Meet Amy Thurston | One of KC’s Premier Designers

Kansas City and Dallas are laden with amazingly talented designers and I feel so privileged to get to interact with many of them. Amy Thurston, owner of Amy Thurston Interiors + Creative Direction in Kansas City, is one of those people who we have had the opportunity to work on several projects with over the past few years. Her design aesthetic is relevant, fresh and timeless.

Her latest project, termed the Atrium House, was an absolute delight to see come together, and we were honored to build a Rosedale Table that fit perfectly in the dining room. I was able to catch up with Amy to ask her a few questions about the Atrium House Project, as well as her own personal design approach.

Hope you enjoy!

Tell us a bit about yourself both professionally and personally.
I am from St.Helena, a small town in the heart of the wine country and prior to moving to Kansas traveled extensively with my husband. Actually, we moved here directly from Eleuthera, a tiny island in the Bahamas. We had our first child (Marni) there and moved here once our son (Kruger) was born. My previous career was in hospitality, specifically operations for top-tier hotels. Design, always a side interest took priority once we moved here.

Unruh Furniture has had the pleasure of working with you on multiple projects and your last one termed 'The Atrium House' was so unique and intriguing. It was a thrill to see our Rosedale Table fit so perfectly in the space.
Tell us a bit more about that project.

The clients for the Atrium House were my first direct business from Instagram. They noticed that our projects felt singular and that we've worked with many different types of homes. This particular house was so interesting and with so much potential we just loved every step of making it theirs. So many fun and unusual spaces and I have to commend the clients, we took plenty of risks, the atrium lighting took some real back and forth and installing the lanterns was no small feat. They had the faith and patience an original project like this requires.

What and/or who are some of your design inspirations?
Since I like moody, layered spaces I'm inspired by Roman and Williams (NYC) and Pierce and Ward (LA) and of course Erin Martin of Martin Design, my former boss. Their spaces seem timeless. That being said, I love bright white spaces as well but ones that have varied textures, tones and eras mixed in. I try very hard to stay away from labels like modern, traditional and contemporary, its just too confining.

Sometimes our clients can feel overwhelmed when changing their own space and often don't know where to begin. When you approach a new project, where do you start?
I ask a lot of questions. We have a consult, walk through the property where we establish their priorities and then how they want the house to function. Honestly so much is revealed in that first meeting and we can usually get a sense of direction almost immediately.

Being that Unruh Furniture handcrafts hardwood furniture, I often get asked from clients is if it's ok to mix wood tones and, if so, how is the best way. In your expert opinion, what would you suggest?
I prefer to mix wood tones. I think it adds interest and warmth, it also opens people up to future purchases, if you only have one type of wood represented you tend to feel like your stuck with only that species. In the Atrium House we used Unruhs Rosedale table (which has so many beautiful shades in it), mixed with a piece the homeowner built and a vintage swing door from a lab in Chicago, this mix illustrates the thought that multiple types of wood allow you to bring in found pieces in addition to new items and they all fit in the space.

One of my absolute favorite aspects of your designs are that none of them feel 'cookie-cutter' or trendy. Each one has a unique and individual feel. How do you manage to accomplish that?
What a wonderful compliment! Thank you. I feel its about translating the client's interests, their personal experiences, and their collections to create an original space that reflects them. It's not my house, it's theirs. That is what I find soul satisfying. That is why I love this work.

Leave us with one staple piece of design advice.
Layer over time, all new furniture today will look like all old furniture tomorrow. Mix antiques with sentimental pieces, frame your art and mementos, take your time picking paint colors....I could go on.

Photos By: Corie English Photography

By Sam Unruh

I started Unruh Furniture in my garage in 2012 when my wife was pregnant with our first. Today I have 4 kids, 20 employees, and plenty of fires to put out every day. It's a great life and I am a happy man.

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