SETTING THE TONE
From Los Angeles to New York, bicoastal Birgit Klein brings her Euro-chic sensibility to every space she designs
Written by Jenn Thornton | Photos Courtesy of Imageination.tv
Worldly is the term that springs to mind when surveying the sophisticated work of Birgit Klein, known less formally—and most charmingly—as Bee. Not solely because the namesake of Birgit Klein Interiors was born and bred in Germany, or that for a longtime she lived in London, but due to the cultured touch she applies to projects as an interior designer with bases of operations in Los Angeles and New York. Klein seeded her place in the design industry after first making her name as an account manger for a global real estate company, where she oversaw and managed the real estate needs and portfolios of multi-national companies. “The experience,” Klein explains, “really set me up for life as an interior designer, as it really seems that most of our days are spent managing something.” But it took a sideline to compel Klein to rethink her professional future. “I began designing furniture for fun, and people ended up asking me to not just design individual pieces, but whole rooms and homes—and that was it!” she says of the defining moment. “I quit my job and returned to school.”
After studying and working with well-established interior designers in London, Klein struck out on her own, opening her first office there before picking up stakes for the States, moving to California in 2009. Attracting a steady stream of clients, Klein has since helmed interiors for a number of abodes, from those in upscale East Coast enclaves like the Hamptons and Greenwich to similarly refined roosts in Beverly Hills, Bel Air and beyond.
Klein’s allegiances to LA are in part a credit to her penchant for indoor/outdoor living, with her aesthetic preferences ideally suited to Southern California climes. “I love designing open-plan living areas that incorporate the outside in and vice versa,” she says. “Big comfy seating areas, fireplaces and large outdoor kitchens with pizza ovens are my favorite.”
Pulling from a sense of place is just one aspect of Klein’s multifaceted approach. “If the client has a piece or pieces that they love or [that] come with a story, I usually start with that,” she says. “But because of my European roots and extensive travel, I really grab inspiration from lots of different places and eras, so it changes constantly depending on what I work on. It makes it more interesting and fun as none of my projects are the same, and I hardly ever use the same furniture.”
Despite a determination to stamp all spaces as singular, Klein’s work—which she classifies as “luxurious and timeless yet comfortable and relaxed”—does bear some signatures. “My designs tend to be a lot less ‘American,’” explains Klein, who integrates imported furniture, accessories and antiques from Europe into her designs and loves layering textures—old with new, tone-on-tone, sometimes both. “I also love draperies—that must be my European background too!” Perhaps, but there are no boundaries on good design.
Birgit Klein Interiors
644 1/2 N Robertson Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90069