Design Diary: Emily Kumler Travelista

I recently profiled Emily Kumler for Stuff Magazine. Emily, 31, is the co-owner of Prep Cosmetics. Turns out Emily is also quite skilled in nesting. She designed and decorated her 2,000 square foot condo in Cambridge, Mass., where she lives with her teacup Yorkie, Rocky.

ek-mainPhoto: Tim Gray for Stuff Magazine

Emily’s kitchen is outfitted with all the best appliances. She knows she’ll never recoup the money she spent, but doesn’t mind eating the loss. She says, “Having these appliances is sort of ridiculous, but I love cooking. And it’s so nice to have people come over and not want to leave.” Emily is quite the hostess; like her grandmother, who was a fantastic cook, she loves to entertain. She even whipped up lunch for me – steak salad and the most delicious lemon cupcakes I’ve ever tasted. (I ate three!)


Photo: Tim Gray for Stuff Magazine

The custom cabinets have plenty of storage space for her myriad of spices, appliances, and collections, like the aprons and Starbucks mugs she brings back from every country she visits. Have a birthday coming up? Sometimes she gives them as gifts. She says, “A mug from the UAR. . . it’s just so random.”

ek-lrPhoto: Tim Gray for Stuff Magazine

Emily is not afraid of color, thanks to her mom, who encouraged her to look at books filled with paintings by well-known artists to develop her sense of aesthetics. Emily loves Matisse, so likes to incorporate his palette of blues, greens, and orange. The orange velvet sofa was her grandmother’s, given to her by her mom for her birthday. The leaded glass cabinet doors are original to the building.

ek-lr2Photo: Tim Gray for Stuff Magazine

I love the way Emily uses the little cut out as a bookshelf. You get a glimpse of the chandelier, from Brocade Home, which is the same ones that hang in the Prep retail stores. The chair is a real Eames lounge (yummy), and the vintage poster, from International Poster Gallery on Newbury Street, was a gift from her parents.


Photo: Tim Gray for Stuff Magazine

Emily’s bedroom is an ode to Rome, her hands-down favorite city. When she studied there in high school she lived in a dorm that was an old monastery. She remembers, “We had these huge windows with no screens, just big shutters. I used to sit in my window and read all the time.” So, when Emily found a set of old shutters in antique store in Somerville, she snatched them up. Her painter made a matching pair for the other window. She also hung a shuttered mirror from Wisteria (not pictured). Emily’s sister thought she was crazy to paint her room in what she called a “hell fire orange.” But Emily loves the combo with the blue shutters. The combo (and crackled texture) is very Tuscan. She says, “I love that in Italy, people aren’t scared to put bold colors next to each other.” (If you’re wondering, its a C2 Tangerine base with C2 Babylon mixed with a crackle inducing glaze painted on top.)


The painting above Emily’s bed is “Dive” by P. Murphy, which she bought at a gallery in the West Village of New York City. She loves to swim and finds the image very calming. The bedding is from Garnet Hill; the lamp with fringe shade and the chandelier are both from neighborhood shop Boutique Fabulous.


Above left: The bathroom has cute built-in cupboards that are original to the building. The shower curtain is Marimekko. Above right: Emily wanted the TV room to be a bit dark and cozy; the paint color is Benjamin Moore Aurora Borealis. Besides, green makes her happy, and it goes with all the other colors she loves. On the walls are the covers of old magazines that she started collecting when she knew she was going to buy a place. Most came from a used bookstore near her parent’s house in Maine.


Left photo: Tim Gray for Stuff Magazine

There are three small areas that Emily papered with William Morris Iris, ordered from England through Sanderson. The inspiration here was her mom. The home in which Emily grew up has lots of it. Above left: Emily’s study, complete with a chair from Crate & Barrel which you can also find in her Prep cosmetic boutiques.
Emily, the lucky duck, has a balcony off her study that her friends jokingly call her cabana. Who can blame them, with its Sunbrella curtains, daybed, and quaint cafe table? She eats out there almost every night in the summer, if she’s home, and naps out there on weekend afternoons. She admits, “It feels like a vacation.”