During the 18th century, a European Grand Tour was a traditional part of the education for a young upper-class man – and occasional woman. This trip abroad typically lasted several years and was the culmination of their formal education before launching their career and starting a family.
In the summer of 2018, I embarked on a modern European grand tour: 4 countries in 6 weeks. While I was born in the US (Texas!) I spent much of my adult life living and working in Europe, including 10 years in Paris. As an interior designer, my travels are vital for design inspiration and enhance my ability to provide my clients with the latest design sources and trends before they cross the pond to America.
Trendspotting – understanding how people live today and want to live in the future – helps me design unique interiors for my clients who don’t want their homes to look like cookie-cutter replicas. My clients are varied – I work with Americans, Europeans and Latin Americans who want their home to reflect their unique interests, experiences and viewpoints. Travel is critical for me to maintain my contacts with vendors, manufacturers and dealers so that I can source the best pieces for my design projects and create the best interiors for my clients.
Travel along for a peek at my memories from the summer of 2018…
Interior Designer Kevin Gray’s Summer of 2018 European Tour
Visiting Paris is like visiting home. Although Thomas Wolfe said you can never go home again, for me Paris will always feel like home. This trip I returned to some old favorites and visited some new favorites.
I worked in Germany for Peter Preller and Wolfgang Joop. Berlin is a cosmopolitan city – if you have been to other German cities but not Berlin, I encourage you to visit – you will discover it’s uniqueness, Berlin is nothing like the rest of Germany!
Hamburg is a port city, with major cultural influences from the sailors from around the globe who have docked in this beautiful modern city.
Great design, landscape, architecture and late summer light. Zee-land where my mom’s family is from! In Zeeland, my Mom’s family sailed from Holland to the Dutch Colony in the new world.
my Italian Grandfather immigrated to American via Ellis Island. For over 35 years, I have shopped for Fortuny fabrics and antiques in Venice. I timed my 2018 European Grand Tour for the Venice 16th International Architecture Biennale and visited Valcucine in Pordenone. This year Biennale’s nations didn’t represent modern trendy design, but ways to build improvements to the refugee crisis, flooding, overpopulation and giving back abandoned industrial land to the people.
For design inspiration from New York to Florida and across the globe, plus more photos from my summer of 2018 European Grand Tour, follow me on Instagram: @kevingraydesign.