People & Places

Celebrated shoe designer Kathryn Wilson takes us inside her wardrobe

Celebrated shoe designer Kathryn Wilson shares the story of her special home and enviable wardrobe

Celebrated shoe designer Kathryn Wilson takes us inside her wardrobe

I  live in a beautiful building in Herne Bay which I used to run past all the time when I was 19 or 20, when I flatted in the area. I’d always leave a little lavender stick or a coin on the doorstep, and my friends would be like, “You’re such a loser. It’s not your house; someone else lives there!” But I used to say, “One day I will.”

When I found out it was for sale I put my apartment on the market and it sold after one open home. I put in my best offer for this house and it was accepted. I’ve lived here for seven years now – of course these days it’s a household of three, with my husband, Liam, and Lola, 3, plus Sergeant Pepper the cat.

I have always loved the building; it has a beautiful, art deco style with a French feel and arched windows. My favourite room is our bedroom upstairs. It’s super-light and quite big with high ceilings. The sun pours through in winter, and in summer we have all the windows and shutters open so we can look out at the sea. It’s a sanctuary of calm in our crazy-busy lives.

I’m a colourful person in the sense of clothing, art or shoes, but surrounding myself with a calm, white palette makes me feel like I can relax and regroup and have a clear head. So the bedroom has white-washed floors, white walls and everything’s calm and serene. For my home, I need it to have clean lines but also be quite playful. We have Lola’s paintings on the wall providing pops of pink and orange so I’m not afraid to have fun with colour.

My shoes often have a lot of colour because if you’re not feeling adventurous enough to wear colour next to your face, you can always have something fun happening down on your feet. And they are art – so I have them displayed in a shoe wall. I had this wall made (pictured top right) – it holds 80 pairs, which I rotate. Because a lot of my friends are the same shoe size as me, we’ll swap out every season as we change it up.

What’s your interior style?
I love clean lines and simple spaces with lots of natural light. Having a busy schedule and a toddler in the house, I like the calm feeling of white spaces, which keep the home as relaxing as possible. I have a love for chairs – the form of a shoe has similar angles. If I had it my way, I’d collect chairs from different designers and have all of them around the table!

We love the chaise longue you and Lola are sitting on – where did you find it?
This is a beautiful piece of handmade furniture I found at Domo in Parnell, Auckland. It’s from a collection called Grange, which is French and made to order.

What are your wardrobe secrets?
I love to not own too much. When I buy, I get quality pieces that won’t date and will wear well. I buy a lot of timeless pieces from Juliette Hogan, Hailwood and Anine Bing, which I rotate through the wardrobe with the seasons. I find it easier to plan for travel and for events when my wardrobe is clean and orderly so I make sure to keep on top of the ironing and dry-cleaning each week!

Interview by: Jessica-Belle Greer. Photography by: Carolyn Haslett.

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