Redd Kaihoi By Design
Miles Redd from the acclaimed design duo explains how ugly ducklings, comfort, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor all inform their work
Miles Redd and David Kaihoi have worked together for more than a decade, but in 2019 they made it official—they became business partners, and the eponymous design studio Miles Redd, LLC, (established in 1998) changed its name to Redd Kaihoi.
What has thus far remained consistent is the duo’s unselfconscious love of resplendent residential interiors: walls painted or wallpapered in dramatic yellows, greens, blues, and reds; bold accent pieces; ubiquitous florals and animal prints; chinoiserie; and choice antiques and select contemporary furnishings.
Redd had spent a decade as the creative director of Oscar de la Renta Home, and Kaihoi switched to design while working as an art installer. During the last few years, they have honed their trademark style to produce a number of awe-inspiring residential spaces. In 2017, for example, they completed a San Francisco Bay Area family home in which they decorated the living room walls in light turquoise satin and upholstered the seating in silk velour and floral linen. Animal statuettes, fresh flowers, and paintings hanging from the front of recessed bookshelves add to the charm of the space.
For a Texas farmhouse, Redd Kaihoi put a playful spin on the living room display, which features a sculpted buck’s head instead of the more customary mounted hunting trophy. Another of the studio’s glowing achievements in recent years is the transformation of an attic in a Houston mansion. For this new “guest house within a house,” as Kaihoi calls it, the pair created a breathtakingly imaginative, eighteenth-century-inspired hideaway, complete with a “conservatory” (sunroom), bar, and screening room. Theater prop busts that emulate Roman sculpture take pride of place in the opulent, celebratory interior. Redd credits Kaihoi with a strong editorial sensibility, a talent for keeping only what’s necessary. It will be exciting to see whether the designers’ official partnership brings about any shifts in their joyous “more-is-more” approach.
The duo are among the one hundred contemporary designers and studios featured in By Design: The World's Best Contemporary Interior Designers, Phaidon’s new, detailed, in depth and beautiful survey. To celebrate the book’s publication, we sat down with Miles to ask him a few questions about how he and David create such impressive rooms.
Who or what were the inspirations for you when you began your career? I have always been inspired by people of great style. The list is too long, but to name a few: Cecil Beaton, Elsie de Wolfe, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Stéphane Boudin, Nancy Lancaster, Phillip Shutze, David Adler, Albert Hadley, and Bunny Williams.
How would you describe what you do? What do you think makes your sensibility unmistakeable? I really listen to my inner voice and try to be true to it. I am flattered you think my work is unmistakable, but I have always believed if you borrow from one it is plagiarism, and if you borrow from many, it is research. And I am not above plagiarism.
What are the key elements that you try to enhance, impose on, or invent in a living or commercial space? Comfort, beauty, and functionality with a bit of surprise or sense of fantasy.
What, for you, constitutes ‘a good space’ from which you can build upon? I love a sleeping beauty; it is more fun when the ugly duckling turns into the swan.
How do you set about personalising the home of a client – how do you make it their home, with their spirit, soul, and personality? We work very closely with our clients, and they make choices every step of the way, so in the end it is a deeply personal reflection of their taste.
How important is it that a space you create emotionally affects the client you design for? I want them to be happy—that, after all, is the whole point.
What you do is akin to art but it also has to answer to the client’s demands – how do you assimilate both of these things? From an artistic standpoint, you are as good as your clients, but I have been blessed with wonderful, adventurous clients who trust in the process.
How does experience affect your approach – what ‘extra’ does it give you? I am incredibly grateful that I have the luck to do what I love. It puts a spring in my step every day.
You can find out more about Redd Kaihoi's work via their site, here. To find out more about By Design, a richly illustrated, authoritative global survey of the best and most creative interior designers and decorators working today, go here.