8 Questions With Bedford-Based Architect Carol Kurth
The architect and interior designer discusses using client-influenced design to reimagine a home from the outside in.
Celebrating the 21st anniversary of her eponymous Bedford firm, Carol Kurth Architecture PC + Carol Kurth Interiors LTD, Carol Kurth has been practicing in Westchester for more than 30 years. A Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, Kurth designed her Bedford home, Cliffwater, to be a modernist, passive solar house way back in the 1980s. Here, Kurth shares some thoughts on residential design.
Q: How would you describe your design philosophy?
A: Our designs are backdrops for living and inspirations for lifestyle.
Q: What inspires your work?
A: Architecture on all levels and scale, the site and location of a project, and the influences of the client—lifestyle, travel, collections—which I then interpret.
Q: Can you give us an example of how a client’s lifestyle influenced one of your projects?
A: Cloverhill Farm is a newly revitalized 21-acre estate located on a wooded landscape in Northern Westchester. It was purchased with a renovation in mind by an international couple with a passion for art. The original 8,000-square-foot house, built in the 1980s, was a very basic Colonial style with an Old World aesthetic ill-suited to the client’s modern lifestyle and taste.
Q: What specifically did your team do?
A: We reimagined the home inside and out, merging the clients’ relaxed, equestrian lifestyle with a modern, gallery-like aesthetic. We designed a complete exterior overhaul, including the addition of a garage, mudroom, entry court, and extensive landscaping. For the interior, we renovated the first-floor living- and dining-room spaces, re-envisioned the main staircase and designed a completely renovated master suite.
Q: What are the hottest design trends you’re seeing today?
A: For interiors, it's industrial modern, metallic and shimmering fabrics, the hotel-at-home lifestyle, luxurious lighting, and forms inspired by fashion and food.
The interior at Cloverhill Farm in Bedfor, one of Kurth's many fabulous design triumphs.
Q: What are some of your favorite new products or design elements for spring?
A: Wellborn + Wright has some fantastic reclaimed architectural surfaces, from rustic to modern; Jaw Woodshop makes fabulous custom reclaimed wood pieces, from tables to tabletop; and Vibeke Fonnesberg Schmidt’s Plexi & Brass chandeliers are incredibly fun.
Q: What’s your go-to or favorite color scheme?
A: A mix of neutrals, almost always involving grays in varying hues—warm grays that lean toward chocolate and cool grays that lean toward charcoal—with pops of color, white, or metallic accents.
Q: What are your best tips for unearthing treasures at tag sales, yard sales, antique sales, consignment shops, etc.?
A: Trust your instincts and go for it! You can always resell what you can’t use on eBay.