There is a voyeur in all of us. Come inside the private spaces and places…
Readers of this series, especially those that have been following Home Stories for years, often ask if I have ever made a visit which was hard to write about.
Not really, the truth is that everyone has a story. Whether it’s the person, the home they live in or the things they surround themselves with—there’s always a story in at least one of those. And sometimes it’s all three. Kim is a perfect example of that.
Kim and her husband Chris purchased their home in Forrest eight years ago. It had been previously owned by Peter Byfield, a renowned Canberran architect who took the original 1926 home and extended it to offer greater comfort for a larger family.
This was perfect for Kim and Chris, as they raised their son and daughter in a home that had separate wings for the kids but also plenty of shared spaces for together time.
As you can probably tell from the photos, Kim has quite the eye for visually rich, historical and perhaps even eclectic interior design and we can attribute that to her being the owner of KMH Interiors. But she didn’t start out as an interior designer.
In fact, Kim’s professional journey begun as an archaeologist after graduating from ANU and even though design was always a passion, it did not evolve until later in life.
“I think that happened what it was supposed to happen—it took all my years of researching, learning and inspiration to give me experience and skill to see many moving parts in a single vision,” says Kim. I think with that line Kim also perfectly described her home.
It’s a feast of details bound together through linked elements that creates a singular and grand experience.
“I love recycled things because the archaeologist in me loves the backstory…even two of our cats are ‘recycled’—well in the sense that they were strays we adopted,” laughs Kim.
“I also love how older pieces show a patina of age and signs of use—we’re so afraid of marking our perfect furniture these days yet we should use what we have to its fullest—life is for living!”
When Kim said that she pointed to the circular mid-century sofa in her main lounge room which clearly has experienced many a festive celebration.
“See that, my girlfriends come over, we have a great time, celebrate life and sometimes champagne is spilt – it’s a mark of good times.”
Kim is also a professional art consultant and keen art collector. Her personal collection consists of a few pieces from known artists but the majority were found in op shops and The Green Shed. However, there is certainly a filter applied to what gets selected.
“The designer William Morris said that your home should be only filled with things you use and things you cherish,” says Kim. “I cherish a lot of things our family passes down, but I also let beautiful things find me.”
“I put in the time and the effort to go through a lot of vintage or op-shops and eventually a piece will peek out from behind some corner and instantly speak to me. Op and vintage shopping is really just as much about things finding you as much as you finding them. And when that magic happens, you’re then giving that piece another life.”
So how does Kim ensure that all these somewhat random things with all their separate stories link together? Well, the trick is in creating a linked narrative.
For example, that golden peacock wall sculpture in the living room relates to the little peacock figurine on the coffee table and to the pattern on the wooden cigar box. Or the leaves in the painting relate to the pattern on the fabric which also relates to the dried leaves in the vase next to it.
Kim actually has a fascination with flowers in their natural state of decay—it sounds a bit like something Morticia from The Addams Family would like but you have to admit that it has its own beauty.
When you look through Cass’s pictures—especially those of the outside—you probably will pick up on a strong Moroccan theme. Well, that’s another lifelong passion of Kim’s and now a professional interest she has turned into another business venture Maroc InStyle Adventures with guided design, culinary, cultural, and historical tours of Marrakech.
I’m sure by now you’re getting a sense that Kim is rather busy. Indeed, her passion for soaking up history, design and recycling (cats included) has given her life so many stories. My hardest challenges was working out what to leave out.
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