In case you missed it, we've launched our first ever capsule collection, designed by the wonderful interior stylist Emma Jane Palin. Emma’s 70s style, bold colour scheme and warm personality were exactly what we were after in for our first design collaboration. Somebody whose designs would pack a punch, and who would flourish within the limits of the materials and designs we work with at Kalinko.
You might have spied her throwback-meets-modern-classics style on her prolific Instagram profile; or maybe you've seen how she renovated an epic caravan in Margate with her friends Whinnie Williams and Anna Hart and turned it into a retro haven that's a self-confessed 'Pontins meets Palm Springs' kind of vibe (and available to rent, should you wish!).
As someone who lives, eats, breathes and sleeps design inspiration, we asked Emma a few questions about the collection, her own personal interiors style and the pieces that transport her to another place.
What was the process of designing and collaborating on this collection? Where were you drawing inspiration from and what did you want the collection to feel like?
I’ve always designed pieces in my head. Sometimes when I’m designing a room I can imagine the exact piece of furniture that I want in a room, but it’s very rare for that piece to exist. When I set about designing the collection, it was all about getting a few of those pieces into the world. I knew I wanted it to embrace a vintage feel and for every piece to be really special.
With Burmese craft naturally celebrating all things 70s, it made sense for me to really channel the era that inspires me so deeply. I wanted to create a collection that would be a match made in heaven for a 60s/70s celebrity bolthole and I drew inspiration from furniture that I already owned, pieces that I saw in the background of musicians' homes, memories of vintage furniture that I’d seen online – an amalgamation of everything that I would want in my own home.
Have you got a favourite piece?
It was actually the product that nearly didn’t make the cut: the smoked amber lamp base. I adore smoked glass, and thankfully two years on from the initial sketch, the love for that is still as strong. When I opened this package, I literally squealed with delight as I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. I was inspired by the shape of one my favourite lamps, and my instructions were clear – this MUST be oversized and cylindrical. Thankfully, after a lot of trial and error (Sophie told me she nearly had to pull it), the lamp prototype came back spot on. It’s the most wonderful amber hue and the bubbles are a joy to behold. I loved seeing the behind the scenes of it being made by the makers too.
How would you describe your home aesthetic or style?
I always find this question really hard to answer as I think it’s just a mix of the things my husband and I love. There’s elements of mid-century, boho, sculptural pieces; I’m just drawn to the things I like and somehow I’ve made that work in a house as an aesthetic. There’s definitely a retro feel but I always try to make it modern. For example, we’ve used some vintage-style wallpapers in the house, but paired them with contemporary colours and interesting furniture.
What do you look for when decorating or dressing your home?
As my style has matured I’ve looked for pieces that are less trend-led and more in line with my core interior style. Experimentation is good but I don’t really buy into the things that I’m seeing a lot on Instagram or in magazines unless they’re really going to work in my space for a long time. I’m a huge advocate for secondhand shopping so I often check out local charity shops, vintage halls and car boot fairs. Personality is key to me in interior design. I think a space should feel welcoming and cosy, and put everyone at ease when they enter - to do this I use a lot of artwork, photos, objects and lots of texture and cosy furnishings. I like to think my home gives me a big hug every time I walk in.
Are you more minimalist or maximalist?
I call myself a minimal maximalist. I like a sense of organised (and very styled) clutter but I’m not really a fan of clashing prints or bright, floral patterns. I like everything to have a place and can feel a little discombobulated if I don’t think something is working. I definitely do like ‘things’ though, so I’m certainly not a minimalist.
Where do you go for inspiration?
I look for inspiration in everything - books, vinyl artwork, exhibitions, walks in the country, branding! I try to live life with my eyes wide open and soak up everything that I possibly can. Sometimes I’ll just walk and walk and walk to clear my head, living by the sea is definitely a benefit when it comes to that. I think down-time is often key to feeling inspired, if you’re working too hard or not taking time out to just read a magazine, it’s hard to find that creative energy. I actually recently finished a 17-week course with a local upholstery company, Margate Design Collective, and I found that it really allowed me to switch off and use my hands for 3 hours a week.
We believe pieces and objects can transport you to different places – obviously with Kalinko, we hope people feel like they have a piece of Yangon in their homes. Do you have any pieces of your own that do that for you? Where do they take you?
I’ve collected so many trinkets on my travels and they’re all displayed proudly in my home. I have mementos from Marrakech, Palma, Berlin, Paris, Milan. I love it when things can take you to a specific place or moment in your life and it’s something that really attracted me to Kalinko in the first place. I almost feel like I've been to Yangon through seeing the processes and feeling the finished products. Wrapping the pieces in local newspapers is another genius move from Sophie.
Where do you feel most at home?
Wherever George, my pooch, is!
Favourite room in your house?
Probably our master bedroom
Go-to song for a morning at home?
Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles
Kalinko piece you can’t live without?
Aside from my collection, the Rattan Ice Bucket is a party piece must!
Top country on your bucket list?
America - I’d love to do an American road trip.
Favourite global cuisine?