When a fresh face landed on the summer cover of Arizona Luxe Magazine I knew I had to find out more about Kylie Wolfe. Talented and bubbling with creative energy, with a background at a successful San Francisco design firm, Kylie is eager to leave her stamp on the Phoenix design scene with her new firm Wolfe Studios. In a chic conference room at The McKinley Club we sat down to chat about her style, making design more accessible, and her love for moody art. Enjoy.
What excites you most about starting a business in Phoenix?
Arizona is so much more approachable. Though it’s slipping away because it’s becoming really cool and more expensive, it still feels accessible. It’s not as intimidating as San Francisco, New York, or LA where it’s saturated with a lot of talented creatives that all have a similar vision. There are a lot of possibilities here!
What’s the design/style difference between Phoenix and San Francisco?
Space, first of all. People were spending a lot of money on really small spaces. I did built-ins in pretty much every design job because everyone needed to optimize every square inch. Color-wise, everyone wanted blue and gray there. I mean look at the landscape – it’s foggy and grey. Here, hardly anyone wants that. It’s mostly warm tones all the way.
Speaking of color, what do you gravitate to and what do you see coming?
Have you ever gone on a run near a beach where there’s a bunch of dried brush? That! All of the colors I like are rooted in nature, various shades of sage, tans, ochres, and pinks (but not too pink!). I don’t like anything too bright. I like to pair different colors together but their undertone is the same – very earthy. Rust is very much here and we should see a move toward darker, natural colors – like olive greens and aubergine.
What is the vibe of your home right now?
It’s extremely calm. I am not afraid of color but I decided that my home is not the place for it. My house is adobe style so it’s white walls, wood cabinets, and tumbled stone. It’s very natural and light. I wanted it to feel like a place I could exhale, nothing too loud. I do love moody art so I have a super dark art piece in pretty much every room.
Can you share some of your favorite artists?
I love this artist name Addie Chapin . All of her stuff is so me – large, dark, complex. I love Tyler Guinn. Paul Meyer is another one. I found him at Roundtop. His pieces are so cool.
What would you like to see more of in Phoenix?
I’d love to see people take more risks and do something custom, more technical. It’s a lot of work so that’s why a lot of people don’t do it, but it’s what elevates design. I’d also love to see more preservations versus things just getting demolished. Think about what will this city look like in 50 years. Phoenix is so new and we don’t have a ton of stuff to preserve, and some of the things that we do have to preserve are just getting torn down. Age and good architecture are charm and people pay for that.
I love that someone can have design guidance starting at $500. Tell me more about your Starter Kit.
I was having a lot of people reach out for smaller projects and didn’t have the resources to onboard them for such a quick project, so I came up with the Starter Kit. This is essentially a way for me to help people out and get them set up so they feel confident and excited about the direction of their home without having my full involvement. It’s for people that are ready to start investing in furniture and their space and want to have a roadmap on how to put it all together. It includes a consultation, a floor plan with dimensions, a design board, a Pinterest board with ideas for furniture that matches the design board, and a little write-up on why. It’s a small investment to get this big vote of confidence and be able to execute on their own.
What are some of design formulas you use?
Always vintage. When it’s all new it feels too shiny and polished for me. I will do modern and brand new but I always have to put something vintage in to give it personality. For example, if I use modern furniture that’s shapely and modular, I’ll use a primitive bench. It adds something unexpected and starts conversation in a room. If I have a really light and bright house, I will do a dark and moody piece of art. I am also a fan of mixing pieces and textures. The more textural and different things are next to each other, the more interesting a room gets.
Tell us about your favorite places
Well, eating and drinking everywhere is good! Valentine I’d say is at the top of the list. I’ll meet people there for business in the morning and meet friends there for cocktails. It has such a cool vibe.
I love Local Nomad. The owner is the best and I love what they carry. For a great showroom, I love MADE. Also, First and Last has the best martini I’ve ever had.
What does good design mean to you?
It’s an effortless reflection of the person dwelling in that space. One should walk into a space and feel differently. It’s comfortable and a safe space to recharge. Good design is not esthetic, it’s emotional.
Written by: Ruth Price