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Beside the fireplace is one of two purple upholstered chairs that Kim scored at a Paris flea market and has had for more than 15 years. “They’ve worked in every home I’ve ever had, ” she says. “They’re the perfect example of ‘buy what you love.’”
The purple chair’s lavender twin is tucked into another corner of Kim’s living room, under a salon-style art wall that she arranged by first laying the pieces—a mix of flea-market finds and works by friends—on the floor to find the right layout.
Good design withstands time regardless of color or pattern.
— Kim Salmela
The Dining Room
Smack in the middle of the house, the dining room came with two design challenges: It’s a highly trafficked pass-through to other parts of the home, and it gets very little light. Kim tackled these shortcomings by opting for benches that can be tucked under the table and sticking with mainly glass and Lucite furnishings. “They almost make up for the lack of light, ” she says. The exception? A “big, monstrous” Asian-style armoire she uses to stash her eclectic tableware collection, which includes everything from Moroccan tea glasses to Limoges china.
“When you’re trying to land on a seating arrangement, you need to consider the function of the room, ” says ? Entertaining? Having intimate conversations?” She wanted the pint-size room off her kitchen to function as a kick-back lounge pad, so she kept the retro-cool wood paneling (“I loved the cheesiness!”), added in a chunky sisal carpet, and found her seating solution in twin sofas from Ikea. “They’re the perfect example of how I decorate, ” says Kim. “A mix of high and low.” An arc lamp creates added intimacy without blocking sight lines.
If Kim is entertaining, she and friends often end up in the den, made extra cozy by vibrant art prints and patterns. She also relaxes in here on mellow weekend mornings with a cup of coffee and a good magazine when the sun is shining through those east-facing French doors.
The day after losing her computer on a plane (and not having her photos backed up), Kim woke up, dug through her closets and drawers, and found about a dozen prints. “If that was all I had left, I wanted to make it a true statement, ” she says, so she painted her hallway with chalkboard paint and drew on elaborate chalk frames. A container of chalk nailed to the wall lets visiting friends play Picasso when the mood strikes.
Masculine next to feminine. Inexpensive next to expensive. Contrast creates the best design and highlights the beauty of each piece. If everything is all one style, you look around the room and nothing stands out.
— Kim Salmela