As we reported a couple months back, HGTV’s own Property Brothers, Jonathan and Drew Scott, are ahem, cleaning house once again in our own homey hub of Westchester on their spinoff series Buying & Selling with the Property Brothers. And for a bit of local cred, the show’s producers recruited Larchmont-based KAM DESIGN founder Kim Mitchell as the duo’s Design Lead for several episodes.
While Mitchell herself isn’t featured on-camera, the designs for the spaces are the ultimate stars of the show, notwithstanding our favorite twin TV hosts. But don’t be fooled by the glitz and glamor of the finished product. Mitchell assures us that el fin comes together only after a whole lot of intensive planning. Transforming five spaces in just six to seven weeks (plus a three-to-four week prep period before renovation starts), Mitchell gets her hands dirty in everything from early renovation strategy to a final couple of days “where I basically live at the home to [ready] them for reveal,” she says, describing the time as feeling like an “overdrive, fast speed train.” Comparing the work to an intense, no-time-to-think game of Jenga, she laughs, “I disappeared when I was working on [the episodes].”
But the can-do, all-for-one energy on set, a spirit fostered mainly by the namesake siblings themselves, made the experience more than worth it. “They’re lovely people,” Mitchell says of the Scott brothers. “The viewers at home love that banter between them, and it really is alive and well.” They also help “everyone feel like part of the team,” she affirms, like when producers questioned whether a deep navy blue Mitchell had chosen for an office would work well on-camera. “[Jonathan] was really supportive,” she remembers. “I think he saw what I explained was my vision, and how it would pop, and at the end of the day this room handled this deep, rich color very well.”
Such expertise make Mitchell the perfect candidate to grill for a few tips on how to animate a space with fall just around the corner. Here were her best pointers on how to outfit your home for autumn, regardless of whether it will be seen by millions or merely lived in by those closest to you.
1. Trek to a Tech Shop: “Technology is really changing the design world,” Mitchell says. “There are innovations like 3D laser and cutting processes that have changed how artists, and even manufacturers, create products.”
2. Light Up Your Home: “LED lights have allowed manufacturers to create these tiny lights that can be embedded in fabric, or even in wallpaper,” she explains. “It’s those kinds of products that are innovative, maybe not trendy, but will change things over time about how we look at materials and how we can incorporate them into our designs.”
3. Handcrafted All the Way: Citing the election, the summer Olympics, and record-breaking stints of Hamilton on Broadway, Mitchell says, “There is this sense of national pride, and I think that makes a difference in how people think about buying products. There’s a bit of thoughtfulness of not necessarily buying mass-produced items. I’m finding my clients really appreciate having something in their home that they know was handcrafted by an individual artist or a group of artists that come together to create.” She recommends Larchmont’s own Kenise Barnes Fine Art and Flower.n, plus Hubbardton Forge, Harlem Built, and Foundry Wood as killer options for unique homey pieces.
4. Don’t Neglect Your Outdoor Spaces: “In architecture and design, the outdoor is always connected with the indoors,” Mitchell reminds. “I think it’s wonderful, when you have weather that is agreeable, that you try to connect the two spaces. Even a front door, I’ll select a color that then will connect to the foyer colors and design, that then will connect to the other rooms. There’s things that you can do that are very simple on the outside, like having large vessels with plants [to] help create certain barriers or delineating, ‘This is the play area,’ and a dining area in front of that. I sometimes use my indoor furniture outdoors, even if you’re going to have people over and just want the space to flow a little more.”
Mitchell’s final episode as a Buying & Selling consultant airs Wednesday, Aug. 31 on HGTV. Look out for more fruits of her collaboration in new episodes of Property Brothersâ€‹, coming in 2017!