We came across interiors brand Kitty McCall on a weekend trip to Brighton in a treasure-trove independent design shop called Unlimited run by Sara Morrissey. Initially we spied a giclée print through the window one evening and it just spoke to us. I don’t think we’d ever seen something quite like it – so unashamedly playful and bold with colour confined in a neat little box print! The next step was purchasing it the following morning and then to find more about this UK-based designer…
Catherine (‘Kitty’) Nice (Kitty McCall is named after her grandmother) describes herself as ‘a colour addict, with a passion for print and pattern’. Kitty’s work is multi-media from hand-drawn, pen and ink, watercolours, paper cut outs to photographs. Employing different techniques, from clean graphic lines to painterly, this love of colour is very evident from her home!
If you visit her website it is an explosion of colour which invigorates the eye immediately. From prints, cushions, cards, fabric, poufs and fabric letters there is so much to tempt the imagination. We grabbed some time with this exciting designer to see what makes her tick:
Kitty, your work is bold, colourful and refreshing. There is an obvious love of colour; why and how have you developed these palettes for your work?
I love to collect colour inspiration from a variety of sources. I always carry a sketchbook that I fill with tear sheets and I also have a jar full of coloured fabric. When I’m coming up with a new palette I pin things together and work out what I like together. Once I pick a palette I leave it and come back to it with fresh eyes to see if I still love it… if I do I know it’s a keeper!
Some people worry about using print and pattern in interiors, have you developed your confidence by using it in your work or were you born with an ease with more challenging designs?
I have always loved print and pattern and I find using it comes naturally. Print adds depth to a home. My favourite patterns are asymmetrical because they draw the eye in; you see something different every time you look at them.
What brands or designers inspire you most and why?
I tend to look at artists for inspiration, I particularly love the colour and pattern in the work of Henri Matisse his pieces are so full of life. I also love the geometric forms of Varvara Stepanova and Sonia Delaunay.
[L-R Sonia Delaunay, Henri Matisse & Varvara Stepanova – this artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles].
Your work is graphic and modern but what about eco? How important do you feel responsible practices are to the work you put out?
All my prints are proudly printed in the UK using vegetable based inks and FSC accredited matt board. I try to use local suppliers where possible to minimise my carbon footprint.
Your brand has undoubtedly developed organically through your experience and successes but where would you love to be five years from now and why?
I would love to work on some more collaborations with other designers and artists and expand my stockists throughout the UK and eventually worldwide!…
It’s no wonder Kitty’s work provided the inspiration for the renovation of our sons’ room as when we bought our little print home it was an explosion of colour just waiting to escape! Two boys aged 3 & 1 share the smallest boxroom in our beach bungalow so whilst we had to keep it bright, uncluttered and functional it also needed to be playful to engage their imagination.
Kitty sent us bold fabric letter initials for our two sons and this (along with the print) was the catalyst for the entire scheme. Geometric was in!
We painted colourful triangles on one wall to create impact and playfulness. This was inexpensive and quick to do using sample pots from the brilliant Little Greene company and some masking tape.
We upcycled a practical but unattractive pine unit that had lots of small drawers perfect for their little (but numerous) clothes! We limed the exterior and broke out the masking tape again to add some geometric accents to the handles using copper spray and Little Greene colours from the triangle scheme.
The boys love patting the triangles and our eldest counts or calls out the colours whilst lying on his bed. Small impacts of bold colour are evident around the room so whilst it’s light, white and bright, there is plenty to keep the interest! Further colour and interest is generated from colourful bookcovers in the display bookshelf, the Snowpuppe origami gold chestnut lamp (more on that clever lot next week!), Donna Wilson fabrics, Kay Bojesen wooden animal, Miller Goodman Shapemaker blocks and a Fiona Walker England elephant head (everyone needs one of these!). Fiona Walker’s philosophy it is to ‘invest in craft and the livelihood of artisans, sourcing sustainable materials and ensuring items are ethically produced in the principles of fair trade’. Something we can all agree on being a great thing.
So, it just goes to show that you shouldn’t be afraid of colour and shape – it can enhance your enjoyment (and sense) of space. It can lift your mood and provide a sense of playfulness in the home. Thank you Kitty for that valuable lesson – you are one clever lady!
Kitty takes on private commissions so do check out her website for further information. She’s also on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram so if your life and social media feeds need a pop of colour then get adding now!