Growing up in Houston, briefly living in London, and later moving to New York to work for Jil Sander and Marc Jacobs for nearly a decade molded interior designer Kim West’s singular aesthetic. Her nomadic existence offered exposure to a rich arsenal of references, ultimately allowing her to craft a style that thoughtfully balances “maximalism and restraint.”
When West and her husband, Dave, had their first child, Lulu, in 2011, the Brooklyn-based couple knew it was time for another lifestyle change. “I was ready for the next chapter,” she says of their decision to return to Texas. “Austin was a place where we could be creative and entrepreneurial. The city has a beautiful soul.”
First dabbling in interior design with some of her husband’s commercial real-estate clients, West bonded with fellow interiors-world acquaintances Callie Jenschke and Kristin Gish over the fact that “all the things we were attracted to weren’t available in Texas.” The trio decided to remedy that.
In 2015, they opened the shop Supply Showroom to source “what is special in independent design” to clients all over the state—an impressive selection of wallpaper, fabric, rugs, and lighting from Australia, Europe, and the US in a swath of styles—from splashy metallics to soft florals to traditional stripes. “We champion the little guy and curate our vendors very seriously,” explains West.
When it came time to design the family’s Austin bungalow, which the couple bought and gut-renovated before moving in last summer, West had the opportunity to put her most beloved Supply textiles and patterns to work in a personal way: “I handpicked every one of these things, and now I get to live with them!”
The completed home is her ideal mix of “light, joyful, and fun.” To achieve that effect, West layered a washed-out, livable palette with bright accents—and plenty of wallpaper. “My love of color was planted by my Texas roots,” she says.
A walk through the space is a journey from muted understatement to notice-me prints and back again—punctuated by advice from the enthusiastic West, her native Texas drawl reinvigorated after six years back home.
Guests enter the traditional Craftsman by way of the living room, which is anchored by a large, ’70s-style sectional reupholstered in a bold pattern. (“Go big or go home!” is one design principle West adamantly espouses.) She adorned the common room with pretty floral drapes and left the walls white—because giving the eye a rest is also important, she explains.
The adjacent kitchen continues the soft neutral theme, with cabinets and barstools painted duck egg green and inset appliances that seamlessly blend in. The breakfast nook chairs are covered in a fabric featuring a native bird of Australia: “The Australian prime minister and I have the same print!” West says, laughing.
Small spaces are where she really brings the drama: A hall closet is painted Yellowcake from Farrow & Ball (“A nice zinger in a house filled with pastels”), and the kids’ bathroom showcases a whimsical botanical wallpaper that balances cabinets painted in Arsenic, a modern, moody mint also from Farrow & Ball.
In the mudroom, West applied big-print cobalt wallpaper and added contrasting lilac cabinets, because “laundry rooms need to be a little happy.” Everywhere she points out “something sweet, something graphic, something old, and something new—I layer those elements throughout.”
West is also particularly proud of the back house, a sharply angled, custom hemlock wood addition the couple built and stained black, where her husband works and her in-laws stay when they visit from England for several weeks a year. The structure abuts the pool, a favorite hangout in the summer for everything from throwing breakfast taco parties to enjoying evening dips with poolside margaritas.
“We surround ourselves with positive, creative, forward-thinking people,” says West of the family’s Austin community. “And a lot of vitamin D.”
5 Ideas on Developing Your Personal Style
Take a Risk
“Don’t decorate like every neighbor on your street,” says West, or worry about standing out. Follow your instincts and do something that makes you happy.
Look for a Common Element
If you’re nervous about patterns clashing, pull prints that share a color, like a ﬂoral and a stripe. (Also: Fabric collections usually use the same palette across different prints, so choose a few within the same line.)
Strike a Balance
Layer different styles—industrial with mid-century, Scandi minimalism with free-flowing boho—to achieve an eclectic cohesiveness.
Explore Independent Design
Experiment with incorporating pieces from lesser-known brands rather than the usual big-box selection. “Even one new element takes a space from vanilla to interesting,” explains West.
Draw Inspiration From Everywhere
West looks well beyond the interior design world for a fresh perspective, like the recent documentary on fashion designer Dries Van Noten, “the master of mixing prints and colors,” she says.
This story originally appeared in the spring 2018 issue with the headline “Lone Star Style.”
See more inspiring spaces from the 2018 color issue:
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