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Last month I attended Kathryn M. Ireland’s Interior Design Bootcamp in Los Angeles.

That would be Kathryn the internationally known designer, NOT Kathy the former SI cover model.  One Hollywood exec said to me, “I thought you were talking about the model the entire time.  Alas, now our conversation has become less interesting to me.”  Too funny.  Gotta love Hollywood.

It would be hard to describe a packed four day schedule in one short blog post.  Overall, it was fantastic experience.  I was very impressed by Kathryn and her team, Jen, Rebecca, and Francesca.  I learned a lot and enjoyed meeting my fellow bootcampers.

There were only seven of us.  Six were in different stages of our careers. One bootcamper had a new house.  For her it was a good opportunity to see how a designer works.  Some bootcampers had degrees in Interior Design and their own showrooms, while others were self taught and just starting out.  It was a great mix.

If you watch the show MILLION DOLLAR DECORATORS or have read anything about Kathryn you know that along with being a talented textiles and interior designer, she’s a fantastic host.  We met some heavy hitters in the business and it says something about Kathryn that everyone she introduced us to was warm, and down-to-earth.

The workshop was organized (binders, books, baked goods!)  We received excellent nuts and bolts information and advice about the business of design.   There were guest speakers who talked about the state of the industry, branding, product development, publicity, and social media.

We also visited several high profile showrooms with Kathryn, like Lucca, Nathan Turner, Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Peter Dunham, Christopher Farr, Jasper, Pat McGann, etc.

Martyn’s was our last showroom stop. He had drinks and quips for us.

There was down time too (and plenty of wine with meals). We went on a hike in Will Rogers State Park with sick views of the Pacific.  It wasn’t mandatory but a nice way to kick off a long day.  That day we visited  Kathryn’s print shop.  She opened it in Los Angeles instead of outsourcing the work.  The time it takes to hand print fabric is no joke and that’s why it’s expensive.

We worked on our mood/presentation boards for our projects with input from Kathryn and her team.  I wanted to pull my hair out as I tried to draw my floor plans by hand. Luckily for me, one of my fellow bootcampers was a kitchen and bath designer.  She talked me down off the ledge.

I can’t really say which highlight (there were many) of the workshop was my favorite.  I can say I returned to Rome feeling excited about the future and inspired.

For more information about future Bootcamps, check out Kathryn’s WEBSITE.

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Tonight (10/9c) is the premiere of Bravo’s hit decorating show (in the United States).

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any information about the international dates. Last season, it started to air in Italy a few months later on SKY’s Real Time channel.

It better air here this season.  I’m still salty about the E! Channel being dropped.  No more “Fashion Police”, “THS” or those great specials about murderous cheerleaders.

From what I’ve read and heard, there will be a greater focus on decorating/design this season.

Of course this is a reality program and there must be drama as well.  A TV series where everything goes well and everyone gets along all the time would be boring.

I hope they show more of Kathryn M. Ireland’s beautiful home.

I asked Martin Lawrence Bullard if he had a new catchphrase for this season. He does!

For more info about the show and to see clips, check out Bravo’s page HERE.

Those of us outside the United States cannot see the clips. Sigh.

Summers in France

Summers In France is a fabulous read.

Along with photos of gorgeous interiors, there are recipes, tips on how to be a gracious hostess and guest, and information about the amazing markets near Ms. Ireland’s summer home in the Tarn-et-Garonne region of Southwestern France.

I really appreciated the before and after photos.   Ms. Ireland has taken a rundown farm house and turned it into a wonderful home.

If you’ve seen Ms. Ireland on the show “Million Dollar Decorators”, you know she has a very vivacious personality.  This comes through in the book.  It’s clear she loves to entertain and to make her guests feel at home.

The house is beautifully decorated but there is nothing stuffy about it.  It’s not easy to pull off the combo of comfortable yet chic.  I’ve flagged quite a few pages in this book.

Sigh,  I cannot wait until I can have my own home in the countryside.

The Bravo show recently started playing in Italy on SKY Cable, channel 124 on Thursday nights.

I read about the show before it premiered in the States. Many wondered if a show with decorating budgets in the millions would appeal to the public during a recession.

I think they picked a great “cast.”  Some of the decorators’ comments had me on the floor.

“Decorating is totally delicious.”  I agree Mr. Bullard.

“Sometimes, I think my job is more important than the President of the United States.”  “That goes without saying.”  I can’t figure out if Jeffrey Alan Marks is just playing to the camera. (A friend who’s a set designer said he is.  She adores him and said he’s very talented).

“I have clients all over the world and I don’t get out of bed for less than a million dollars.”  Do your thing Ms. Ireland.

All reality shows have a villain, but this one (so far) doesn’t seem to have one.  The designers all know each other.   Some are closer than others, but it’s nice to see a lack of back stabbing in such a competitive field.

A few of the clients don’t come across as well.  Like the one woman who said upon meeting Kathryn that she had a MBA and a law degree so how hard could interior design be?  She quickly changed her mind after spending over $500,000 shopping in Europe only to realize she had no idea where to put anything.

Bullard client Joe Francis, the CEO of that wonderful contribution to society “Girls Gone Wild”, has a 13 million dollar estate in Mexico. The way he spoke to his household staff was out of control.  Perhaps he forgot the cameras were rolling?  Did he think was okay to use that tone because they’re Mexican?  I had some L.A. flashbacks listening to him treat people like dirt.  Like the Countess from RHONYC said, “Money can’t buy you class.”

What do you think of Million Dollar Decorators?

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