Christopher Kennedy Design
Michelle Pastor & Christopher Kennedy
Michelle Pastor and Christopher Kennedy describe themselves best: “We’re still individuals. We’re just two individuals who have come together because we like the back and forth. We love the creative process of two minds coming from two different directions to make one.”
The energy between them is one you can feel. Pastor will come up with a larger-than-life idea while Kennedy is placing the details of a vignette. Pastor swoons over masculine elements — leather, cowhide, dark sultry colors — yet Kennedy has an eye for delicate beauty and fine architectural lines. Their energy is also a visual one, with rooms that appeal on layers of levels. “Having someone else there to bounce ideas off of helps our work,” Pastor says, and Kennedy nods approvingly. “It ends up being an academic pursuit,” he says. “And the client gets a
better result because of the synergy between our ideas.”
Kennedy’s background includes a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Drury University, as well as an MBA. He worked for a time doing marketing and design for Disney World, which he says gives him an eye for theatrics. Pastor has lived and worked in New York and Los Angeles, having studied fashion at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising before being inspired to transition that love to interior design.
In a unit they designed together at the Biltmore Colony, they wallpapered a bathroom — including the ceiling — for a jewel-box effect. “That look was big in the 1970s,” Pastor says. “Here, we took a small space and maximized every square inch of it.” But their idea of maximization doesn’t mean grabbing a showroom’s worth of beautiful things and stuffing them into one home. These designers thoughtfully select each item for the effect it will have on the overall livingscape. “It’s easy for a house to look ‘designed’ when it’s overfilled; it’s harder when it is restrained and tailored — but that is what we do,” Kennedy says.
Because there wasn’t an actual homeowner for the Biltmore project, this design team made up an imaginary client. The concept: If James Bond had a pied à terre in the ’70s, this is what it might look like. The thrill of finding one-of-a-kind, unexpected pieces that have a history and tell a story moves both members of this team, who usually starts their search on a local level. “We always love to shop Palm Springs. I’m big into shopping where we live and supporting local businesses,” Pastor says. “Why do we always have to go to L.A.?” Kennedy agrees. “Designers come from all over the country to shop our stores.”
No matter where they are shopping, they challenge each other and target their individual talents to create nuanced, enveloping spaces. Rather than focus on imposing a singular style, they aim to infuse each space with the client’s personality through a variety of materials, pairing exotic woods with stainless steel, for example. Kennedy says they design each space as “a beautiful backdrop for everyday life.”
Moving outside the realm of private homes, Kennedy and Pastor would love the chance to design a hotel — from the rooms and the bar to the restrooms and the pool. “Hotels are the new public spaces; they are where people are gathering now,” Kennedy says. The two designers believe the hospitality design of trendy hotels like the W is starting to influence residential design. “In designing a hotel, you get to think big and over the top. It’s a great venue for that,” says Pastor.
Christopher Kennedy Design
1492 East Baristo Road
Palm Springs, CA 92262
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