Design firm fills village vacancy


There are lots of adjectives Rancho Santa Fe interior designer Susan Spath would use to describe the look of Kern & Company — distinctive, elegant, contemporary and sophisticated — and now, local. Spath opened the doors on her new Rancho Santa Fe Village digs on Sept. 11, taking over the space left vacant by John Matty Co.

Kern & Company, marked by a gold butterfly logo on the corner of Paseo Delicias and La Granada, is a “premier destination” for high-end furnishing and full-service interior design.

Spath has been in her Solana Beach location on Cedros Avenue for 25 years and she hopes she can bring a little of the Cedros spirit to the village.

“I drive by everyday and it’s so sad that there are no stores,” Spath said. “I really think the town needs a lot more going on, it’s gotten so sleepy here.”

At Kern & Company, they do custom furniture, upholstery, window treatments, lighting, rugs, accessories, as well as complete kitchen and bath designs. The contemporary design firm’s services also include architectural planning and design, plumbing selection, ceiling design, tile and wood flooring design, cabinetry wood and millwork, fireplace design, slab selection, paint and finish selection, color consulting and carpet selection. The company has done homes all over the city, but also does a lot of work out of San Diego as well, such as second homes in Salt Lake City and Palm Beach.

“We build homes from the ground up,” Spath said. “The most fun part is all of the beautiful things we put in a home that makes it what a home should be, somewhere that you want to spend time in.”

Spath has a master’s degree in business administration and economics but she was always more artistically-driven — interior design proved to be a perfect fit. She treats design as a budget, creates a full overview and works backward so costs never get out of hand with add-ons at the end of a project.

Kern & Company has over 20 employees and four of her designers have been with her for 17 years or more. Spath will keep the larger, spacious showroom on Cedros along with the village shop.

“This is like our jewelry box,” she said of the smaller spot.

As Spath loves reinventing spaces, she didn’t skimp on the former John Matty space — she put in all new chevron French oak floors, leaving some of the jewelry store’s marble flooring as an accent. She took out the wallpaper and the white walls are now covered in unique art that pops with color. Pillows are carefully arranged on furniture upholstered in luxe fabrics and lamps, candles and statement-making decor.

“I hope it will become a destination place in the village for people to come in for things like beautiful hostess gifts and presents,” Spath said. “This is such a picturesque place, I would love to see us get back to a little more retail and get people using the village again.”

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