My Favorite Room: Kathryn M. Ireland finds that Mother Nature is a first-rate decorator too

My Favorite Room: Kathryn M. Ireland finds that Mother Nature is a first-rate decorator too
Celebrity interior decorator Kathryn M. Ireland enjoys her outdoor sitting area at her Venice home. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

When "Million Dollar Decorators" star Kathryn M. Ireland moved into her Venice home a year ago, she got the chance to design it anew. The interior and textile designer decided to fill the 2,655-square-foot space with the colorful, bohemian style that her A-list clients — Steve Martin, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and David Mamet, to name a few — have come to love.

What's your favorite room in the house?


My favorite room is my outdoor sitting area. I'm an outdoor person, and this has become an extension of my living room. It has what everyone needs: a little garden, a little patio, a place where you can catch a few rays of sunshine.

What clinched the deal for you when you purchased this property?

The reason I bought this house is because it has this beautiful oak tree in the garden. It shades the garden nicely, so you can actually sit outside all day long underneath this wonderful mottled light. It's like a see-through speckled umbrella.

Everyone can use a little garden, Ireland says.
Everyone can use a little garden, Ireland says. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Other than the oak tree, what other plants do you have in your garden?

I've got kumquat trees and lemon trees. I love making salads with them by just adding good olive oil and lemon juice. I've also got lots of geraniums.

How were you able to turn this outdoor area into an extended living room?

I accented the tree by hanging ball-shaped rattan lanterns made by my dear friend, Stephen Block of Inner Gardens, who did the landscaping for the Soho House in West Hollywood. Beneath that, I added an all-weather table and chairs for 12 people from Grange, a French company, and I covered that table with fabric I designed.

I've also got some great outdoor rattan chairs from Napa Home. Then I repurposed this great Indian bowl into a fire pit and brought in a barbecue. I don't do much cooking on the stove, but I love my barbecue.

The inside is brought out.
The inside is brought out. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

You came out with a book this month, "Kathryn at Home," which shares recipes and your philosophy on entertaining. Can you share some of your secrets?  

When it comes to laying your table, always make it personal. Don't make the flowers look like you're giving a wedding. Pick what you have on hand. I also think one should always have linen table napkins or tablecloths, even for picnics. It just sets the stage.