In 2011, Eileen Kathryn Boyd was selected by Duralee, a leader in the textile industry, to be their first “Duralee Designer.” She stepped up to the challenge and, true to her signature style, created a colorful collection filled with vibrant hues and bold patterns. With her discerning eye, the fabrics topped the best seller list from launch to present day. With so much success and an effortless eye for combining color and pattern harmoniously, they asked her back to the drawing board and create a second collection! Drawing inspiration from the arts, fashion, and horticulture – the new line (which launched September 2014) will make even the most neutral-obsessed convert to color. We sat down with the designer to learn more about her creative process, AND find out what color she could never live without:
How did you first fall into the design world?
I graduated with a BFA from Parsons School of Design and I took the first great job I was offered, which was working in the fabric room of a private aircraft company call Falcon Jet. After several years of working on lots of jets and scheming with contract fabrics, I was ready for a change. The fabric reps that would present the contract fabrics would often have residential fabrics included their presentations and the residential textiles in contrast were much sexier than the contract fabrics. I was sure at this point in my early career that working in the world of private jets was not my calling. I became romanced by the world of residential design and I never looked back. It was in 1991 that I formed my Interior Design firm, Eileen Kathryn Boyd Interiors.
You’ve got a portfolio filled with stunning residential and commercial spaces. In your own words, how would you describe your aesthetic?
My interiors are trend-conscious, yet timelessly chic. My mission is to create environments that have a harmonious balance between classic design and modern influences. Color is absolutely my trademark, and I have a passion for creating unexpected color combinations. To me, a room is my canvas and color is my medium. When you achieve the right color collaborations, the room sings.
We love that! We know you’ve always got a lot of projects in the works, so we have to ask. Start to finish, what is a typical day like for you in the EKB offices?
My day starts by getting up early and – while my mind is clear – I attend to emails and answer questions from the previous day’s business. I also spend some time researching on the internet and put together a list of to do’s for the day. Then, I pack up myself and my dog Einstein and we head into the studio. There we gather the EKB team and go through the flurry of fabric samples, paint chips and furniture tear sheets as we piece together our client presentations.
What’s a little known fact about you?
I play the guitar and sing. I have often said that musical notes are like colors to me. When I hear or see color or music combinations, I often know intuitively that it is right. I call it my built in sensor.
Speaking of color combinations – tell us about the collection with Duralee. What was your inspiration?
I have been a lover of textiles for many years. I think it’s every designer’s dream to create and curate a textile collection that speaks to their aesthetic. I was fortunate to have been asked to tell my color story in textiles. I draw inspiration from the arts, fashion, horticulture, and personal collections from many years of living as an artist. I feel that as you mature as an interior designer, you develop a recognizable perspective and point of view. The challenge is to communicate that learned aesthetic into a collection of textiles in color, pattern and texture that all coordinate and relate to one another independently and as a whole.
What was the process like?
I loved working with Duralee, It took approximately a year and a half to create this second collection. I was surrounded by a very talented and knowledgeable team that guided me through the process so I could make confident choices and stay true to my vision. There are many decisions to be made, and a large investment of time up front, but in the end it’s so worth it! I am very proud of this collection. It’s a real milestone for me in my career, an expansion of the first collection, and an experience I will always remember.
We know it’s hard to choose, but do you have any stand-out favorites from the collection?
Yes, as I was choosing the wovens for the collection it was very important that they were multi-purpose. We worked hard to create fabrics that could be used as window treatments as well as upholstery. Patterns like “Bob Cat” and “Astral” are durable enough for upholstery, yet have an airy, light weight that makes it perfect for drapery. I also gravitate to the statement prints like “Pop Flower” and “Show Girl.” They’re fabrics that were specifically designed to make a room pop!
We’re sure our readers would love to know – what are your top tips for decorating with color?
My background in fine arts has trained my eye to compose a space using color in different strengths. I treat each room as a composition, as an artist would compose a painting. I am very sensitive to the impact color has on a space. For example, selecting a strong saturated color is exciting to work with but for most people, it’s hard to live with. It’s important to achieve balance when creating a color story for a room. If you want to choose a strong color, surround it with its complementary colors and add a neutral ground. Color Theory 101: the color wheel is a foolproof guide to the language of color.
So true! Finally, if you could only use ONE color for the rest of your design career, what would it be?
It has to be purple, I cannot live without it!
To learn more about Eileen Kathryn Boyd and her collection with Duralee, click here.