Pictures: The transformation of restaurant Le Coq in Vurste.
As we bring up the idea of decorating other people's home, he reacts as sting by a bee: "No, that probably won't work. If I think about working for a real client, I can not see how that could work at all. It would mean I have to listen to their tastes, and work around that. And then take notes and rethink the approach - I would lose interest very quickly." It's probably why Kenneth doesn't want to be called an interior designer.
He is really a combination of a business-savvy entrepeneur with highly acquired taste. Combining those two worlds has given him the opportunity to follow his own path, instead of building his brand by doing interior designs for other clients. His brother Garret acknowledges: "Kenneth has never been any good with authority. He has a very strong opinion about how things should go, and the delicate process of managing client's expectations would be wasted time to him."
Kenneth finishes a phone call and is clearly annoyed. "Normally I would have a collection of exquisite wines ready for the launch, but they'll only deliver them by the end of the week. Now I had to pull some less than perfect wines from my own shelves. But look, we work with is available." As you are around Kenneth for a while, you notice that perfectionism is not an aftertought but a constant issue in his life. Two work men are following him around to adjust things to his command: "Can you hang that small painting a bit higher?", he says - and explains: "The light above the painting was not highlighting the story enough, people sitting at the table will definitely look at it - and I don't want them to pinch their eyes together to see what's going on. It's part of the experience, as it might spark a conversation and absorb people into the story. So you see, every small detail leads to an outcome. And that's what I'm after." It's clear that a lot of people wouldn't care for those kinds of details, as they'll probably shrug it off as not important enough, but to Kenneth it has merit. "It can be annoying, especially for me - but also for the people around me - as I can be quite anal about it." he laughs. While pointing his attention to three other paintings, he waives the two workmen closer. "Like for example those paintings over here. Guys, can you please take a measuring tape and calculate the height for all of them? They should all line up at the same distance from the top."
"I'm not an interior designer. Stefanie describes my profession in the best way I can imagine: I'm more of a creative thinker. I like to look at an empty space and get my inspiration flowing. After a period of thinking, I'm ready to put my ideas to action. So I gather objects and try them out in their new environment. I tinker with them until they fit the overall picture I had in mind.". He shows us the corner of the room, with an antique box on the corner of a wooden table. "It was too dark in here, so we needed some kind of light. But an ordinary light wouldn't tell a story, so I brought two elements together to form it, to mold it into a conversation starter." He shows how he glued the a small light to the corner of the open box, letting the light cast it's rays inside the content - like a step into a fairy tale. "I think that's a nice touch towards a more welcoming interior."