A Stitch in KIME
 
Inside the curious world of Robert Kime, the English decorator adored by Tory Burch

by Tatiana Hambro  
 

Editorial Image

A Stitch in KIME
 
Inside the curious world of Robert Kime, the English decorator adored by Tory Burch

by Tatiana Hambro  
 

Editorial Image

  
A Stitch in KIME
  
Inside the curious world of Robert Kime, the English decorator adored by Tory Burch

by Tatiana Hambro
 


  
A Stitch in KIME
  
Inside the curious world of Robert Kime, the English decorator adored by Tory Burch

by Tatiana Hambro
 

Any Robert Kime home—be it in a handsome London neighborhood or the heart of Provence—reveals a collector’s passion. Choice antiques, rich upholstery, rod and rail hanging, Delftware, Turkish rugs, oil paintings, books, and yet more books. How best to describe the sum of these parts? Kime’s talent is certainly his unique ability to blend cultures, countries, and centuries to timeless, elegant effect, yet his aesthetic is not quite so easily defined. “I don’t have a look,” he muses. “For me, design has always been about comfort, ease, and safety.”
Any Robert Kime home—be it in a handsome London neighborhood or the heart of Provence—reveals a collector’s passion. Choice antiques, rich upholstery, rod and rail hanging, Delftware, Turkish rugs, oil paintings, books, and yet more books. How best to describe the sum of these parts? Kime’s talent is certainly his unique ability to blend cultures, countries, and centuries to timeless, elegant effect, yet his aesthetic is not quite so easily defined. “I don’t have a look,” he muses. “For me, design has always been about comfort, ease, and safety.”
Any Robert Kime home—be it in a handsome London neighborhood or the heart of Provence—reveals a collector’s passion. Choice antiques, rich upholstery, rod and rail hanging, Delftware, Turkish rugs, oil paintings, books, and yet more books. How best to describe the sum of these parts? Kime’s talent is certainly his unique ability to blend cultures, countries, and centuries to timeless, elegant effect, yet his aesthetic is not quite so easily defined. “I don’t have a look,” he muses. “For me, design has always been about comfort, ease, and safety.”
Any Robert Kime home—be it in a handsome London neighborhood or the heart of Provence—reveals a collector’s passion. Choice antiques, rich upholstery, rod and rail hanging, Delftware, Turkish rugs, oil paintings, books, and yet more books. How best to describe the sum of these parts? Kime’s talent is certainly his unique ability to blend cultures, countries, and centuries to timeless, elegant effect, yet his aesthetic is not quite so easily defined. “I don’t have a look,” he muses. “For me, design has always been about comfort, ease, and safety.”
For me, design has always been about comfort, ease, and safety.”

ROBERT KIME
  
Editorial Image
For me, design has always been about comfort, ease, and safety.”

ROBERT KIME
  


 
For me, design has always been about comfort, ease, and safety.”



ROBERT KIME

 



 
For me, design has always been about comfort, ease, and safety.”



ROBERT KIME

 

Editorial Image
Thanks to a client book bursting with names from British aristocracy, Kime enjoys a reputation as something of a gatekeeper to sophisticated English style. The Prince of Wales, who enlisted Kime to update Clarence House, the Royal residence in London, famously said, “He has one of the best eyes out there.” However, while his patrons and their homes are unquestionably grand, his rooms are cozy and comfortable. Fabrics feel lived in, patterns evoke a sense of far-flung travels, and every object appears deliberate and beloved as if there’s some great story behind it (there usually is). Nothing feels too precious to be picked up, lounged on, looked at, and enjoyed.

 
 
Kime enjoys a reputation as something of a gatekeeper to sophisticated English style.
 
 

But that doesn’t mean the designer is stuck in the traditions of the past. Quite the opposite. Kime, who studied history at Oxford and began his career as an antiques dealer, is known for pairing his rare treasures with flea market finds and has a delightfully refreshing approach that does not subscribe to rules. In the early eighties, when his decorating career was really taking off and his personal collection of textiles could no longer keep up with the sky-rocketing demand, he started designing his own. Printed on natural materials, the richly patterned fabrics were—and continue to be—inspired by document textiles found on travels abroad.

In April of last year, he joined designer Tory Burch on a trip to Japan. Burch, a longtime admirer of Kime, had asked him to redecorate her husband’s house in Normandy, France. The two became fast friends (Tory “gets it,” according to Kime) and decided to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto in search of inspiration. To their surprise, it wasn’t the region’s exquisite embroidered kimonos that struck a chord, but rather the “humble” indigos that are integral to everyday life in Japan. “What appealed to me was the wonderful working cloth that we found,” he recalls. “We went to wonderful places, absolutely stacked with beautiful things. The designs, the colors, and the small blooms were so uniquely Japanese.”
Thanks to a client book bursting with names from British aristocracy, Kime enjoys a reputation as something of a gatekeeper to sophisticated English style. The Prince of Wales, who enlisted Kime to update Clarence House, the Royal residence in London, famously said, “He has one of the best eyes out there.” However, while his patrons and their homes are unquestionably grand, his rooms are cozy and comfortable. Fabrics feel lived in, patterns evoke a sense of far-flung travels, and every object appears deliberate and beloved as if there’s some great story behind it (there usually is). Nothing feels too precious to be picked up, lounged on, looked at, and enjoyed.

 
 
Kime enjoys a reputation as something of a gatekeeper to sophisticated English style.
 
 

But that doesn’t mean the designer is stuck in the traditions of the past. Quite the opposite. Kime, who studied history at Oxford and began his career as an antiques dealer, is known for pairing his rare treasures with flea market finds and has a delightfully refreshing approach that does not subscribe to rules. In the early eighties, when his decorating career was really taking off and his personal collection of textiles could no longer keep up with the sky-rocketing demand, he started designing his own. Printed on natural materials, the richly patterned fabrics were—and continue to be—inspired by document textiles found on travels abroad.

In April of last year, he joined designer Tory Burch on a trip to Japan. Burch, a longtime admirer of Kime, had asked him to redecorate her husband’s house in Normandy, France. The two became fast friends (Tory “gets it,” according to Kime) and decided to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto in search of inspiration. To their surprise, it wasn’t the region’s exquisite embroidered kimonos that struck a chord, but rather the “humble” indigos that are integral to everyday life in Japan. “What appealed to me was the wonderful working cloth that we found,” he recalls. “We went to wonderful places, absolutely stacked with beautiful things. The designs, the colors, and the small blooms were so uniquely Japanese.”
Thanks to a client book bursting with names from British aristocracy, Kime enjoys a reputation as something of a gatekeeper to sophisticated English style. The Prince of Wales, who enlisted Kime to update Clarence House, the Royal residence in London, famously said, “He has one of the best eyes out there.” However, while his patrons and their homes are unquestionably grand, his rooms are cozy and comfortable. Fabrics feel lived in, patterns evoke a sense of far-flung travels, and every object appears deliberate and beloved as if there’s some great story behind it (there usually is). Nothing feels too precious to be picked up, lounged on, looked at, and enjoyed.

 
 
Kime enjoys a reputation as something of a gatekeeper to sophisticated English style.
 
 

But that doesn’t mean the designer is stuck in the traditions of the past. Quite the opposite. Kime, who studied history at Oxford and began his career as an antiques dealer, is known for pairing his rare treasures with flea market finds and has a delightfully refreshing approach that does not subscribe to rules. In the early eighties, when his decorating career was really taking off and his personal collection of textiles could no longer keep up with the sky-rocketing demand, he started designing his own. Printed on natural materials, the richly patterned fabrics were—and continue to be—inspired by document textiles found on travels abroad.

In April of last year, he joined designer Tory Burch on a trip to Japan. Burch, a longtime admirer of Kime, had asked him to redecorate her husband’s house in Normandy, France. The two became fast friends (Tory “gets it,” according to Kime) and decided to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto in search of inspiration. To their surprise, it wasn’t the region’s exquisite embroidered kimonos that struck a chord, but rather the “humble” indigos that are integral to everyday life in Japan. “What appealed to me was the wonderful working cloth that we found,” he recalls. “We went to wonderful places, absolutely stacked with beautiful things. The designs, the colors, and the small blooms were so uniquely Japanese.”
Thanks to a client book bursting with names from British aristocracy, Kime enjoys a reputation as something of a gatekeeper to sophisticated English style. The Prince of Wales, who enlisted Kime to update Clarence House, the Royal residence in London, famously said, “He has one of the best eyes out there.” However, while his patrons and their homes are unquestionably grand, his rooms are cozy and comfortable. Fabrics feel lived in, patterns evoke a sense of far-flung travels, and every object appears deliberate and beloved as if there’s some great story behind it (there usually is). Nothing feels too precious to be picked up, lounged on, looked at, and enjoyed.

 
 
Kime enjoys a reputation as something of a gatekeeper to sophisticated English style.
 
 

But that doesn’t mean the designer is stuck in the traditions of the past. Quite the opposite. Kime, who studied history at Oxford and began his career as an antiques dealer, is known for pairing his rare treasures with flea market finds and has a delightfully refreshing approach that does not subscribe to rules. In the early eighties, when his decorating career was really taking off and his personal collection of textiles could no longer keep up with the sky-rocketing demand, he started designing his own. Printed on natural materials, the richly patterned fabrics were—and continue to be—inspired by document textiles found on travels abroad.

In April of last year, he joined designer Tory Burch on a trip to Japan. Burch, a longtime admirer of Kime, had asked him to redecorate her husband’s house in Normandy, France. The two became fast friends (Tory “gets it,” according to Kime) and decided to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto in search of inspiration. To their surprise, it wasn’t the region’s exquisite embroidered kimonos that struck a chord, but rather the “humble” indigos that are integral to everyday life in Japan. “What appealed to me was the wonderful working cloth that we found,” he recalls. “We went to wonderful places, absolutely stacked with beautiful things. The designs, the colors, and the small blooms were so uniquely Japanese.”
Editorial Image
Editorial Image
[In Japan], what appealed to me was the wonderful working cloth.”

ROBERT KIME
  
Editorial Image
[In Japan], what appealed to me was the wonderful working cloth.”

ROBERT KIME
  

Enter: the Nara Collection, a small capsule of printed fabrics—and Kime’s first-ever designer collaboration. Named after the ancient capital city from which it is inspired, Nara explores the art and history of Japanese textile-making, incorporating traditional motifs such as butterflies and cherry blossoms in a calming palette of mostly blue and indigo. “These designs have a peaceful sophistication about them,” he says, referencing how easily the pillows and lampshades lend themselves to varying design schemes, reflecting his own personal penchant for mixing and matching. “It is hard to describe; they are perfectly themselves and that feels right.”




Enter: the Nara Collection, a small capsule of printed fabrics—and Kime’s first-ever designer collaboration. Named after the ancient capital city from which it is inspired, Nara explores the art and history of Japanese textile-making, incorporating traditional motifs such as butterflies and cherry blossoms in a calming palette of mostly blue and indigo. “These designs have a peaceful sophistication about them,” he says, referencing how easily the pillows and lampshades lend themselves to varying design schemes, reflecting his own personal penchant for mixing and matching. “It is hard to describe; they are perfectly themselves and that feels right.”



Editorial Image
[In Japan], what appealed to me was the wonderful working cloth.”

ROBERT KIME
 
 
 
Enter: the Nara Collection, a small capsule of printed fabrics—and Kime’s first-ever designer collaboration. Named after the ancient capital city from which it is inspired, Nara explores the art and history of Japanese textile-making, incorporating traditional motifs such as butterflies and cherry blossoms in a calming palette of mostly blue and indigo. “These designs have a peaceful sophistication about them,” he says, referencing how easily the pillows and lampshades lend themselves to varying design schemes, reflecting his own personal penchant for mixing and matching. “It is hard to describe; they are perfectly themselves and that feels right.”
[In Japan], what appealed to me was the wonderful working cloth.”

ROBERT KIME
 
 
 
Enter: the Nara Collection, a small capsule of printed fabrics—and Kime’s first-ever designer collaboration. Named after the ancient capital city from which it is inspired, Nara explores the art and history of Japanese textile-making, incorporating traditional motifs such as butterflies and cherry blossoms in a calming palette of mostly blue and indigo. “These designs have a peaceful sophistication about them,” he says, referencing how easily the pillows and lampshades lend themselves to varying design schemes, reflecting his own personal penchant for mixing and matching. “It is hard to describe; they are perfectly themselves and that feels right.”
At Home With
ROBERT KIME


Here, Kime reveals the story behind three of his favorite homes—past and present—along with some helpful tips.
At Home With
ROBERT KIME


Here, Kime reveals the story behind three of his favorite homes—past and present—along with some helpful tips.
At Home With
ROBERT KIME


Here, Kime reveals the story behind three of his favorite homes—past and present—along with some helpful tips.
At Home With
ROBERT KIME


Here, Kime reveals the story behind three of his favorite homes—past and present—along with some helpful tips.
Docker Nook Barn, 
The Lake District, UK
 
“We bought this for its ideal location and the possibility to return it to a sturdy grace and vernacular style. The project took a year but resulted in a comfortable and warm family house, tucked away in a quiet valley in The Lake District. A draughty barn was converted to a comfortable library—with bookcases that wrapped around the corners—creating a sense of security and safety. Long tables give ample space for varied objects grouped together; blue and white lamps carry fabric shades. Putting lamps at various heights in a room makes for a relaxed feel and better overall illumination and soft lighting.” —Robert Kime
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Docker Nook Barn, 
The Lake District, UK
 
“We bought this for its ideal location and the possibility to return it to a sturdy grace and vernacular style. The project took a year but resulted in a comfortable and warm family house, tucked away in a quiet valley in The Lake District. A draughty barn was converted to a comfortable library—with bookcases that wrapped around the corners—creating a sense of security and safety. Long tables give ample space for varied objects grouped together; blue and white lamps carry fabric shades. Putting lamps at various heights in a room makes for a relaxed feel and better overall illumination and soft lighting.” —Robert Kime
Editorial Image
Docker Nook Barn, 
The Lake District, UK
 
“We bought this for its ideal location and the possibility to return it to a sturdy grace and vernacular style. The project took a year but resulted in a comfortable and warm family house, tucked away in a quiet valley in The Lake District. A draughty barn was converted to a comfortable library—with bookcases that wrapped around the corners—creating a sense of security and safety. Long tables give ample space for varied objects grouped together; blue and white lamps carry fabric shades. Putting lamps at various heights in a room makes for a relaxed feel and better overall illumination and soft lighting.” —Robert Kime
Docker Nook Barn, 
The Lake District, UK
 
“We bought this for its ideal location and the possibility to return it to a sturdy grace and vernacular style. The project took a year but resulted in a comfortable and warm family house, tucked away in a quiet valley in The Lake District. A draughty barn was converted to a comfortable library—with bookcases that wrapped around the corners—creating a sense of security and safety. Long tables give ample space for varied objects grouped together; blue and white lamps carry fabric shades. Putting lamps at various heights in a room makes for a relaxed feel and better overall illumination and soft lighting.” —Robert Kime
La Gonette, 
Provence, France
  
“When I acquired La Gonette in 1999, the house was a ‘perfect ruin’—a sound roof with a magical facade and a hundred-foot terrace, but no floors nor much for doors or walls. We weren’t deterred and by the project's end, the burnt-out shell had been transformed into a lovely house, full of comfort, in a vernacular style and gardens too. The pool was constructed within the walls of a roofless barn; the structure offers its window openings now as viewpoints, and I designed the hamam in pink granite and local cream stone. A quality we continue to enjoy is the thoughtful expression of the local vernacular by local craftsmen using their traditions. Wall-depth bookcases, tiled floors, planked doors, and shutters are all simple layers of their influence.” —R.K.
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La Gonette, 
Provence, France
  
“When I acquired La Gonette in 1999, the house was a ‘perfect ruin’—a sound roof with a magical facade and a hundred-foot terrace, but no floors nor much for doors or walls. We weren’t deterred and by the project's end, the burnt-out shell had been transformed into a lovely house, full of comfort, in a vernacular style and gardens too. The pool was constructed within the walls of a roofless barn; the structure offers its window openings now as viewpoints, and I designed the hamam in pink granite and local cream stone. A quality we continue to enjoy is the thoughtful expression of the local vernacular by local craftsmen using their traditions. Wall-depth bookcases, tiled floors, planked doors, and shutters are all simple layers of their influence.” —R.K.
Editorial Image
La Gonette, 
Provence, France
  
“When I acquired La Gonette in 1999, the house was a ‘perfect ruin’—a sound roof with a magical facade and a hundred-foot terrace, but no floors nor much for doors or walls. We weren’t deterred and by the project's end, the burnt-out shell had been transformed into a lovely house, full of comfort, in a vernacular style and gardens too. The pool was constructed within the walls of a roofless barn; the structure offers its window openings now as viewpoints, and I designed the hamam in pink granite and local cream stone. A quality we continue to enjoy is the thoughtful expression of the local vernacular by local craftsmen using their traditions. Wall-depth bookcases, tiled floors, planked doors, and shutters are all simple layers of their influence.” —R.K.
La Gonette, 
Provence, France
  
“When I acquired La Gonette in 1999, the house was a ‘perfect ruin’—a sound roof with a magical facade and a hundred-foot terrace, but no floors nor much for doors or walls. We weren’t deterred and by the project's end, the burnt-out shell had been transformed into a lovely house, full of comfort, in a vernacular style and gardens too. The pool was constructed within the walls of a roofless barn; the structure offers its window openings now as viewpoints, and I designed the hamam in pink granite and local cream stone. A quality we continue to enjoy is the thoughtful expression of the local vernacular by local craftsmen using their traditions. Wall-depth bookcases, tiled floors, planked doors, and shutters are all simple layers of their influence.” —R.K.
Museum St., 
London, UK
  
“To transform the building on Museum Street into both a ground floor showroom and a residence, we combined three of four rooms to create a showroom. Upstairs is a library, bedrooms, a dressing room, and a sitting room with a roof garden. Plain walls (with one notable exception) and ceilings, colorful rugs, furniture, and decor of varied origins and histories, comfortable seating, and simple curtains. An arts and crafts desk in the library balances an oversized English portrait of a hound and a tall Italian mirror at the other end. A small reading room is reached through an archway and the sitting room’s loose slipcovers create a contrast to the large-scale furniture. Even the guest room’s daybed is thought through—with our ‘Paris Lights’ and fabric shades so that overnight guests would be able to read at night.” —R.K.
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Museum St., 
London, UK
  
“To transform the building on Museum Street into both a ground floor showroom and a residence, we combined three of four rooms to create a showroom. Upstairs is a library, bedrooms, a dressing room, and a sitting room with a roof garden. Plain walls (with one notable exception) and ceilings, colorful rugs, furniture, and decor of varied origins and histories, comfortable seating, and simple curtains. An arts and crafts desk in the library balances an oversized English portrait of a hound and a tall Italian mirror at the other end. A small reading room is reached through an archway and the sitting room’s loose slipcovers create a contrast to the large-scale furniture. Even the guest room’s daybed is thought through—with our ‘Paris Lights’ and fabric shades so that overnight guests would be able to read at night.” —R.K.
Editorial Image
Museum St., 
London, UK
  
“To transform the building on Museum Street into both a ground floor showroom and a residence, we combined three of four rooms to create a showroom. Upstairs is a library, bedrooms, a dressing room, and a sitting room with a roof garden. Plain walls (with one notable exception) and ceilings, colorful rugs, furniture, and decor of varied origins and histories, comfortable seating, and simple curtains. An arts and crafts desk in the library balances an oversized English portrait of a hound and a tall Italian mirror at the other end. A small reading room is reached through an archway and the sitting room’s loose slipcovers create a contrast to the large-scale furniture. Even the guest room’s daybed is thought through—with our ‘Paris Lights’ and fabric shades so that overnight guests would be able to read at night.” —R.K.
Museum St., 
London, UK
  
“To transform the building on Museum Street into both a ground floor showroom and a residence, we combined three of four rooms to create a showroom. Upstairs is a library, bedrooms, a dressing room, and a sitting room with a roof garden. Plain walls (with one notable exception) and ceilings, colorful rugs, furniture, and decor of varied origins and histories, comfortable seating, and simple curtains. An arts and crafts desk in the library balances an oversized English portrait of a hound and a tall Italian mirror at the other end. A small reading room is reached through an archway and the sitting room’s loose slipcovers create a contrast to the large-scale furniture. Even the guest room’s daybed is thought through—with our ‘Paris Lights’ and fabric shades so that overnight guests would be able to read at night.” —R.K.