Designer Friday: An ASPIRE Exclusive Interview With Kammi Reiss

Kammi Reiss develops each project based on the specific needs, interests, and style of the client, making the finished product their ideal environment. She strives for excellent craftsmanship, welcoming environments, and designs that endure. Her work has been seen in New York City, The Hamptons, Connecticut, and Aspen. Get to know Kammi in this week’s Designer Firday.

A quick look inside The Bernstein Gym. The client wanted art as the main inspiration for this pilates room. The Murikami Flower Ball even made its debut.

Andrew Joseph: Describe your design style as if you were explaining it to someone who cannot see.
Kammi Reiss: I love this question. We so often forget to consider alternate perspectives. While the way an environment looks is important to how it is experienced, the textures, volume, scent and temperature are equally significant. My style feels like a soft and nubby cashmere boucle wrapped around wire-brushed oak with deep grooves that enhance the unique grain pattern. My style is filled with familiar sounds that make you smile, like waves breaking or your favorite song. My style has the fresh and crisp aroma of Jo Malone Lime, Basil, Mandarin by day and the fragrance of a delicious and lovingly home-cooked meal by night. My style is a comfortable 70 degree spring day.

Andrew: What is the last book you read?
Kammi: Reading, especially fiction, is such a luxury in this busy era. Last week I finished The Giver Of Stars by Jo Jo Moyes. It tells the story of 5 strong women in depression-era Kentucky. I loved the imagery of the stunning yet treacherous landscape and the powerful commitment the women had to each other and to delivering books to people who had never had them. It reminded me how we all need to be good to and respect each other and our world.

Andrew: Who was the nicest person you worked for? Dare you want to share the worst?
Kammi: I am super lucky to have had amazingly nice, kind, and smart clients. No one was more nice than another, although the one who gave me my first job was not only nice but beyond generous with her faith in me. The worst was by far myself; my husband and I did a gut renovation when we downsized as empty-nesters and I was constantly putting off making decisions, which is no good!

Adding a subtle pop of color into this very minimalistic kitchen, makes for a great surprise. One of many hidden treasures found throughout this apartment.

Andrew: What are you most proud of?
Kammi: I was raised by loving, supportive, hard working parents with a strong marriage and close ties to their families and friends. I have tried to follow this model, and as we watch our two young adult daughters pursue careers they are passionate about and make time for rich and fulfilling relationships I am filled with pride.

Andrew: Must have clothing item everyone should have?
Kammi: No question: a classic blazer. All women and men should have this staple. It elevates jeans and a tee shirt, with the sleeves pushed up it can make formal-wear less stuffy, and if it is well tailored it will always make you look great and in turn give you confidence when you wear it.

Andrew: What’s inspiring you in life (in the industry) right now
Kammi: I am dazzled by the innovations in materials. The options for easy-clean fabrics are increasing by the day which make it possible for me to offer my clients with young families looks that are sophisticated and elegant while also sensible and effortless to maintain. I also love that the internet has allowed me to connect with artisans all over the world who don’t have operations large enough to show their work at venues like ICFF or in a U.S. showroom. I work with a concrete craftsman in Ohio who makes gorgeous terrazzo tables based on sketches I give him and a metalworker in Texas who builds custom steel furniture. These makers allow me to give my clients beautifully made, unique pieces which add dimension and individuality to their projects.

Kammi Reiss understands that it’s all in the details. Even for a reader’s nook, you can find amazing craftsmanship from the pillows, all the way to the throw blanket.

Andrew: What are some of the podcasts you listen to and why?
Kammi: As a New York City girl I spend hours every day walking, and I listen to podcasts non-stop. My favorites are the new Charish podcast with Micheal Boodro and Political GabFest on Slate. Michael talks to industry leaders about issues that are topical and he and his guests address the quickly changing landscape of the interior design industry. And Political Gabfest is a spirited conversation between talented journalists discussing current news topics from varying perspectives. I love how PGF uses humor and history to illustrate points. Plus, and they end each week’s episode with a segment called Cocktail Chatter; what’s not to love about smart chatter coupled with a cocktail?

About The Designer | Kammi Reiss is the founder and president of Kammi Reiss Design, L.L.C., an interior design firm specializing in residential and commercial commissions, as well as custom products and furnishings. Kammi’s approach to interiors is client focused. She develops each project based on the specific needs, interests, and style of the client, making the finished product their ideal environment.

Kammi’s career in design began when she was a member of the founding editorial staff of the US edition of Elle Décor. Kammi served as the Photo Editor where, in addition to coordinating all of the photography for the magazine, she also supervised and styled many of the photos featured on the cover and inside the magazine. In 1999, Kammi pivoted her design career to launch an eponymous handbag line with The Pegasus Apparel Group. After 10 years building Kammi Reiss Handbags to a successful brand of custom bags, Kammi was drawn back into the world of interiors by a hotel commission. She felt she had returned to her passion and moved back to designing interiors exclusively. Kammi loves excellent craftsmanship, welcoming environments, and designs that endure.

Andrew Joseph is a regular contributing editor for ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine. See more of his work here

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ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME is seeker and storyteller of the sublime in living. It is a global guide to in-depth and varied views of beauty and shelter that stirs imagination; that delights and inspires homeowners as well as art and design doyens. Collaborating with emergent and eminent architects, artisans, designers, developers and tastemakers, ASPIRE creates captivating content that savors the subjects and transports with stunning imagery and clever, thought-provoking writing. Through lush and unique visuals and a fresh editorial lens, ASPIRE explores what is new and undiscovered in art, interiors, design, culture, real estate, travel and more. ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME is an international narrative and resource for all seeking the sublime.