barbara. We are so lucky to have such an amazing clientele that demands different aesthetics- there is truly room here for all design styles.
Where direction do you see the design industry going?
After we were all confined to our homes for so long, people began to realize how their spaces really work or don’t work for them. We are seeing such a large emphasis on creating a home that is comfortable and functional for day-to-day life, but also a home where you can entertain friends or throw a great party. With all this being said, the design industry is busier than ever and we do not see it slowing down any time soon. It’s been very challenging to say the least with all the supply chains so backed up and the construction industry being so busy.