Given the Instagram outpouring of grief and disbelief final week upon information of the demise of British inside decorator and AD100 Corridor of Famer Robert Kime, aged 76, it’s pretty clear that he was worshiped—not too robust a phrase, methinks—by the world’s high abilities, a lot of whom may very well be thought of opponents. Among the encomiums they posted had been: hero, genius, grasp, trainer, legendary, inspiration, exceptional, nice, and esteemed. To many, his London store is a shrine, and his merchandise, from antiques to materials to wallpapers and extra, are nonpareil and aesthetically important.
Why? For one, Kime’s rooms had been as welcoming and as unassuming as the person himself. Even when he was tapped to shake up Highgrove Home for the Prince of Wales (apparently with the cheerleading of the long run Duchess of Cornwall), the outcomes had been heirloom-rich rooms by which anyone may really feel deeply comfy, in addition to gently stimulated. Ditto his work at Clarence Home, the royal couple’s London digs and one of many causes he was named a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order within the 2004 New Yr Honours. His worldwide commissions included vogue entrepreneur Tory Burch’s French nation home, which was featured within the March 2020 problem of The World of Interiors.
“Robert was a rare designer and one of the charming males on this planet,” Burch writes by way of e mail. “He was elegant in each sense of the phrase, and his eye for magnificence was merely unmatched.” Kime and Burch additionally labored collectively to create a material and wallpaper assortment based mostly on Japanese paperwork—and so they recounted its improvement on my former podcast, AD Aesthete. Burch provides, “I’ll miss my sensible, pricey pal.”
What Kimes’s interiors didn’t seem like was professionally adorned, which could puzzle many observers. They appeared assembled over time, informal even, and that overused phrase: soulful. His eye was unerring, from his well-heeled childhood in Hampshire onwards. Kime grew up amongst collectors, and he recalled, as a college pupil, having to dump household belongings to make ends meet when his mom and stepfather’s marriage fell aside. An abiding curiosity in archaeology and historical past adopted by way of his life, and a narrative is usually advised that, on the age of 18, he returned from a rough-and-tumble journey to Iran with two carpets so effective that a couple of professional was astounded that Kime had acknowledged their price at such a younger age—and managed to spirit them again to London while battling amoebic dysentery. A profession in antiques dealing was born, adopted by one in ornament.