Interview with Kimberley Seldon
Homefront managed to catch designer Kimberley Seldon in between taping a regular episode of Cityline and jumping on a flight to Edmonton, where she was meeting with former President Jimmy Carter, who is part of an initiative to build 150 homes in Canada with Habitat for Humanity.
Q. What keeps you up at night these days?
Kimberley: Right now, I’m kept awake by several design build projects we’re working on. During the summer, all the trades are working as fast as they can, trying to beat the winter snow. That puts a lot of pressure on our team to keep up with drawings and demands. We also have to make sure all the fixtures are on site and ready as required—that way, there are no delays.
Q. What’s changed for you in the last 12 months?
Kimberley: The biggest thing is that I became a Canadian citizen. After living together for a very long time, we decided to make it official. I couldn’t be prouder.
Q. What’s the most difficult thing about your work?
Kimberley: Managing the work flow. I have X number of projects on the go and everything is going smoothly—and then a client I worked with previously will phone out of the blue and say they have bought a new property and need my help. It’s amazing to be at this stage in my career where the majority of my clients are repeats and referrals.
Q. What are your don’t or won’t dos?
Kimberley: I’m not a fan of the painted feature wall. Unless the wall is carved or has a peekaboo pattern, it’s rarely worthy of being a focal point. Buy a painting instead.
Q. Who’s on your team and how do they make a difference?
Kimberley: My team is a dream. Aysun Kuck is the first point of contact for all clients and media requests. We’ve been together for 15 years. She’s charming and funny. Cheryl Horne runs Business of Design (my online teaching community for interior designers) and manages me, which is no easy task! She’s smart and focused. Kathy Seale and Victoria Drainville are interior designers who have worked with me for nearly a decade. They’re incredibly attentive to detail, and have amazing drawing and project-management skills that are essential to making our clients happy. There are also several others that I work with regularly.
Q. What’s one thing that sets you apart as a designer?
Kimberley: The thing that sets Kimberley Seldon Design Group apart from the competition is our 15-step project-management strategy. In an industry that’s known for chaos, we provide a sane, methodical approach to interior design. We tend to attract clients who are ultra-busy, but who know they will appreciate the experience of a beautifully designed home.
Q. Where are your “go-to” places in the city?
Kimberley: I have so many go-to places in the city for shopping! It’s tempting to reach for the tiny little stores that no one knows about, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the suppliers who have my back year after year: ELTE, Weavers Art, Decorum, South Hill Home, Avenue Road and Hollace Cluny. You’ve probably heard of all of them. And that’s good—they deserve our support.
Q. Can you share a naughty little design secret you’ve sometimes used?
Kimberley: Over the years, on just about every one of my design projects, there is one item that’s what I’ll call a splurge. I sometimes jokingly refer to that item as the Italian boyfriend—he’s really very expensive, but you just can’t live without him!
Q. Who or what inspired you to get started in the business?
Kimberley: I don’t think I was inspired by a single person. Rather,
I was inspired by the vision of a home that always looks lovely, and well-ordered enough that friends can drop in unannounced. That’s not the kind of home I grew up in.
Q. Is there a piece of art or furniture that you’ve always wanted?
Kimberley: There are two pieces of art I want. One is kitsch: It’s a doggy vase by Jeff Koons. The other is a painting by Canadian icon Charles Pachter. I’m saving my money.
Q. Is there a place you’ve worked on that you would like to go back to on a lazy mid-week summer afternoon?
Kimberley: There are lots of different houses we’ve designed that I would go back to. However, we created a fabulous pool house and cabana a few years ago. I’ve been thinking I should find out when the owners are going on vacation and sneak over there for a few hours.
Q. What’s the last book that you read cover to cover?
Kimberley: Too Close to the Falls by Cathy Gildiner. I read it a few years ago and fell in love with it. Then I had the chance to meet the author. She’s awesome.
Q. Would you rather design a bathroom or a kitchen?
Kimberley: I would rather design the whole house—and the landscaping! It’s not just an either/or for me.