The San Francisco designer talks color, texture, and art.

By Brielle M. Ferreira
August 08, 2013
Photographer: Jen Siska

From the best way to work with a designer to the perfect textures for a seaside home, Kendall Wilkinson shares her design dos, don'ts, and the products she loves right now.

What should homeowners bring to a first meeting?
KW: Whether it's swatches of fabric, images, or a Pinterest page, they need to come with whatever tools will help them communicate what they want out of every room.

Rule of thumb when using bold color?
KW: Be fearless! Just be sure to layer your shades with a mix of textures, patterns, and a cast of complementary hues for a grounded look.

For timeless style, take a page from ...
KW: Albert Hadley, Sister Parish, Dorothy Draper, and Michael Taylor.

Favorite finishing touch?
KW: Art can elevate the overall look of a room. When starting your own collection, strive for a mix of mediums—photography, paintings, and sculpture.

Best materials for beachfront living?
KW: I stick to cottons, linens, and sisals. They're light and casual.

Share your proudest design moment.
KW: I was working on a bedroom with a lovely hand-painted mural. Rather than risk blocking it, I created a custom Lucite headboard that didn't hide a thing!

We asked Wilkinson to share the products and shops she's loving right now.

  1. Sunglasses. "Can't leave the house without my Reed Krakoff shades." She loves: Aviator Frame Sunglasses in Spotty Turquoise, $275;
  2. Hudson Grace. "This shop has a well-curated assortment of home accessories." Visit them online at
  3. Murano Lighting. "These chandeliers look great in all settings." She loves: La Murrina Preludio S8 Chandelier, pricing available upon request; for retailers
  4. Hermès Journals. "I use them for my detailed sketches and notes." She loves: Hermès Ulysse PM Notebook in Gold, $270;
  5. Grasscloth Walls. "Phillip Jeffries is my favorite source for wallcoverings." She loves: Arches in Blue on Ivory and Bermuda Hemp in Turquoise, available to the trade;