David Kensington: Balancing Comfort and Sophistication

David Kensington started out as an architect, and today he also owns a construction company, but he is perhaps best known for designing high-end residential interiors. Since launching Kensington & Associates (davidkensington.com) 10 years ago, he has amassed an impressive list of clients with homes in some of San Francisco's toniest neighborhoods, as well as the Peninsula, Monterey and the Wine Country.

His most recent project is the living room of the San Francisco Decorator Showcase, which is open to the public through the end of the month. The classically designed space - with its soothing palette of cream, green and apricot - is a perfect balance of comfort (a pair of tufted sofas) and sophistication (antiques and modern art).

Although Kensington enjoys participating in the event in large part because it benefits the scholarship program at University High School, it's also "an opportunity to design in a fun, fast-paced environment," he said. Major renovations and new construction are the norm for his firm, which means most jobs last three to five years. "This is just straight decorating, which we usually don't get to do until the end of a project." (decoratorshowcase.org)

One of Kensington's favorite aspects of the design process is the interaction with clients. "It's nice to guide them down the path, educate them about what great architecture looks like, take their ideas and expand on them or make them better than they can express," he said.

The Kensington Cheat Sheet

On good design: "Create a home that is true to the architectural tradition it represents. Whether classical or modern, all good design must suit both the architecture of the house and the lifestyle of those who inhabit it."

Local talent: "Aedicule Fine Framemaking provided extraordinary finish details at the 2010 Showcase. The owners, Peter Werkhoven and Mark Guthrie, are contributing columnists to several publications and offer consultations to the retail and accessories industry. They also conduct seminars, encompassing the history of frames and elements of the frame-making craft. Peter attained the skills of master framemaker in his native Amsterdam. Mark has been a notable resource in the industry since 1978." (aedicule.com)

The Paris review: "I frequent Paris several times a year and when on highly focused buying trips, seek out the rare Art Deco collections to be found at Anne Sophie Duval. Located on the Left Bank off the Boulevard St. Germain, she features the best of Art Deco and Art Nouveau - including the work of Jean-Michel Frank. The noted French interior designer was known for minimalist interiors decorated with plain-lined but sumptuous furniture made of luxury materials, such as shagreen, mica and intricate straw marquetry." (annesophieduval.com)

Essential architectural principle: "Enfilade is the idea of creating a visual journey that draws you further into a space and ends with a completion - a kind of visual reward. This is a highly effective way of creating a compelling design experience to move you through spaces that are evocative of different moods and invite different gatherings. I employ this principle as a rule, to further highlight the architectural purity of a space."

Courtesy of  Anh-Minh Le/SFGate

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/05/07/HOU31D6FHI.DTL#ixzz0nMGUiSme


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