Kendall Wilkinson is one of the industry’s premier interior designers. Her work has been featured in numerous publications – from Elle Décor to Town & Country – for good reason: her taste is impeccable! Recently, Ms. Wilkinson was one of a handful of top designers from around the country asked to participate in LUXE Magazine’s Maison de Luxe Show House in Beverly Hills. The result? A breathtaking and most innovative take on the traditional men’s room. Dubbed the “Twilight Room,” the space is Hollywood grandeur at it’s very finest. I had the opportunity to speak with Kendall about her firm’s latest project for the blog – I do hope you enjoy!
Fallon: The stereotypical “mens’ room” conjures images of old-world gentlemen’s clubs – taxidermy, tufted leather sofas, oversized trophies (you know men and their egos…) – but the “Twilight Room” is clean, modern and incredibly innovative. What inspired you to take the design in this direction? Whom did you have in mind when you designed the space?
Kendall Wilkinson: I’ve created many “mens’ rooms” in my career, but I wanted to veer away from the traditional mens' room and create more of a sleek lounge, where the “night crawlers” might come hang out, chill out, listen to music from their Sonos or Itunes… enjoy good conversation in a cool lounge space with a strong vibe. I was imagining an actor from the Hollywood scene having a chic after-party here…Or, a Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur discussing his /her latest business idea. I wanted to create a masculine space without having to fall back on the stereotypical look.
F: How did you go about designing the “Twilight Room”? Were you able to preview the space in person beforehand?
KW: Yes, we were able to visit the house beforehand, take measurements, and photograph the space - all of which is so instrumental in developing your design. The room is relatively small and presented some design challenges. But it had a great view and wonderful light. We wanted to make sure our design didn’t take away from those great features, but we needed to come up with some real design solutions to make the space work for us.
F: I’m dying to know which concept came first – the hanging pergola lounge or the infinity mirror wall?
KW: The whole design process was organic and collaborative. I wanted to celebrate the beauty of the Estate and its landscape – to integrate my indoor room with the out of doors. I needed to have seating; I wanted the space to feel bigger and more open. I asked my design team, what can we design to make this space better?
Pergolas are often used in the landscape to create vertical interest. Our custom indoor pergola lounge has a framework that imitates walls and a ceiling without obscuring the beautiful view of the lush landscape. I love how the cantilevered benches hover, suspended in the air, hanging by not even a thread. But, they were made for hanging out in too! Mirrors are an old designer trick to expand a space, but I wanted to take it to that next step. Our infinity mirror wall does that and more.
(photo by Mark Shaw, courtesy of the Andrew Wilder Gallery)
F: The artwork that you chose is unexpected but works beautifully. What was behind your decision to use fashion photography?
KW: I’ve always been inspired by, and have a tremendous appreciation for fashion. With my work, I also love mixing in the unexpected. Mark Shaw’s provocative vintage photographs juxtaposed perfectly with the contemporary ethereal images of Norwegian photographer Sølve Sundsbø.
F: I feel like when one has free reign with a space – i.e. no particular client – the finished product is bound to reflect insight on the designer’s inner being. Is this true with the “Twilight Room?” If you could steal one element of this space to install in your own home, what would it be?
KW: I’d love to install the whole room into my home! In fact, I’m working with clients to install aspects of this design into their homes – from the gilded paper on the ceilings, to an adaptation of the benches or a custom infinity mirror. It’s very easy to adjust and customize these design elements for any space. The photographs may make their way into my home…
F: When you walk into this room, you feel…
KW: ...Incredible! It’s wonderful to see my vision come to life. Visitors to the space have said it best… “Calming yet stimulating”…”Inspirational”…”Magical”…”Blown away”. We’ve been getting such a tremendous response from anyone who visits the space. Their reactions have been really wonderful.