Yumi Kagamihara is a designer and yoga practitioner who integrates color, design with intention, artistry and focus. At Modwalls, we believe that color and form merges well with function in an aspirational approach to living, so we were excited to talk with her about her approach to design and living well with color.
How did you come to Interior Design?
I started my career in the financial industry as a programmer back in Japan. In 1997, I moved to the United States and, after finishing graduate school in Texas, I worked in NYC as a business analyst/project manager for financial firms. While in NYC, my husband and I were thinking of relocating or finding a vacation home. So we purchased a new construction home in Tampa FL. We were allowed to choose different materials, paint colors and so on. That fascinated me. Even though I was working in the finance and technology area, I had always been very interested in the arts. The first class my parents took me to was a drawing class. I loved coloring and creating ‘crafty’ things. As a child, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I answered “designer”. Back then I did not know what type of designer, of course!
After more than 10 years in the financial industry I was considering a career change and possibly owning my own business – even though I still enjoyed my career in finance and technology. I researched and decided to enter New York School of Interior Design (NYSID) while still working full time. I took one class first to see if I would like it. Then slowly I took more classes to see if I could complete all the design projects. Most of the NYSID faculty members owned architecture or interior design firms. Before graduating, I received a job offer from my teacher who is principal of the architecture firm, JGArchitect. That was it! My design career started. After relocating to Kirkland WA, I started my own firm, Hatano Studio, LLC in 2009.
How did you come to yoga and why did you want to teach it as well as practice it?
I actually started yoga not so long ago in 2009. I would have never thought I would do yoga because I was not born flexible! After over 2 years of practice, I took the teacher training program to gain knowledge about yoga including history, philosophy and anatomical aspects of postures. I decided to teach as a continuation of my learning process.
Since yoga means union, how do you bring that to your yoga practice and your design work?
In yoga practice, we always try to feel or direct prana (life force). I like the openness and flow happening in my mind and body when I practice.
The same for interior design: I want the space to flow, not to be forced. When the space is right, I think we can be healthier, think clearer, and be happier.
As a yoga teacher, I prepare the sequence of moves or postures for class. I want this sequence to be challenging, interesting, and beautiful. Ultimately I want students to feel good in their body and mind. Unnecessary things may need to be removed. Simplifying may increase their end results more. This similar process happens during my design process.
Are there other elements of yoga philosophy that you apply to design?
One of my favorite methods/ideas in Yoga Sutra by Patanjali (one of the foundational texts of yoga) is “Kriya Yoga”. It consists of three words: self-discipline or passion, self-study, and surrender. You apply self-study, discover your own traits, boundaries, or areas where actions are needed. You need desire and discipline to practice or change things. You try your best but are not attached to the outcome, simply letting go or surrendering. It is not only in design, but I try to apply this throughout my life,
You wear some pretty colorful and stylish yoga gear. How important is color in your life?
I enjoy coordinating colors in my yoga wear. Depending on my mood, I pick different colors every day.
The combination of colors creates different synergy. That makes me happy!
The good thing is that clothes are not permanent so you can be as bold as you want to. On the other hand, tile colors are difficult to change daily. ;)
How do you use color in your design?
Colors are very personal and impacted by the environment, especially the sun. I like many different colors. Some clients will give me a strong vibe for a certain color or color scheme. I will explore that.
I like color to be united and each one has a role to play in the whole.
If someone is new to yoga, or wanting to start a new renovation, what advice can you offer them?
Find a good guide! Having a great yoga teacher who is knowledgeable of the philosophy, tradition, anatomy and postures can enhance your whole experience. It takes time and patience to identify the teacher, but it is critical if you really want to deepen your practice.
The same goes for renovation. Finding a good guide, interior designer or architect will elevate the quality of your finished product. They can provide an analytical explanation and technical guidance to achieve your goal – favorite space.
Modwalls wants to know about your passions and how they involve color and design so let us know!
Kylin O’Brien is an artist and a healer who LOVES color. As a healer, Kylin specialized in Reiki, Feng Shui and Detoxification. At Modwalls, we love color, design and living well, so couldn’t wait to talk with her about how color can affect and transform people’s lives.
“As most of us know, each color has its own frequency at which it (light) moves through space,” states Kylin. “As such, humans are impacted by, or feel, each of the colors differently. They are incredibly powerful. I work with color as an artist obviously, but also in my Reiki practice, and certainly when implementing Feng Shui.”
WHAT IS FENG SHUI, YOU ASK?
Feng Shui is an ancient art and science that developed in China over 3000 years ago. It is a way to create space in your home that reflects your aspirations and vision for who you are and where you want to go. Kylin uses a variety of tools for generating a greater sense of well-being.
“Feng Shui positively affects your sense of control and self-esteem – how well you work, how you approach work, and how well you rest. It can also improve health, clarity of mind and communication. In Feng Shui, color is one of the main tools we use to create harmony and inspiration.”
When working with a client or a designer, Kylin’s approach is simple: listen, collaborate and then use great materials to create the effect you desire.
“Depending on the way you want a room to feel (soothing, inspiring, romantic, contemplative),” continues Kylin, “you can use different materials to elicit the tone. How smooth or luxurious or clean a table, counter top or desk should feel, totally depends on each room’s purpose and the individual’s needs. There are rules, but within those rules, what is important is very personal.”
THE ART OF LIFE
Most of Kylin’s work as a visual artist is concerned with contemporizing ancient and enduring themes. She is able to take broad strokes and make them specific and personal, so that the individual is reflected in the collective experience.
“I am interested in the human condition, our consistent priorities, and what brings us fulfillment.”
Her holistic wellness practice is concerned with the same issues. She explores what creates health and happiness, and how to maintain a sense of wellness – regardless of the circumstances.
“What is that elusive well-being?” She asks. “It is my calling to help unpack that question and reveal the subtlety of what works.”
WHICH BRING US BACK TO COLOR
“There is no escaping color.” Kylin emphasizes. “Color is a tool, and a powerful one at that. To live well with color, all we need to do is become mindful of it, learn about it and harness its power to make it work for us.”
To see how color can transform your life, visit kylinholistic.com. All Modwalls’ clients and friends receive a 15% discount off her services if booked before April 1st, 2015. Just use the code: MODWALLS.
Kylin has studied Herbal Medicine, Detoxification, Eastern and Western Philosophy, Meditation, Visualization, Reiki, Divination, Feng Shui and Art. She holds a degree in Philosophy from Vassar College and Tibetan Studies from the School for International Training, in addition to a degree in Contemporary Creative Practice from Leeds Metropolitan University in the UK and has completed a full Transformation Advance with Neil Crofts.
How does color affect your life? Have you made a change in a room with paint or tiles or with your own personal style that involves color? We’d love to hear all about it!
Jessica and Amanda Salles of Salles Interiors are a design team based in Manhattan that are known to bring more to interiors than style, expertise and vision. Their relationship offers clients a unique experience that translates into interiors that deeply reflect the lives and tastes of the people living there.
“The work we do designing homes is very intimate. As sisters, we share a sense of humor and have a very natural, easy and real way to talk to each other. This translates to our clients in design meetings because they understand how we come to decisions.”
This transparency keeps their clients happy and worry-free. They know that their home remodel or renovation is more than just a job.
“Our clients often feel like family to us. Jess and I will often call each other in the evening thinking about a detail of a project. It’s great to have such a fantastic work partner who you also happen to love!”
YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL
This passion has served them well in a competitive Manhattan market, where time and space are at a premium.
“Our job entails listening to our clients so we listen carefully. We are solution-oriented. When space is so valuable, it’s a real ‘wow’ factor to have a bed that opens up to a storage place, or a wall unit with a bar that, by day, stores games and musical instruments and, by night, becomes a subtly lit ‘grown-up’ piece, with a hidden glass pull-out cocktail bar.”
Where space may not be such an issue, such as in Connecticut or Westchester, other client concerns may come into play, such as creating an elegant home that has kid-proof durability.
“Part of our philosophy includes sharing with our clients new products that allow a person to change the way she dreams about a space, like the amazing advances in stain-treated fabrics that allow a client to have that cream sofa she dreams about – even with those 3 year old twins!”
FREEDOM FROM SHOULDS
Since trends change, families grow, life’s demands and circumstances evolve, Salles Interiors approach is specific, fluid and personal.
“We like to ask our clients to think about the way they really live. Really live – and delete the word ‘should’. Are you getting a table that seats 20 because you think you should have it for the one holiday you host the family each year? You really don’t like to cook and you don’t enjoy formal dinner parties, Hmm…Maybe that room could be the yoga studio you always dreamed of, and you rent a table and chairs once a year for that holiday dinner! FREEDOM!! Jess and I think it’s part of our job to open up these kinds of discussions, as they relate to using the space in a smart, beautiful and fulfilling way.”
Amanda was doing a renovation of her own kitchen in Manhattan and since the kitchen opens to the living room, she wanted it to avoid elements that would give it a cold and clinical feel. In looking for tiles, she found Modwalls.
“We looked at a LOT of tile before choosing Modwalls’. We love that you can feel the hand-made aspect to it. It has just the right amount of texture – smooth enough to read clean and modern, and textured enough to look classic. We also love the depth of the glaze color. For my space, we wanted a deep grey and all the other tiles we looked at read as a cool grey that rendered the space as very flat and dead. Modwalls’ Carbon 2×8 American made ceramic tile has warm earthy-clay feeling to it. It’s absolutely beautiful.”
Jessica and Amanda believe that great product and great design come from great relationships.
“I appreciate customer service a lot. I was surprised to call Modwalls after my first order and be remembered! I got a sense that the person on the other end of the phone actually cared a great deal about the product. They were not just taking my order and slapping a shipping label on it. We also (can I say this?) really love dealing with women owned businesses!”
To contact Salles Interiors, email email@example.com or call 646-398-9963.
Have a design question or Modwalls’ story? Let us know!
Diane von Furstenberg knows how to Live With Color.
I mean really LIVE with, in, around and about color!
I’ve been watching her new reality show, House of DVF, about interns vying for a job as a Brand Ambassador for her fashion empire.
While I’m underwhelmed by the immaturity, and in-fighting of the interns, I’m in Love with the DVF brand and the brilliant woman who created it.
Diane von Furstenberg has been making women look effortlessly chic for years.
Her signature wrap dress is at home in every setting and on every woman. I’ve been a fan for as long as I can remember.
Watching this show is a master class on her joyous sense of color and print not to mention business and marketing acumen. The latest collections are bright and beautiful with unexpected mixes of colors and bold designs.
And her office is also bursting with color. Not in a cluttered way but in a way that makes me feel as if I could do my best work there.
Take for instance those woven cloth side chairs in her office at DVF HQ – Where can they be found? I’m on a quest.
The finale to the show is coming up. I’m rooting for Brittany if she can get her ego in check. We’ll see if it works out for anyone and if the company decides to do this show a second time. It seems like a big headache for the DVF team but certainly showcases the brand well.
What I’ve come away with is that Diane von Furstenberg is a fair and generous leader who is taking a bite out of the world in her own classy way. This woman knows how to Live With Color! And don’t we all want to do just that?