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Design Union

Company K is a match made in home decor heaven

"We have similar taste," says Krista Tully of the style shared with her friend and now business partner, Kirsten Arrix. "We often show up at parties in similar outfits."

The New-Canaan based designers, properly known as Company K, each had previous careers outside of the design field. Tully was in finance and Arrix, in advertising and sales. Shortly after Tully left Wall Street, an opportunity presented itself. "My husband opened a beer garden in Stamford, and we got to do the interiors," she tells.

Arrix, who had been doing interior design projects in the domestic sphere for some time, was an obvious partner. Now, their similar styles and differing strengths--Krista, the business mind and Kirsten, the creative brain--completes the puzzle.

The balance found in their business partnership is similar to their design strategy. "We combine a lot of new and old," Arrix says. "An antique hutch with modern chairs, for example."

Company K prefers a neutral color palette of gray and zinc topped with an unexpected contemporary element. "Every room needs something fresh," Tully says. For their New Canaan Holiday House Tour project, that something was a dose of fur, feathers, wood and twine. "White feather boas with white balls hanging off is a modern, relevant, fun look for the tree," Arrix offers. The neutral palette, natural touches and modern twist is in keeping with the team’s more-permanent design projects.

Now that the boas and balls are back in their boxes, there's no sign of this pair slowing down. An array of residential projects and another restaurant design are on their "to-do" lists. Though corporate projects present certain challenges, such as the need for extra-durable materials, the designers insist their process is the same. "First, we sit down with the client and find out what they want and need," Tully says.

Tully and Arrix advise homeowners not to get too close to trends (though they're liking the industrial styles of late). "Something that works now has to work next year and in ten years," Arrix says. The team says the key to making the right investments is to find out how their clients live, entertain and use their space. Tully suggests a mix of price points. "Invest in a classic $10,000 sofa and accessorize with something industrial-trendy from Target."

Another way to add longevity to a space is to hold on to those family heirlooms. "We work with pieces someone holds dear to them. You can update an old table by mixing it in a room with fresh, new things,” offers Arrix.


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