Imagine a space that is aesthetically beautiful, cozy, speaks magnitudes of your personality that you can call yours. A place after dealing with the chaos of the world, you can find peace, comfort, inspiration, energy and beauty in. This place can be your home or your office/work space. Question is, “how do you feel when you sit down and take a look at your current home/office surroundings?” Does it spark joy? Do you get good vibes just by being in that space? Does it define you? (A space has a lot to say about the person who occupies it.)
Interior design is an art; creating an environment that is aesthetically pleasing and functional. Now, it’s not about just filling up a space with ‘stuff’, it’s about combining elements like space, color and textures, mixing in magical ingredients like light and connecting all this with interior accessories to bring life to what was once an empty room. The most important aspect is making it uniquely yours, in other words don’t go copy someone else’s style or buy accessories that are common. Style your space in a way that speaks to you, that you can identify with and that identifies you.
Lysa had the pleasure of seating down with interior designer, Nancy Kairo, who is the proud owner of Douglas & Kline Interiors. This is an interior design company that has a concierge service, which is a fancy way of saying, Nancy can come to your space and give you personalized and curated suggestions and further offer you interior design services. In addition, based in the heart of Lavington Shopping Center is an awe-inspiring, eclectic yet inviting store that is filled with the most unique, detailed and timeless pieces. Getting the right mix of modern and vintage or old and new can be tricky, but when it is done well it creates a chic and inviting home and Nancy has it down to a T. Pop in to the store and see what we mean.
What 3 words would you use to define yourself?
I think I’m a risk taker. Is that two words? (laughs) Definitely someone who’s just pulled by design and color and form and texture, the whole design element. A risk taker, a designer and I think I’m a great mother.
Who was Nancy before interior design?
I’ve done a lot of things in my life but I was fairly clear from a young age that I wanted to be a mother and I knew I wanted a daughter. I believe in that whole you need to put it out into the universe to make things happen and I prayed about it. I am fortunate that I got to have a child; she is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me, really.
I was always interested in fashion, but I didn’t know I would be into interior design.
My mum used to have a shop in town on Standard Street called Studio 68, it sounds like an art place but it was more of an African handicraft place. We were selling a lot of curios; authentic African handicrafts from all over Africa. During holidays, I had to work there and maybe that rubbed off on me? My family would travel up country and when they would come back, they’d find I’ve rearranged the whole living room and made myself an outfit. So interior design was always there, but I didn’t think anything of it.
Then the time came to go to university…
I had gotten accepted at a school in Switzerland for fashion design. I told my parents and my father was like “No way! You are not going to become a tailor”. In his mind he couldn’t see anything else, even though he had traveled extensively. He would tell me of his trips to Hong Kong where a tailor could make for you a full outfit in a day, so maybe he was thinking, “Is this what Nancy wants to do?” So I abandoned that and went to school for Communications where I majored in PR which was good cause it is cost cutting in any sector. For many years, that’s what I did but at the back of my head I was always drawn to color, form and shape.
It wasn’t until probably 12 years ago when I was living in the States, the way I would decorate my apartment really amazed people. Here is when I started thinking that, “Oh maybe I have a knack for this, a natural instinct for interior design.”
I started to pursue that a little bit and did a few projects on the side. When I came home three years ago, I looked around and noted that we have a lot of nice things in the market but it’s hard to find them sometimes and also we have a lot of just junk (laughs). It’s okay to have some standard pieces but I believe in having something unique. I think it says more about you and that’s just my feeling. Not everyone has to ascribe to that.
What made you open a store?
My sister and I had been thinking of starting a store together which combined her being a bookworm and me who’s interested in interior design. To me, your books are also part of your decor. So we put the two together and we began looking for spaces.
Lavington Mall is a nice quaint convenient shopping mall. When I saw the space I felt like it was more me and not a box with a glass window. This January, we opened the store. Many people asked me why I was even thinking of opening a shop because business has been really bad for people. Sometimes I do wonder did I make a mistake but on the other hand, when is the right time? I think we fear too often and that holds us back.
What is your process of selecting items and curating a space?
People ask me this all the time, even in my home they ask how I selected certain pictures to put on the wall, it just comes kind of naturally. I don’t think much about it. The space speaks to me and I start with the walls. In the store, I wanted the color of the walls to be close to that of our logo.
If you walked in after it was painted, you’d have thought “What on earth Nancy?” Then I slowly started putting things in. A lot of these items I’ve had them made as per my designs and other pieces I’ve collected along the way from different countries like Berlin and The States. Slowly, I’ve built it up and played around with the space. I wanted the store to look like someone’s living room, you could see yourself living in this space.
I’m never thinking, “Oh this has to match”, it just has to be things that speak to me in terms of shape, utility and style. I tell people, when you’re putting up pictures try to group things because it makes it more interesting. Chairs don’t always have to be up against the wall. Area rugs are important to demarcate an area, they separate spaces and show the purpose of a spot.
Be creative, don’t be so scared. I bought sari pieces and decided to drape them at the windows and a lot of people won’t think of doing that but it is so beautiful.
What is your favorite piece?
I love everything because I picked them out so carefully.
This table is one of my favorites; it has that distressed wood kind of feeling. It is also made out of real wood; I like real things not manufactured. It’s a real statement piece and I think in a home you should have one or two pieces that are like conversational starters. So this to me is one of them.
Another one I love is this treasure.
This was a Pakistani indoor swing that someone was about to throw out actually. I took it, refurbished it and put a cushion. The reason I love these two together is that the cushion has texture, it’s comfortable and it can also serve as a coffee table. You know, this is a piece that was about to be thrown out. How do you change it? How do you re-purpose it? We’re so ready to throw things out.
What I think people don’t do enough today is mix old and new.
I also purpose to make furniture that is apartment friendly. A lot of the things these days in furniture shops are bulky and we are living in smaller and smaller apartments so what do we do? Everything here can go up the stairs and can fit through doors.
We have accessories here you will not find anywhere else for you to enjoy. I want someone to buy something because it’s going to make then happy not cause of what others will say. It’s not about pleasing others, it’s about pleasing me.
You’d like to work with other trade professionals, right?
Yes. I have other rooms here at the store that I would like to help other artisans showcase their work. I want it to be almost like an art gallery but an art gallery for furniture. This would be for furniture and other Knick Knacks for the home that are unique and of quality. It could be a place where people find a home to showcase their work.
If you are an artisan interested in this, contact Douglas & Kline at 0718-812-845. Located at Lavington Shopping Complex above Barclays Bank and Aloha Food Supplies.