Like the farm-to-table movement—where diners prefer food locally sourced, with an emphasis on quality—Krista Nye Nicholas and Tami Ramsay of Cloth & Kind are always looking for local talent, meticulously seeking out their vendors and artisans.
It’s no coincidence that a design firm simultaneously located in two artsy college towns (Nicholas is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, while Ramsay works from Athens, Georgia) evokes a bit of youthful spirit and a willingness to experiment.
A large wraparound porch boasts multiple sitting areas. The designers chose a mix of textiles from local artisan Hable Construction for the porch swing, designed to mimic swings found at the Greyfield Inn on Cumberland Island, Georgia.
For this newly built Athens farmhouse, Nicholas and Ramsay layered art and furnishings that would give the home an old-time feel. “There are many elements in this home that are so Cloth & Kind,” says Ramsay. “Certainly at the top of that list is the use of artisanal textiles to create a sense of story. We personally know several of the textile artisans, and we made sure to use vintage textiles and lighting as well.”
The home’s architecture sets the tone for its organic-bohemian interiors. Located on 65 acres, the new house offers a modern take on the old-fashioned farmhouse. Homeowners Sarah Brooks and Jack Matthews already have a garden and a few farm animals, and they love that exposure to nature for their three boys.
Inside, farmhouse style shines in salvaged heart pine floors, old cracker tins used for lighting on the porch, and 100-year-old beams. “The goal was to create a home that felt like it had been here forever,” says Nicholas. “We wanted it to have a welcome patina but with all the modern amenities.”
The interior’s natural charm begins in the foyer, where wide wood planks in contrasting shades cover floors and walls. Artwork in ink by Atlanta painter Sally King Benedict lines the wall above a rustic bench.
“This is the most colorful room in the house,” Ramsay says. An existing sofa was reupholstered in an indigo linen from Lee Jofa, with Schumacher skirt tape. One-of-a-kind textiles were used on the pillows, ottoman, and even as framed art.
In a nearby sitting room, the designers chose pink Suzani pillows, a framed Kuba cloth, and a vintage dhurrie that they found on eBay.
The spacious kitchen and family room display a natural look with blues and neutrals plus a mix of metals and materials that contribute to the look of a house developed over time.
Similarly, Cloth & Kind is a relatively new collaboration—the designers formed their company just a few years ago. “We joke that we’re a social media dating story. We literally met over a comment on Pinterest,” says Nicholas, who was developing a new design business in Michigan after years of working in the advertising departments of Vanity Fair and Glamour when the two cyber-met.
Ramsay is a former critical care nurse who pays as much attention to detail in her new role as she did as a caregiver. As a designer, her love of the hunt has uncovered new artists as well as interesting items for them to repurpose.
Nicholas and Ramsay Skype with each other on a daily basis, sourcing for clients as they juggle busy schedules as mothers. “We have many similar, but also very different, strengths,” Nicholas says. “Somehow this creative coalescence guides us to create spaces with history and heart.”
Tips of the Trade
“We love the juxtaposition of raw and organic with elegant and quiet simplicity,” says Krista Nye Nicholas. Here are Cloth & Kind’s tips on achieving a layered style.
- Go one-off. Seek out textile artists for unique pillows and window treatments; some artisans will even create one-of-a-kind patterns and colorways for customers.
- It’s in the layering. Mix older heirloom pieces with shiny newer items to get a pleasing patina.
- Reuse and recycle. Include vintage and recycled lighting and furnishings for a time-honored look. Incorporate pottery and art by local artists.
- Go with your gut. Don’t be caught up in trendy colors. Gravitate to the colors that naturally draw you.
Photography: Sarah Dorio