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Q&A with Susan Spath at Kern & Co



Susan Spath at her Rancho Santa Fe store.

Interior Designer Susan Spath and her team of design professionals are in the business of making dreams come true. Be it a single room refresh or a full scale new construction project, Spath has established herself as one of San Diego’s “go-to” sources for creating livable and luxurious spaces that are as much about a client’s life as they are about their own personal style.

Beginning with a design process that pivots on communication, Spath works with clients to define how each space will be used on a day-to-day basis, as well as closely listening to how they may see a particular space evolve. Wielding her particular brand of design magic, Spath then manages to merge these uses and wishes into finished spaces that are elegant, dynamic and very personalized.

Along with her design studio, Spath owns and operates design and décor showroom Kern & Company. With locations in Solana Beach and Rancho Santa Fe, Spath and her team draw upon a collection of high end products that represent the design trade’s “best in class” brands encompassing furnishings, lighting, décor and textiles. Spath’s expertise, however, is her ability to see beyond color and texture as she routinely incorporates architecture, light flow and subtle 

detailing into layered and nuanced designs.

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A firm believer in the concept of timeless design, Spath’s spaces incorporate a mélange of styles and influences that, while seeming traditional and classic, are actually quite contemporary in their execution. It is through her subtle and refined eye that Spath recently let us in on some of her favorite trends in home and interior design.

Classic

“Classic always wins,” states Spath. For the past year everyone has wanted a classic white kitchen to complement the light wood finishes that have been so 

popular with homeowners. In spaces other than a kitchen, Spath balances light and dark furnishings against crisp whites in a manner that evokes a traditional 

French farmhouse, or nods toward classic Spanish colonialism. Incorporating more traditional pieces, she believes, brings a dynamic element to the spacethat lets one introduce modern pieces that bring a room to life.

Pastels

As anyone familiar with the term “Millennial Pink” will inform you, white isn’t the only color story in the news. In 2017, people are asking for color in their 

Kitchen

rooms like never before. Dusty pastels like lavender, pink and blush are being mixed in light filled spaces with a decidedly fresh take on interior living. “Sometimes a dash of a color can really bring the room together and lend it a lighter, fresh look - which is exactly what everyone wants,” states Spath. “Sometimes we’ll add a lavender chair to complement an all white room. Sometimes it’s a lavender room with white accents. 

Color splashes really work to bring a room together.”

Jewel Tones

Along with pastels, lush jewel tones have begun to shine as a trend in interior design. Used as an accent piece or in lush Hollywood Regency style upholstery, colors like claret, plum or emerald are a great way to bring a space to life with a decidedly modern flair. “Sometimes we see an emerald coffee table, paired with an all white sofa and mixed in with dark wood accents. Emerald is actually a great way to add color to a room without it becoming overwhelming,” hints Spath. “Combining jewel 

tones with gold or perhaps some layered crystal accents, gives a space that fresh feel; a feel that moves it beyond any particular style.”

Fabrics

Given our indoor/outdoor lifestyle in Southern California, the role fabric plays in design has always been paramount. Thankfully, advances in technology have broadened the choices available to homeowners like never before, with durable “performance fabrics” capturing everyone’s attention at the moment. Once relegated to patio cushions and umbrella covers, modern performance fabrics have moved inside the home. In doing so, they have brought new found style and flexibility to myriads of families with children and pets. “Manufacturers have brought so many performance options to the market, that families don’t have to sacrifice style for function any more. We can have beautiful spaces that are durable and stand up well to use!” Spath says. “By the same token, we can create outdoor living spaces that really incorporate and celebrate the lifestyle California is known for!