For Rita Konig, storytelling and design have always gone together. The daughter of renowned English designer Nina Campbell (whose clients span royalty and A-list celebrities), Konig grew up in the trade, working for her mother and looking for a way to make her own mark. It came not with a big project or job, but with a book, Domestic Bliss. The 2002 title was a hit, launching Konig on a multifaceted career that would combine writing, design and entrepreneurship. The thread that unites it all is a desire not just to create beautiful homes for a small group of affluent people—but to share what she found with the world. “I think what I love is the telling part,” Konig tells host Dennis Scully on the latest episode of The Business of Home Podcast. “[Talking] about how to do it, where to go, where to get it.”
Konig has had plenty of opportunity to do just that. After the publication of Domestic Bliss, she became an in-demand columnist, writing everywhere from Vogue to The New York Times. After moving to New York, she got a gig at the then-burgeoning Domino and traveled the country looking for the best design and home shops. It was slow going at first, but after a while the concept caught on, and Konig was welcomed with open arms. “I would walk into shops, and people would burst into tears—they would say, ‘Oh, my God, we’ve been waiting for you to come, I can’t believe you’re here,’” she recounts. “It was moving. You realize so many of the … independent shops [outside of New York and California] weren’t really being discovered.” More recently, Konig was approached by online education site Create Academy (imagine a design industry version of the MasterClass series) to share her perspective as the platform’s first interior designer. The timing—the episodes aired just before Covid—was prescient.
Throughout it all, Konig was also doing design work—today, it takes up the vast majority of her time, and her firm was recently added to the AD100 list. On this episode of the podcast, she shares unique lessons from having spent considerable time in both the American and British industries. A few tidbits: Antiques are cheaper in Europe; fabric pricing should be more transparent in the U.S.; and English people don’t value designers enough. And on the all-important subject of American vs. English kitchens, Konig pleads diplomatic immunity: “I would like to say that I don’t ever come to a job thinking that I’m going to save Americans from themselves,” she says. “But I do like the kitchen that isn’t strictly a kitchen.”
The Thursday Show
Meanwhile, on the latest episode of The Thursday Show, Scully and BOH executive editor Fred Nicolaus dissect the latest news in the design industry, from Williams-Sonoma’s first new brand in a decade to a ban on mohair. Later, Harbinger’s Joe Lucas joins the show to break down the latest developments on the Los Angeles design scene.
Homepage image: Rita Konig | Courtesy of the designer