Designer Profile: T. K. Wismer

If you were impressed by this year’s Monogram booth at KBIS this year, thanks go to T.K. Wismer who designed the space. She honed her expertise in design as a set and wardrobe stylist, breathing life into commercials, television, and photography. T.K’s work has been featured in publications including Southern Living, HGTV magazine, Better Homes and Gardens as well as several television and commercial campaigns.

SRFD: How did you become interested in design?

T.K.: From an early age, I always had a desire to see new designs and to imagine what a space could be. I was the kind of kid that had to go to the bathroom everywhere we went just to see what it looked like, and it was pretty common for me to organize and rearrange my friends’ rooms. Magazines were my ultimate entertainment and I would get lost for hours in the pages of my mom’s Southern Living, Vogue or Architectural Digest. We also moved a lot, every three months or so with the horse industry, and we were constantly setting up a new home and trying to work with what we had to create a comfortable space. All of that exposure to different regions, floorplans, and styles led to my insatiable appetite for creativity and change. I eventually made my way to set and wardrobe design for commercials and television and from there started on residential and commercial interiors.

SRFD: A trend you’re excited about?

T.K.: I am really excited to see darker, moodier tones emerging in kitchen and bath designs. Bright white spaces are classic and versatile for sure but darker tones are more soothing to me and I love the way they change throughout the day and look really dramatic in the evening. I also love the mixing and matching such as two-tone cabinetry and mixed metals for a few reasons, it creates a layered effect that is visually appealing and looks as though things were gathered over time or collected in a way. To me that is what makes a home interesting, a chance to see someone’s personally curated collection. The variations help show-case their unique identity. Mixing and matching is also a more sustainable approach to design. Trends come and go so fast, instead of throwing everything out and starting fresh, I like to integrate some new with the existing elements that might still be in great shape.

SRFD: A trend you are over?

T.K.: I like to think of trends in terms of food, they are cravings and as soon as you satisfy one, something else takes hold. There are picky eaters and picky designers and I consider myself neither, so I hate to even say this because this particular trend has helped so many find a style identity and that is really our goal as designers, to influence others and empower their choices but here goes: I am over the Farmhouse look. It has been such a big theme over the past two years and I can appreciate the charm but I personally do not see myself craving shiplap or corrugated metal, or rustic wood for a while at least. I am also growing weary with white on white spaces unless you have an art collection to rival a Manhattan gallery, they just leave me wanting more. Also, a little trend in accessorizing I have seen creeping around lately on social media and in store displays is books being shelved backward so that the pages show instead of spines. I cannot get on board with this; I can’t suspend my disbelief to the point to imagine a real person who would want to organize their books in this manner. Not to mention, books are some of my favorite décor items for the color and texture they add as you will see in several of the designs I did for the Monogram space at KBIS.

SRFD: Tell us about the Monogram booth at KBIS?

T.K.: For the Monogram booth, I wanted to create a kitchen that has vintage appeal married with modern technology. The look reminds me of a French bistro with the soft blue and green tones in the cabinetry topped with white marbled quartz counters. I wanted the colors to look like patina to communicate old world charm. I chose the brass lanterns and hardware that you would see on an antique icebox as a nod to where we began while the sleek Monogram appliances showcase how far we’ve come in kitchen and appliance design. Again, it goes back to my love of mixing old with new. The mother of pearl wallcovering adds a touch of elegance to the space and has a beautiful texture. The accessories are from Louisville Stoneware in my hometown and represent hand crafted details that are both attractive and highly functional. The look of the kitchen is classic with a simple, approachable elegance. I can imagine rolling out pastry dough or canning fresh vegetables in that space. I wanted it to be beautiful, comfortable, and hard-working.

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