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Design & Inspiration

Project Spotlight: Colorful Studio Cottage

By Kali |

Design: Yumi Interiors; Images: Michele Lee Willson 

Interior designer Kyoko Jackson filled her studio cottage with vibrant splashes of color using a blend of paint, textiles and our tile. Read on to learn more about Kyoko and see more of this charming space that's teeming with design inspiration: 

First, can you tell me a bit about yourself and your design firm? What type of projects do you typically work on?
I have a BS in textile design from UC Davis and I have a Masters in Interior Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). I started Yumi Interiors almost 2 years ago after working in San Francisco for Regan Baker Design and Niche Interiors. I work on a wide range of projects, from kitchen and bath remodels to designing in-law units (ADU’s) to decorating nurseries. I’ve found my projects are less about a specific design aesthetic and more about really listening to my clients. I try to channel their wants and needs and the things they love through what I know about space and visual design in order to create spaces that truly reflect their own unique, individual style.

Can you tell me about this home? Was this a remodel or renovation?
This home is a new addition built from the ground up. The project started as an update of the existing garage into a tiny house (280sqft), but as we worked on the plans and thought about the various goals for the space we decided it would be more effective with a larger footprint, so we demolished the existing garage and built a brand new cottage!

What was the overall aesthetic you were going for?
I think ultimately it’s things-Kyoko-loves aesthetic, ha ha. But if I were to give it a more conventional label it would be eclectic. I love color, I love whimsy but with a dark or odd twist (eg. the hand sconces in the bathroom and the monkey shelf brackets).

Tile Shown: 4 x 4 in Adriatic Sea

I’m very inspired by my time spent living and traveling in India, Southeast Asia, Japan, and Morocco. And I’m very influenced by my background in textiles, so color, pattern, and texture are hugely important to me.

When I was first thinking about the look and feel of the space I kept thinking it had to be this “perfect” space that epitomized “beautiful” design, so I was picturing a super clean, neutral, spa-like palette with white walls and light wood cabinets and white tile and light wood floors…and in my mind it looked beautiful but so boring! It was actually making me kind of depressed! And then I was talking to my parents one night and they were reminding me how much I love color and that this was my home.

They essentially told me to forget about making it so-called perfect or conventionally beautiful, and to just make it something I loved and that would bring me joy being in it. It was a total break-through and I threw all the clean, simple white out the window and went crazy with color, and the end result makes me so happy every day.

Let's talk about the kitchen first, what were your goals for this space?
The main goal for the kitchen is really the goal for the whole space: for it to be beautiful and inspiring. This sounds kind of silly, but when you’re working with a one-room studio that has to serve all the functions of daily life in the same room (except the bathroom), it’s much harder than it sounds.

I wanted distinct zones for different activities (living, cooking, dining, eating), but they all had to work with each other too. So the kitchen needed to be functional for mostly one but sometimes two people to cook in, and it had to look good and integrate with everywhere else in the room!

What made you choose the Ogee Drops in Celadon for the backsplash? Were there any other contenders?
It was the Moroccan pattern that drew me to the Ogee Drops—it’s such a beautiful, unique pattern. I wanted something different but not trendy and I think this pattern is really timeless. It also reminds me of the beautiful tile work I saw while traveling in Morocco a few years ago.

Tile Shown: Ogee Drops in White Wash 

Tile Shown: Ogee Drops in Celadon 

I was debating between Celadon and Loch Ness—I really loved the idea of a dark, moody backsplash tile—but my mom really loved Celadon so I let her choose because both options were beautiful and I knew it would make my mom happy to have the Celadon.

Now, onto the bathroom. What was your inspiration here?
Justina Blakeney’s master bathroom. I was always thinking of square tile wainscoting and in the shower, and I wanted blue because I love water and my dream was always a rich, dark, delicious blue. But when I saw her bathroom and the wallpaper I just said, I want that bathroom. So I basically copied it. You know what they say about imitation and flattery... *sheepish grin and shrug*

Tile Shown: 8" Hexagons in Adriatic Blue 

Tile Shown: Mini Star and Cross in Adriatic Sea 

What made you choose 4x4s? Were you debating between any other colors or shapes?
I initially was going to try and do the Mini Star and Cross on the floor (just like Justina), but it was too expensive so I just stuck with the 4x4’s. I did put the Mini Star and Cross in the back of the shower niche so I have a little touch of it still.

Tile Shown: 4x4 in Adriatic Sea 

How did the installation go? Did you face any challenges?
The kitchen was a bit of a challenge because it was so important to make sure every tile was perfectly plumb, otherwise the pattern would have gone wonky fast. It was also tough because the spacing for this particular pattern isn’t the same all the way around. Fortunately, my installer is AMAZING and did the most beautiful job ever.

Lastly, which shapes, colors or pattens are you hoping to use in future projects?
I’m crazy about your new Agraian Collection, I think in part because I grew up in Santa Cruz and I know exactly the fields you were inspired by (also, I’m always taking photos of those circles from the airplane).

I love the texture of your thin brick and would love to use them in a bathroom.

Brick Shown: Supernova 

And I really love your colors. I would still love to do something in Loch Ness, and the new Mustard Seed and Hunter Green hit all my buttons. 

Tile Shown: 2" Hexagons in Mustard Seed 

Inspired by this colorful cottage? Order color samples online now. Need some help? Simply call, chat or fill out our Design Assistance Form and one of our talented Design Consultants will get back to you shortly. 

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