Design life: Lorna Kee, Interior Architect

Tonal trends are tops for interior design, says Lorna Kee.

What’s your background?

I grew up in a Victorian house in need of serious renovations and I watched my dad transform the old house into a beautifully designed home.

My first job was a sales person in an interior design showroom. I knew that interior design was the job for me.

I had initially studied business, but I went back to college to study a Diploma in Interior Design with the Dublin Institute of Design.

In 2005, a job came up to be the designer for a shop called Silk Road. I adored the work.

Lorna Kee prefers to use a neutral framework of mainly taupe or grey with luxurious textures.
Lorna Kee prefers to use a neutral framework of mainly taupe or grey with luxurious textures.

When the business closed down in 2008, I decided to set up Kee Interiors.

I got a bank loan and bought all my wallpaper and fabric books.

My parents’ dining room was my office for the first year in business.

In 2011, I went back to Griffith College to complete a degree in Interior Architecture.

What’s a typical work day for you?

I read my list of jobs and give myself three to five tasks to complete each day. Then I walk my dog, Bowie, for an hour which helps the creative juices flow.

My studio is in my home so I don’t have a commute time or don’t need to take a one-hour lunch break so I work from 11am to 5pm. I work two evenings a week on concept boards.

I make sure that I have two full office days and the rest of the time I am out on site visiting clients’ homes and businesses.

Lorna adds accent colours through handmade curtains, and by coordinating cushions in a mix of linen, silk and velvets, or with dramatic wall art or piece of statement furniture.
Lorna adds accent colours through handmade curtains, and by coordinating cushions in a mix of linen, silk and velvets, or with dramatic wall art or piece of statement furniture.

Tell us about a favourite project that you have worked on?

My favourite project would be the thatched house in Cavan I completed on Christmas Eve last year. It is the first of its kind in the country and the clients wanted it to be their weekend home to entertain in.

The brief was to design colourful rooms. One of the clients had seen my work at my 2016 Ideal Homes stand. I had designed couture curtains using five types of materials to create the look and he had never seen anything so detailed before.

He said I was the right fit for designing the house for him and his wife.

Design life: Lorna Kee, Interior Architect

What’s your design style?

My style is based on my clients’ style. It’s also inspired by the latest designs from the fabric and wallpaper books that I invest in.

What inspires your work?

I am inspired by the architecture of my clients’ house or business and the history behind it. The location can be inspiring too if it’s by the sea or in the city.

What’s your favourite trend at the moment (if you have any)?

Mink tones are trending this year. My stand at House 2017 — the event runs May 26-28 — is showcasing mink curtains and sofas and floor boards. Pastel tones are beautiful to work with and I am blending them in as my accent colour.

Design life: Lorna Kee, Interior Architect

What’s your most treasured possession?

The desk and chairs in my studio. They are from the 1950s — I inherited them from my grandmother. I had them re-sprayed to a dark chocolate colour and the chairs re-upholstered.

I also have the matching sideboard and floor lamp which is solid brass so it’s almost like my Grandmother’s dining room and my mother’s dining room have both played a part in the creation of Kee Interiors.

Who would be your favourite designer, or style inspiration?

I have bought every Kelly Hoppen book. Her style and her success as a business woman are my inspiration. I aim to be as good as her and as successful in business.

Design life: Lorna Kee, Interior Architect

What would be a dream project/design for you to work on?

I would love to design a new boutique hotel with no two rooms the same. That would be such a big challenge.

Have you any design tips for us?

Built-in storage with mirrored backing and LED lighting are functional, practical and gorgeous to look at. Spend money on your pendant lights and make sure they are on a dimmer switch.

Also, have four types of seating in your living and dining area. The high stool for morning, the dining chair for lunch and dinners, meetings and homework, and the armchairs for the adults, with a matching sofa for the one adult who wants to stretch out.

Mastersons Restaurant
Mastersons Restaurant


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