ken gemes: designing understated elegant homes
Designer Ken Gemes might be most renowned as a show-stopping New York designer, but his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia will always carry a special place in his heart
Published Jan 30, 2015 8:00 AM
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Gemes’ style is “a blend of Southern comfort with New York sophistication that creates classic contemporary homes,” a look that he says is a nod to his Southern heritage and a place where interiors and the way people live and entertain are prized. “There’s an art to having people in your house,” Gemes says. And each of his homes is designed with an eye on being able to entertain and still maintain that overall aesthetic.
One of the essential factors in creating a home that entertains well is how it flows. And, for Gemes, that flow doesn’t only involve interiors. “I’m big on outdoors integrating with the indoors,” Gemes says. Whether the design is for a Hamptons client who is spending only two to three months outdoors, or a Southern family that spends nine months a year on the porch, those spaces are crucial to the overall design scheme.
And one of Gemes’ favorite ways create cohesion within a home is with textiles. His former life in fashion, where he traveled the globe picking fabrics and shopping Europe for colors and trends, greatly influenced his love for fabrics as a designer. “I spent a lot of time developing prints,” he said. And now, whether he’s choosing furniture, rugs or fixtures, “it all relates back to some sort of textile.”
Those years traveling the globe also led Gemes to develop a line of British Colonial furniture, which he then helped people incorporate into their homes. The line was “way too specific for an entire house,” and that’s where Gemes’ keen eye for color, pattern and mixing the old with the new came in.