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Book Report: Golden Light

Today I am starting a new feature called Book Report. In this feature I will share some inspiration and thoughts from home design books I have purchased and before the post have not yet read. Book Report is a companion to Thank You Note where I share books that I have owned for some time and turn to for inspiration often. I believe that I have thirteen unread books remaining after today.

This inaugural post features Golden Light - The Interior Design of Nickey Kehoe. This book was released in 2020 and I purchased it because it was recommended as a must read book in a number of shelter magazines. I was not very familiar with the work of Todd Nickey and Amy Kehoe before reading their book. The two formed a design firm in 2004 in the Los Angeles area and all of the projects featured in the book are in California. They have a shop and a furniture line as well as a thriving interior design business.

Right away I knew I would be impressed by the book when they referred to themselves as a "Curious Workshop" in the introduction and within the first sentence is the line "...we seek not just a look, but a feeling". Me too! The feel of a space is so important. It is paramount that your home is an extension of you - a place where you feel the most comfortable and your guests feel that too.

After reading the book and studying the pages I have discovered that Nikey Kehoe honors the good bones of a space and keeps them or adds elements that give good bones to a space if necessary. They like color. They like natural light. They like wallpaper. They like unique artwork and furniture pieces that make a statement. They like straightforward kitchens. They like bookshelves. They choose interesting lighting that makes a statement. They like their spaces to look and feel simple at first glance so that you are drawn in and as you look further you begin to see all of the layers of detail that are actually there - what I call the "starry night" effect. I share so many of their design principles and although our interiors may not look very similar as completed projects, the building blocks are common, and Nickey Kehoe interiors are outstanding. This book bears studying and I know I will return to it often for inspiration.

I will share some pictures I took of pictures in Golden Light and try to place them in some of the categories I have mentioned above. You will see a number of the elements though in every room. The stunning photography throughout the book is by Roger Davies.

Good (old) Bones

The best example of good bones is seen in the way they keep original 1920s bathrooms! The tiles and tubs were so pretty then and I agree that keeping the bathrooms in tact is the way to go.

This bathroom has been updated around the original tub.

The original tile work in this bathroom is masterful.

Here are some examples of honoring the original details in a home.

The art deco ceiling in this room is a priceless original detail.

The beams and fireplace are fantastic, as is the painting between the two glass doors.

This kitchen is all original from the 1920s.

Good (new) Bones

These next three rooms all have architectural elements added to them that make the spaces, even if they were unfurnished, really stand out.

The beams and vaulted ceiling are great bones indeed.

The beams and fireplace in this room are beautiful.

The millwork in this room is extraordinary. I also love the dark ceiling!

This shower looks like it has been around for years and is amazing.

Wallpaper Love

Nickey Kehoe is not afraid of color and pattern when choosing wallpaper and I LOVE THAT!

Amazing Artwork

As a general rule, I noticed that Nickey Kehoe seems to use one piece of statement art on a wall rather than a grouping of artwork. There is one example of a grouping below though.

This entire black and white vignette is stunning.

This room has a very attractive grouping of photographs paired with a vintage looking two arm sconce. The chairs and rug are really, really attractive too.

I spy three extremely appealing pieces of artwork from this vantage point.

Unique Furniture

In every room throughout Golden Light there are pieces of furniture that appear to be found pieces (and most probably are). Distinctive pieces of furniture, especially furniture with a story, really bring the "feel" into a room.

This red cabinet is fantastic, as is the styling on top.

The chest between the windows is a conversation piece for sure.

What's Cooking

I have chosen five kitchens from the book that are uncomplicated, not overly adorned, and quite attractive. Please note the lighting choices, they are all fantastic.

Library Love

Bookshelves make everything better!

I love the vertical paneling behind the shelves.

The artwork in this room is amazing.

There are few, if any, features I like better in a house than a library nook at the top of the stairs.

A library dining room - love!

I hope you have enjoyed looking through some of the "starry night" interiors of Nickey Kehoe as much as I have. There is a lot of inspiration to be had for sure! I will be back tomorrow with another installment of Either Or. See you there!

Thank you for coming by today, Kerry




Hi, I’m Kerry, a true lover of all things home design.  Thank you for stopping by to check in on the journey.  Please feel free to reach out to me, I love to talk design!

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