By Design: Redd Kaihoi, an Art-Forward Partnership

By Design: Redd Kaihoi, an Art-Forward Partnership

Mix one part fantasy with a heavy dose of glamour and sophistication and you’ve got a recipe for some of the boldest, most invigorating rooms in design today.
Mix one part fantasy with a heavy dose of glamour and sophistication and you’ve got a recipe for some of the boldest, most invigorating rooms in design today.
David Kaihoi, left, and Miles Redd, right, pose in front of their respective wallpaper designs for Schumacher. (Photo by Ryan Burke)

F ashion student, antiques guru, Oscar de la Renta alum. Miles Redd, the Atlanta native-turned-New Yorker whose trademark approach brings a quirky, cinematic quality to interiors, first met David Kaihoi over 15 years ago as an art installer. Quickly recognizing his talent, Redd scooped up the young Minnesota native to work at his firm. An artist and craftsman at heart, Kaihoi has no limit to where and how he applies his creativity: painting, drawing, sculpture, design and decoration. After 11 years of working together, Redd made him partner and renamed the firm Redd Kaihoi in 2019. The unabashedly fanciful spirit Redd brings to rooms is matched by Kaihoi’s graphic sensibility and knack for restraint, making every selection—including art from Sotheby’s Gallery Network—a pure surprise and delight.

When did you first become interested in design? Do you recall any early influences or specific artists that inspired you?

We all seem to be born with an internal compass that sets our course. When I look back, I can see the path began from an early age, but I must have been 20 years old before I realized art and design would be my life’s focus. Influences around that awakening included California expressionists like Diebenkorn and Voulkos, whose connection to nature and freedom of gesture felt accessible and inspiring.

How do you use art in your interiors? Are there any styles or periods that you gravitate towards?

The best of modern design incorporates art and design from all periods. To me, the art of interiors has to do with arranging that mix. For furniture and art alike, we like to group disparate pieces of similar quality; an 18th century French portrait, an enameled steel sculpture and a Chinese splash glazed jar, for example. It’s the variety of objects and curious materials that somehow give a room confidence and carry the eye around a space.

In the circular dining room of this luxe California home, Miles Redd chose a vibrant blue vintage chandelier to build the space around. The photograph (at right) is by Bert Stern. (Photo by Trevor Tondro)

Describe the artworks from Sotheby’s Gallery Network that stood out to you.

I selected three pieces that I could imagine working nicely in the same room: an abstract yellow painting by Howard Mehring with great depth and a soft sensibility, a strong and beautiful bronze nude from 1927 by Gaston Lachaise and an ink figure study by Richard Diebenkorn that has a suggestive landscape quality.

How do you usually help clients select artwork for their space? What does a designer or client need to consider when choosing artwork for their home?

Selecting art is a deeply personal endeavor. What looks incredible to one person may not do much for another. So we always follow a client’s interest and only buy pieces that we all LOVE. It’s primarily a gut instinct decision for what looks good and feels right. Often we are buying for a specific space, and know that we want something either bold and provocative or soft and atmospheric, but other times we are simply reacting to a piece and buying to build a collection of work that we know will find a perfect place. The bottom line is tuning in to your desire. If you feel the love, you will rarely go wrong…and it is worth the adventure, either way!

Could you describe your design approach in a few words?

To collect and live with things you love.

What was your process in creating this specific mood board?

We considered who might collect these specific pieces, and how they might live with them, i.e., if someone had collected these works, what else might they be interested in, and what might that environment look like? The material quality of the work suggests a love of texture and light and scale, all essential elements at play in these interiors.

A mood board of art-forward interiors that inspire Redd Kaihoi; including the late Bunny Mellon’s Oak Spring Farm Estate (top, left).

What is the aesthetic story that it tells? Who lives in this room?

These rooms are inhabited by edited individuals who have a deep sense of personal style. The rooms become complete environments where each element has been considered, however casual or severe.

Has your style changed or evolved throughout your career? If yes, what influenced this change?

Absolutely, one’s own style must always evolve. We seem to always be going through waves of collecting and purging. The best pieces remain, and the more fashionable pieces might be edited. COVID has been an interesting litmus test… I think we’ve all spent more time in our homes and with our stuff, and I have a sense there will be a spring cleaning like we’ve never seen before, HA!

What is your favorite room you have ever designed and why?

We recently decorated an enormous master bedroom in a historic Georgian house in rural Virginia. The room is generous enough to boast an 11' domed canopy bed on one end, and a 12-panel coromandel screen and 9' sofa on the opposite wall. All the millwork was painted a textured faux oak, and inset wall panels were covered in blush Chinoiserie wallpaper. It’s the grand scale of the room and the amazing collection of furniture and objects that make it an unforgettable space. But it’s the buzz of five children that brings the room to life. The room has become the family hub; homework and hangout. It’s that high-style fantasy and day-to-day reality that we are always trying to marry. To really live in the best rooms in the house!

Do you have a dream project you hope to work on? If yes, which artist/or artwork would you feature?

We are always excited about the next project and creating beautiful rooms, but frankly it’s always the personalities on the projects that become the dream.

Richly layered in art, Miles Redd designed the vibrant Beverly Hills home of collector Phillip Sarofim. The sunroom’s custom sofa is in an ikat stripe by Slightly East and the vintage Flemming Lassen armchair was purchased at Sotheby’s. (Photo by Trevor Tondro)

There’s no design era, color or combination that is off limits for Miles Redd and David Kaihoi, whose combined approach makes exploring every room a sheer adventure.

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