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Design Crush: Celerie Kemble

If crushing on your friend is an offense, call me guilty. My design crush on Celerie Kemble is growing all the time. Not only is she beautiful inside and out, her remarkable talent is surpassed only by her genuine kindness. Readers, you may remember that Celerie recently brought her extraordinary good taste to the master bedroom at The Christopher Kennedy Compound – but you will have to wait for the July issue of Luxe Interiors + Design for that full story.

Once in a while, I dream of a world where Celerie’s Palm Beach glamour and my Palm Springs modernism coexist perfectly in a chic New York townhouse. We would arrange tablescapes and design products all day. Since we have the same initials, we wouldn’t even need to get new towels.

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Alas, I don’t think that our respective husbands will go for it.

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Luckily, earlier this month, I got to spend a few hours with my talented friend at the High Point Market. After drinks at the fabulous Proximity Hotel, she gave me a private tour of her showroom and new line for Henredon Furniture. The prolific Ms. Kemble has created over 200 SKUs for Henredon and its sister line of decorative accessories, Maitland-Smith. Wow…did I mention that she has three kids?

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Celerie’s design projects do not evoke a specific period; rather she is known for a trained eye in how things mix together. True to form, she has created new furnishings that complement vintage and antique finds, both stylistically and scale-wise.

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Her line for Henredon features classic furniture shapes rendered in rosewood, walnut and mahogany woods (my favorites, naturally). Many of her pieces are wrapped in leather or embossed and adorned with gilt, eglomise, lucite, brass, and hair on hide.

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It is the perfect combination of Palm Beach glamour (her hometown) and New York sophistication, her current abode and where she runs the Manhattan office of Kemble Interiors, the firm founded in Florida by her mother, Mimi McMakin.

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As for bling, several of her decorative objects are adorned with iridescent abalone shell. “I let organic materials do the flash for me,” she remarks — and then adds, with characteristic Celerie compassion and wit, “After all, who would begrudge a mollusk a little flair?”
Can I just tell you that each piece is more fabulous than the last?

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If Celerie’s line has a theme, it is (in her own words) “exotic splendor.” With a wink, she admits that her latest collection exists just on this side of a Sportsman’s Lodge. Leather, abalone, and tortoise shell, oh my! Of course…befitting a worldly woman of brains, beauty, and style…she has created a feminine and rarified version of the exotic — and she has me completely under her spell.
Bravo, my fellow CK!
Yours truly,
Christopher