Life in Munich and London influences interior designer
After a successful career working for a prestigious real estate company in Philadelphia and London, Birgit Klein realized her true passion was for interior design.
So the native of Munich, Germany, left her job at the international corporation and enrolled as a student at KLC School of Design in London, where she received her diploma in interior design and then worked with well-known and established designers until starting her own business, Birgit Klein Interiors, in 2006 in London.
A job offer for her husband brought the couple to Los Angeles in 2009, and in 2015, the family, which includes two children, came to Montecito.
“It took me six years to persuade my husband to move,” said Ms. Klein, who opened Birgit Klein Interiors in San Ysidro Village last year.
The showroom and design studio is a one-stop shop for international design. Clients can browse and shop for European textiles, lighting and accessories along with one-off pieces, upholstery and case goods plus Ms. Klein’s own collection, which is made in Los Angeles.
“I still have a small studio in London and in Los Angeles,” she said. “While we were living in Los Angeles, I had projects on the East Coast in the Hamptons, New York City and Connecticut.
Ms. Klein said the main focus of her company is designing residences in a variety of architectural styles — traditional, contemporary, colonial, ranch, craftsman — depending on the wishes of clients.
Current projects include large family homes in Beverly Hills, Montecito, San Francisco, Miami and Paris.
“I believe deep down most people know what they want from their homes, and I am not there to serve my ego but to bring their vision to life,” she said.
“With my background in Europe, I tend to use a lot of European influences which is different from the American style. I layer a lot. The European style is more laid back, more relaxed.”
Many of the fabrics at the design studio are European brands that Ms. Klein said she “loves and has been using for a long time. The quality is fantastic, and they are well priced. We have some fantastic accessories brands from Europe, too.”
When asked her thoughts on the current trend of the open concept in interior design, Ms. Klein said, “I always try to incorporate a way to divide the space when needed, sliding doors, for example.”
Her own home has a “relaxed vibe” with neutral colors like white and olive green.
The best part about her work, she said, is “creating and changing things, going into homes and completely transforming them.”
Birgit Klein Interiors, 525 San Ysidro Road, Suite B, in Montecito, is open from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and by appointment. For more information, visit www.birgitklein.com.