for your home
Kathy Ireland offers tips for flexible room designs
MANY OF US don’t have the luxury
of separate home offices, dens, family
rooms or guest rooms. Get a little
more multipurpose mileage out of
your rooms with these creative
tips from Kathy Ireland.
• Color-code your room. Paint
and accent rugs of different colors
help delineate spaces. (Example: The
green wall where your desk is represents the “work” wall in your home
office, and the white wall with blue
rug and blue chairs where the kids’
table is represents the “play” area.)
• Use smart dividers. Look for
pieces such as large bookcases open
on both sides that can neatly divide
a space while still offering plenty of
KATHY IRELAND KNOWS a thing or two
about dining room tables. As chief designer
for her company, Kathy Ireland Worldwide,
she has been involved in designing numerous
dining tables—as well as bookcases, entertainment centers, office furniture, bedroom
sets and much more. But this busy mom of
three (Erik, 15; Lily, 11; and Chloe, 6) also
launched her business from her very own
“I made sketches, brainstormed marketing plans, and paid bills—right there in my
dining room,” Ireland tells The Connection.
She’s never forgotten that makeshift home
office; in fact, it’s shaped practically every
business decision she has made.
Ireland’s $1.4 billion design empire has
humble roots—the brand was born in 1993
with a pair of socks. “People told me I was
crazy, but I really believed in the product—
and I had a great team,” says Ireland, a Costco
member and frequent shopper. Following her
instincts turned out to be the right move for
the former supermodel. In fact, she says, she
By Judi Ketteler
built the business, which now includes furniture, accessories, fashion, jewelry, skin-care
products and fresh-cut flowers, by listening to
moms and families.
Our changing homes
What families are telling Ireland now is
that they are living differently, and they need
the rooms in their homes to serve many purposes—often at the same time. “Our homes
are a living thing,” Ireland says. “They can’t be
stagnant.” Families want furniture that looks
good, but also offers flexibility. To go back to
Ireland’s own example: A dining table can
help launch a business, serve as a gathering
space for meals, provide a wonderful surface
for craft projects and offer a roomy place to
do homework—all in the space of a few hours.
At the end of the day, you also want the table
to have its own story—whether it’s an antique
table inherited from your grandmother or a
piece you bought yourself and have watched
your family grow into.
These are the considerations Ireland
• Use rolling carts. This is a great
solution for office/guest rooms. Store
your computer on a stylish cart that
you can easily roll into a corner or a
closet, or out of the room altogether.
• Create a vertical nook. Look
for wasted areas, and build up—tall
built-in shelving, for example.
• Put your room on a diet. Clear
surfaces make a room feel lighter and
larger. Be realistic about what can
stay and what needs to go.
• Divide with fabric. Fabric
makes a great space divider because it
has less visual weight—and can easily
hang from a track on the ceiling.
• Stack, nest and stash. Seek out
chairs and tables that stack or nest,
tables with leaves, good-looking sofa
beds and entertainment centers with
JANUARY 2010 ;e Costco Connection 57
brought to her furniture line for Martin Home
Furnishings, a leading U.S. furniture manufacturer. The designs aren’t haphazard. “Our
home has been the lab for testing everything,”
she says. If it doesn’t stand up to the challenge
of three busy kids, it doesn’t make the cut.
Ireland takes her responsibility seriously
because she knows that good design solves