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INSIDE THE HOME OF PHOTOGRAPHER AND STYLIST, KARINE KONG

29/01/2019

Founded in 2007 the Bodie and Fou blog is now one of the UK's top 10 Best Interior Blogs and is best known for its effortlessly stylish French chic interiors and fashion. Karine shares her unique style and adventures in design, fashion, travel and well-being and has recently completed her latest project - her kitchen makeover.

We are thrilled to share with you Karine's remodelled kitchen, featuring Smeg appliances.

"For the appliances on display like the ovens and hob, I chose Smeg for the simple reason that I’ve always loved the brand design especially the classic range designed by Architect Guido Canali." - Karine Kong.

With over 10 years experience in interiors, we took the opportunity to ask Karine a few questions about her sources of inspiration, her new Smeg kitchen and what's next on her renovating list.

Smeg: What really sparked your interest in interior design?
Karine: I grew up in France in a home filled with interior design magazines. My mum had stacks of them, more than women magazines so I was exposed from a very young age to modern interiors. Added to my passion for photography, I developed an eye I guess and I pride myself in seeing the potential of a rundown building and how we could transform it into a beautiful living space. My mum was also very good at making things and had great taste so we always had really nicely decorated homes. By the time I went studying in Bordeaux and lived alone in my first studio, interior design was second nature but it was really when I came across the work of French Interior Designer Jacqueline Morabito that I decided to make it my work.

How would you describe your signature style?

Effortless, simple, minimal and welcoming. I design homes with happy vibes.

How does the French lifestyle differ from your home in London?

It's a slower pace and a more appreciative one I think. We have chickens now so fresh eggs, a large garden with lots of birds and we are very close to the beach, which is known for having a positive impact on mental health. Well-being has become a priority of mine and this has also impacted how I have re-decorated our home with more natural fabrics, softer, warmer natural colours. Having a beautiful, easy-to-clean kitchen with lots of storage not only reduces stress but it also means that I enjoy a lot more spending time in the kitchen. In fact, since the renovations, the kitchen has become my favourite room and is fast-becoming my own smoothie laboratory.

How important are good quality materials and finishes when it comes to renovating?
Very. Renovations are stressful enough without having to go through them a few months later because you cut corners and tried to save a few ££££. In our kitchen, we fitted a beautiful worktop in Silestone by Cosentino which has given our affordable IKEA kitchen a high-end look. It's like in fashion, when you mix Zara with a piece designed by Phoebe Philo for Céline.

What attracted you to singling out Smeg appliances for your kitchen makeover project?
I've always loved Smeg designs. I fitted Smeg Classic appliances in the first flat I owned in Stoke Newington (North London) fifteen years ago. At the time, I designed an Ikea kitchen with a solid oak worktop and stainless-steel kitchen units. I also used Smeg when we renovated our home in France twelve years ago and when it came to re-designing the kitchen to fit our needs, the Smeg Classic was the one I really wanted. It has a timeless design and the knobs are designed by Guido Canali - who has a very distinctive style.

How do you integrate latest fashion & design trends, along with things you've seen on your travels into your work?

What I take the most from my travels is a feeling, a sense of well-being. How what I see makes me feel and if it makes me happy, if it visually pleases me then I will aim to duplicate it at home. I'm a bit wary of trends. I think last year the colour of the year was purple and that's one colour you will never ever see in my home. I'm attracted to modern art, simple, modern lines and materials with integrity which for me are linen, cotton, concrete, wood, steel. I stay away from plastics at home, this means that I would rather have a couple of beautiful stonewashed linen duvet covers than five cheap cotton ones. I make choices for my home based on quality but also on how they awake my senses (tactile or visual). If it is something I enjoy looking or touching, then I will take it home.

What's the next exciting project planned in the pipeline?
Finishing the bathroom and then build a deck at the back of the house with an outdoor shower so we can shower outside when we are back from surfing.

Click here to see Karine's blog post on Bodie and Fou.
You can also click here to another blog post on Bodie and Fou, featuring Smeg appliances.