When we heard that interior designer Rita Konig was in the midst of gut-renovating her family’s beloved Victorian farmhouse in northern England, we couldn’t resist issuing her a Schumacher Challenge: Show us what “traditional” means to you. Her response? A thrilling guest room steeped in classic elements but unabashedly of the here and now.
It all started with the Pomegranate Print fabric. “I immediately wanted to cover everything in it,” says decorator Rita Konig, whose fresh, contemporary takes on design’s time-hallowed tenets have made her one of the industry’s most sought-after talents (her interiors for Los Angeles’s Hotel 850 have helped make it the new place to stay).
Konig recently tackled an overhaul of a farmhouse that’s been in her husband’s family for generations, and for most of the project walked a line between bold choices and respectful preservation. But for her Schumacher Challenge guest room, she indulged her wildest classic-with-a-twist desires, deploying pattern and color with masterful abandon. She leavened the main print’s trad-graphic spirit with a boho ikat and an offbeat stripe, and loosened up its moody, purpley-charcoal hue with cheery pinks and greens. “It’s surprising, but rooms with pattern are calming,” she says. “Pattern lets your eyes wander.”
One of the things that truly signals traditional for Konig is comfort, in the sense that something well-made—a sofa, a room—just gets better with time. “It beds in,” she says, “rather like a garden.” To her delight, she’s already glimpsed her guests gazing dreamily out the window and lolling in the chair with a good book—in other words, feeling blissfully at ease.
Konig looks to the past for inspiration, but is also constantly on the hunt for new ideas. It’s this duality that makes her work so exciting. “There’s so much to be influenced by,” she says. “How can you stick to the same old thing?”
Produced by Olivia Caponigro
TOP IMAGE: The bedside table is thoughtfully equipped for all of a guest’s comforts: flowers, a bottle of water, a dish for one’s jewelry, and both a sconce and a table lamp, in case “the wall light isn’t quite enough on a gloomy day,” says Konig. Upholstered walls in Pomegranate Print, headboard in Knox, Schumacher, fschumacher.com; handpainted lampshade on sconce by Lucy Cope, ritakonig.com; green heart pillowcase, D. Porthault, dporthaultparis.com.