My Morning Routine

⇾ Stephen Kenn, Furniture Designer

My Morning Routine

⇾ Stephen Kenn,
Furniture Designer

This self-starting aesthete proves that slow and steady is the key to success

Furniture designer Stephen Kenn

If you don’t know Stephen Kenn, you know the Canadian-born, California-based designer’s work. You've seen his furniture—luxe yet utilitarian pieces that often feature vintage military canvas—in the homes of Hollywood's leading men and some of the coolest shops around the world. And when the pandemic hit, he was one of the first designers to manufacture some much-needed masks. Of course, his were not only helpful, they also looked great as well. Which is really Kenn's ethos as a whole. He's incredibly talented, has a razor-sharp eye for design and yet he's humble and friendly. He's also incredibly motivated. The self-taught, self-starting designer is a master at creating worlds. You can even book a stay at the brand's well-appointed showroom loft. But it all starts with him setting up his day for success. Here, he walks us through everything he does.

The Series

Those moments between turning off the alarm and getting into our work routine can be the most defining 60 minutes of our day. Benjamin Franklin set a day's worth of plans by 5 am and Steve Jobs asked a simple question: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" Our rituals are a reflection of us. So we've ventured out to discover how some of our most influential and fruitful peers get started.

Stephen Kenn illustration

My Routine

I’m usually up everyday by 6 am.

I really try to get eight hours, but it doesn't always happen.

I use my iPhone as my alarm.

Not sure if that's good or bad, and yes, I hit snooze from time to time.

There’s usually a pile of books on my nightstand.

It's a stack of good intentions. I keep thinking that if I put them there, then I'll start reading more. But so far, it's not working.

Prayer is one of the most important parts of my morning.

Making sure that I've spent time in prayer is essential for me. I express gratitude for what I have, acknowledge my place of weakness and ask for strength and blessing from God.

I enjoy the quietness early in the day.

Over the last few years, my morning routine has been a very important part of my life. I listen to a devotional on an app called Lectio 365, I then make sure to down a glass of water while I wait for the coffee to brew.

Coffee, for me, is pretty simple.

Just water and coffee in a Ratio brewer. It makes good coffee. But I want to get into smoothies next.

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But breakfast is an ever-changing beast.

I'm all over the place with breakfast, very much like getting dressed. It's whatever jumps out at me that morning. I think it has a lot to do with my mood. But it works.

I always journal before I start my day.

I make room for at least 20 minutes of journaling while drinking my coffee and transitioning into making a to-do list for my day. It's a great way to clear your mind and prepare yourself for the tasks ahead.

I’m definitely a planner.

I've been on the To Do List for years and just started to get into calendars.

Fitness has become a really important part of my morning.

As soon as I wake up, I put on gym clothes. It took so long to get here and this year I've taken on a new challenge. Every day, I do one more push-up and sit-up than the previous day. Today was 50, tomorrow is 51. Sometimes I'll add some weights or maybe go for a swim.

The pandemic hasn’t affected my morning much.

It's definitely gotten more consistent, but it's been the same ... give or take a few things. The mantra that I'm repeating all year is that “Good things happen slowly over time.” It's important to remember that.

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My grooming routine is pretty simple.

Grow facial hair to the point where my wife doesn't like to kiss me anymore and then trim it and repeat. My hair stylist, Jay Small, makes this magical clarified coconut oil mix that I use on my hair. And then the rest is a mix of high/low, you could say.

I don’t really plan my wardrobe.

Very spontaneous with no thought other than if I'll be riding a motorcycle that day or not.

Stephen Kenn's favorite grooming products

Clockwise, from top left

Thé Noir 29 cologne,
from $83 by LE LABO

Daily supplement,
$40 by Arey

Resurrection hand balm,
$30 by Aesop

Thermal Carafe coffee brewer,
$565 by Ratio

Lectio 365 app,
free on iOS and Android

Leather and steel push-up bar,
$757 by Itani Athletic

Classic Clean shampoo,
$6.49 by Head & Shoulders

Extra Whitening sensitive toothpaste,
$6.99 by Sensodyne

Stephen Kenn's favorite grooming products

Thé Noir 29 cologne,
from $83 by LE LABO

Resurrection
hand balm,
$30 by Aesop

Daily supplement,
$40 by Arey

Extra Whitening
sensitive toothpaste,
$6.99 by Sensodyne

Classic Clean
shampoo, $6.49
by Head & Shoulders

Thermal Carafe
coffee brewer,
$565 by Ratio

Lectio 365 app,
free on iOS and Android

Leather and steel
push-up bar,
$757 by Itani Athletic

“All my work out equipment is from this Japanese brand”

Clockwise, from top left

Thé Noir 29 cologne,
from $83 by LE LABO

Resurrection hand balm,
$30 by Aesop

Daily supplement,
$40 by Arey

Extra Whitening sensitive toothpaste,
$6.99 by Sensodyne

Classic Clean shampoo,
$6.49 by Head & Shoulders

Thermal Carafe coffee brewer,
$565 by Ratio

Lectio 365 app,
free on iOS and Android

Leather and steel push-up bar,
$757 by Itani Athletic

I don’t really plan my wardrobe.

Very spontaneous with no thought other than if I'll be riding a motorcycle that day or not.

Never leave
home without ...

Never leave home without ...

My mask. We now make several kinds so I take whatever I’m wearing that day, along with my AirPods and iPad. Oh, and a hair tie.

Vintage canvas mask, $35 by Stephen Kenn

NOTE: Items featured in this story are independently selected. Purchasing via our links may earn Valet. a portion of the sale, which helps fund our editorial mission.

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