We’ve featured interior designer Christina Kim before, as we’re big fans of her warm and modern aesthetic. Her projects are effortless and elegant, but where does she go to get inspired? Today, we’re popping into the Christina Kim Interior Design headquarters, located in Manasquan, New Jersey. Just a few blocks from the beach, it’s got all the vibes of summer by the shore, but still is designed with productivity in mind and inspires CKID’s greatest work. Over email, Christina told us a bit more.
Your studio is gorgeous! Where is it located?
My studio is located on Main Street in downtown Manasquan, New Jersey, a quaint little beach town on the Jersey Shore. It’s within walking distance of my house, my kids’ school and so close to many of our beach house projects. The ocean is just down the road. It’s literally the perfect spot for me!
We’d love to know about the design of the space. What condition was it in when you moved in? What changes did you make for it to function for you and your team?
We made a ton of changes to the space, which was formerly a yoga studio for kids. It was bright yellow with not so great vinyl plank flooring and a beat up drop ceiling. The first thing we did was rip out the drop ceiling which allowed us to raise the ceiling almost another whole foot! We sheet rocked the ceiling, skim coated the walls and covered everything in Simply White by Benjamin Moore. I thought I would be able to live with that gray rustic flooring for the sake of the budget but I could not! Sherwin Williams makes a great floor paint product called Armorseal 8100 which can be tinted any color and has epoxy in it. We painted the floors a nice bright custom white and it was a game changer. (I know you’re not supposed to paint vinyl flooring but I did and they take a beating and never chip!)
Other than that, we paid a lot of attention to lighting, taking extra care to lay out a mix of functional track lighting, giant decorative basket pendants from Indonesia and some Italian vintage sconces for fun.
What can you tell us about a few of the details… inspiration board, sample library, etc?
We keep a pretty curated sample library with fabrics, wallpapers, finishes, and tile. We also installed a giant pinboard that serves as an ever evolving moodboard for upcoming projects and new design obsessions.
Decor and mood setting was a big deal to me. I wanted to create a “luxury leisure” vibe since we’re here at the beach serving beach homes. I designed a custom conference table which is meant to look like a high end ping pong table. We had it made by a local carpenter we often work with, Timber Talent (@timbertalent), whose workshop is located right around the corner. He wrapped the table legs in brass from old brass sheets that a local metal worker salvaged from Hurricane Sandy. Boy were they in bad shape but we had them polished and they shined up great. We brought in a mix of upholstery, vintage chairs, and vintage photography. My favorite is an old B&W candid photo of Brigitte Bardot on the set of Two Weeks in September from the 1960s. There are also a few rattan bar carts and a revolving door of accessories for client installs like coffee table books, plants and lucite skateboards.
Are there any elements you love most?
My favorite thing about the studio is that it feels a bit like a cabana, coincidentally one of my favorite types of spaces to design. The great thing about a cabana or a beach house in general is that you only have the things there that you need and everything else is just for fun and to make you smile. I feel like the same holds true for our studio!
Finally, what is a “typical” day like at CKID?
A typical day is pretty packed with sourcing, coordinating deliveries and site visits most of which are just a few minutes away from the studio. We’re a very collaborative team so some of us are sourcing and designing custom furniture together while some are designing custom built-ins or managing trades. We work really hard at CKID but we also laugh so hard that sometimes the neighbors come downstairs to ask us what’s so funny!