Maybe it’s because she lives in Kinsale, but interior designer Emma Kelly has always had a strong connection to nature. Having lived by the sea for years in Dublin, Emma and her growing family moved to Kinsale for six years before buying their 1970’s bungalow in nearby Summercove. This former engineer was undeterred by the remodelling challenge that accompanied their home and began with a specific vision in mind. Still currently in the midst of this huge task, the skilled designer is drawing inspiration from Mother Nature and paying particular attention to the windows and sea view.
At the same time, Emma Kelly’s design practice EK Design has taken the interior’s world by storm. She tackles both residential and commercial projects and her breath-taking seaside designs are the stuff of dreams. Even when cycling or running, Emma is capturing colours and textures to later incorporate into her work by using linens and wool. It is hard not to be envious of this entrepreneur’s dedication to her occupation and her ever expanding client list. Wanting to know more, the EZ Living Furniture team just had to reach out to Emma to pick her brain and learn a few of her incredible interior design tips.
“I qualified and worked as an engineer initially for a number of years but always had a passion and interest in architecture and design. I took the leap after my first son was born and re-qualified with a diploma in design. I set up my own practice in 2006 originally but came back to it subsequently after the last recession coinciding with my youngest starting pre-school. I’ve been working steadily since and have worked on numerous private residential homes and show homes, also some commercial and office design.”
“I’m juggling a number of interesting projects at the moment which I am looking forward to releasing in 2021. I am in the final stages of a large extension to my own home in Kinsale which will include a new design studio that I hope to open early in 2021. I’m also working on a full house design for a contemporary new build, an Edwardian renovation that is jam packed with quirky characters, and a slick remodel with some daring design that I can’t wait to see completed.”
“I would describe my personal style as contemporary classic with a little edge. I am a big fan of American design - Hamptons, New England and Californian coastal styles all appeal to me living in a coastal location but I also love the simplicity of Nordic design, so I fuse both in my own home with a little industrial edge.”
“Travel, nature, architecture, other designers, books, magazines, Pinterest and Instagram. Ideas can come from anywhere at any time, the seed gets planted and can surface during any project at a later stage. I’m always looking for spaces to realise different ideas milling around my mind.”
"I think one of the most important design features in any project is lighting. It is the key to realising atmosphere. Beautiful art or photography also sets a design apart. So I would choose to be a combination of light and art, the best combination any of us could wish to be as a person metaphorically speaking.”
“Trends are spotted easily on social media and print media.” What are the interior design trends of 2021? “A return to organic shapes, forms, textures and colours. Neutrals in materials and colours are making a big comeback. Linens, rattan, beiges, browns sculptural shapes and forms, mixed and imperfect oxidised metals, black and brass have taken centre stage replacing the shiner chrome as metals of choice. The ubiquitous grey, overkill of velvet (those I love a little touch) and gaudy bling have hopefully had their day.”
“Pick a small number of inspirational images, I find Pinterest an endless source of inspiration. Stick with these or you will be pulled many different directions. When you shop in store remember the look you want to achieve as opposed to being led by showroom floors.”
“Don’t be afraid to embrace rich dark colour, this is often the space to use these contrary to instinct, it makes a small space feel cosy and intimate. Don’t overwhelm a small space with furniture that is too large.”
This year, EZ Living Furniture have launched a new Augmented Reality (AR) app. This futuristic app is transforming shopping as we know it and allows customers to place EZ Living items of furniture directly into their homes with the click of a button. It’s so handy! When downloaded on any IOS or Android device, you can easily choose from the EZ Living catalogue of furniture which includes dining chairs, bar stools, sofas, bed frames and much more! It illuminates the inevitable will it fit, won’t it fit dilemma and you can really get a feel for how these items will fit into your space. So when we saw that Emma Kelly was using our app, we wanted to hear her expert opinion and share it with all our readers.
“I saw the App modelled on social media.”
“I’ve found the app extremely useful, there is nothing like real time visualisation of spaces with desired furniture in situ. You cannot replicate the feel of a room from a 2D drawing, the spatial realization that the app allows is of real and genuine benefit to both the homeowner and designer alike.”
“Yes, very easy to use, point your camera at your desired location, select your furniture and it magically appears in your space.” Would you recommend it to others? Why? I would absolutely recommend it to clients and interior enthusiasts alike, it’s a fantastic way to fool proof your furniture selection. There will be no cumbersome mistakes relating to how an item will look in your space before you buy it.”
“The easy way you can select and substitute the vast array of beautiful pieces EZ Living Furniture have on offer.”
“I am an avid Instagrammer, you’ll find my prolific profile @ekdesign22 featuring my design portfolio and inspiration, several projects which include pieces from EZ Living Furniture. I have a new design studio opening early in 2021 in Kinsale, Co. Cork. My website is currently under construction, I hope to update this with various services offered and my full portfolio early in the New Year. I have accounts on Houzz and Pinterest also.”
Photographs courtesy of EK Design.