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Richard Kimbrel, noted interior designer, dies

Richard Martin Kimbrel always had a different approach to interior design.

Resisting the temptation to strive for dollar signs instead of happy customers, Mr. Kimbrel lived to please his clients, and his career flourished because of it, his business partner said.

Mr. Kimbrel's lasting legacy won't be his interior design, but his strong moral character, said Thomas Birkman, who worked with Mr. Kimbrel for more than 10 years.

Mr. Kimbrel, one of Lexington's most prominent interior designers, died Monday at his home after a brief illness. He was 66.

The client list for Mr. Kimbrel and Birkman includes such names as William Farrish Jr., Heirloom Restaurant, Rossi's Restaurant and Joseph Hillenmeyer.

Nothing pleased Mr. Kimbrel more than enriching others' lives with his talent, Birkman said.

"He had an uncanny ability to put rooms together and reflect clients' wishes and needs," Birkman said.

Born in San Francisco, Kimbrel grew up in Chattanooga. He attended Vanderbilt University but transferred to the University of Kentucky when his family moved to Lexington in 1961. After college, he lived in Chicago before getting a job with Fitz and Floyd, a decor and dinnerware company based in New York City.

Kimbrel returned to Lexington in 1983 and started an independent interior design company. The company eventually became Kimbrel/Birkman Interior Design.

Mr. Kimbrel also operated Circa, a home boutique on Short Street.

In addition to design, Kimbrel loved the arts. According to his sister, Barbara Bohmer, Kimbrel enjoyed going to plays.

Mr. Kimbrel was a member of the Keene—land Club and a friend of Walnut Hill Church. He also supported the Salvation Army and God's Pantry.

Services will be at 3 p.m. Saturday at Walnut Hill Church. Visitation will be from 2 to 3 p.m. at the church. Kerr Brothers Funeral Home on Main Street is in charge of arrangements.

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