April 7, 2017

Living artfully: At home with Kim Pickett

Kim Pickett

Graphic designer Kim Pickett at home in her colourful breakfast nook.

Story by Lucy Hyslop
Photos Janis Nicolay

After nearly two decades at the vanguard of graphic design, working for hundreds of clients nationwide, Kim Pickett was always destined to curate a visual masterpiece in her own home.
The perfect use of a pattern? Check. A clever number of bold choices? Check. A subtle balance of classic and contemporary? Check.
“I wanted what I call West Coast Modern with a flair,” says the creative director and principal of KIMBO Design. Originally from Ontario, she has created branding for hotels, unions, charities such as the Alzheimer Society and government agencies including the Ministry of Agriculture. In 2015, she ranked 86th on Chatelaine and Profit Magazine’s annual W100 list of Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs.
On a visit to her downtown Vancouver penthouse, it’s hard at first not to be distracted by the view: Her expansive floor-to-ceiling windows look out over the rooftops of Rosewood Hotel Georgia, Nordstrom and the new TELUS Garden. But the interior of her stylish apartment is equally mesmerizing.

The split-storey 1,180-square-foot condo centres on eclectic, neat accents, such as the wooden bowls that bring the lush outside in and a large family of vibrant pillows including the Vancouver-based Flaming Angels’ version of the Day of the Dead. It’s all about keeping it contemporary overall, but never cold, she explains: “I love modern, but I have to have some warmth and colour.” That means a monochrome palette, but with punchy pops of colour throughout.
Warmth and colour most definitely define her home. Beyond the large-scale multi-hued graphic image from Moe’s Home and the bright Antoni Gaudí mug from Barcelona, there’s the softer white of the Eames lounge chair and ottoman (which reveals the wooden frame more prominently) and classic Barcelona chair. “They just stand the test of time—they are so modern and yet they are so old,” Pickett says. “That’s props to the designer.”
Other soft touches among the clean lines of the kitchen countertops and stools include the well-thought-out placing of a statement circular shag-pile rug and the curved edges of her clear waterfall table. The light sectional sofa was also designed “to make everything more airy and spacious,” she says.
To ensure space flowed through the suite, Pickett reworked the kitchen. Out went the open shelving (“It’s just a place where vases gather dust”), and in came an uninterrupted space to connect with others while Pickett is cooking. It also highlights her Alessi-designed conversational pieces, including Philippe Starck’s iconic Juicy Salif citrus squeezer, the famed kettle complete with bird-shaped whistle and industrial-design supremo Karim Rashid’s “incredibly functional” broom that doubles as a sculpture.
One wall is covered with Rashid’s spellbinding swirly gold and dark blue wallpaper, which hides her black TV. Below it lies a floating shelving unit that she designed and California Closets installed, while decorative white stones stand out against the dark backdrop.
Next door, an Argentinian cowhide from Gastown’s Inform Interiors leads to a den that’s been transformed into her “creative cove.” Among stacks of vinyl records, myriad masks—collected on her travels in Mexico, Italy, Thailand and Jamaica—take pride of place.
Upstairs, her bedroom is throwback central. There’s a Parisian-style vintage chair along with the bed’s oversized headboard reupholstered in velvet, both by Main Street’s Luxcious Upholstery. And again, she’s not afraid to make a colourful splash. “I love my black, white and greys, of course, but I gravitate towards fuchsia,” she explains pointing to her pillows, bedspread and chair. For an added feeling of comfort, even one of the condo’s columns has been wrapped in textured wallpaper.
Still, despite her knack for mapping out good design, there was one surprise for Pickett.
When people kept bumping their heads on the geometric dining-area light from Inform, she pulled it up closer to the ceiling. Now it creates a beautiful graphic shadow above the dining table. “I never knew it was going to do that because it was always on display in such a big space and hanging low,” she says. “I love how things can happen organically.”

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