Friday, April 18, 2014

Tips from a stylish interior designer

Acclaimed interior designer Katie Ridder was extremely interesting to interview, but not everything we talked about made it into the print version of the story, which if you missed you can read at

But that's what blogs are for so here are some outtakes from our talk that I'll think you'll enjoy.

Working with Anna Wintour: Katie started out on the editorial design side working for Conde Nast Publications on magazines including House Beautiful and House & Garden. In the mid-1980s, she gained experience working for that magazine’s new buzzed-about editor, Anna Wintour, who later became a star in the international fashion world as editor of Vogue.
“(Anna) wanted to put models in dresses in someone’s beautiful living room on the cover,” Katie says. “We lost a lot of readers but we gained some, too. She liked young people and truly cared what they thought so she would call me into her office for brainstorming sessions to come up with ideas for stories and she gave me a lot of stories to do on my own. It was a really exciting time.”

How she makes her life work: With three children, a husband, a thriving business and two homes, how does Katie manage it all? “I’m a task master,” she says. “I do things quickly and immediately. As soon as something comes up, I deal with it.”

On her personal style:  Katie says she dresses the way she decorates. “I love big costume jewelry, I love color and pattern, but I still look casual. I don’t get dressed up that often. My go-to outfit is jeans with a colorful top or jacket, a big necklace and flats. I can’t wear heels. I have to walk around the city too much.”

Her entertaining style: (My husband) Peter and I love to stay at home. He’s a really good cook. He’s in charge of the dinner. I do the dessert and the table setting. We usually have no more than eight people over and it’s never organized – it’s always last minute. For the flowers, I love to use garden roses in full bloom with green hydrangea.”

There are no mistakes: Katie doesn't believe in interior design mistakes because decorating your home is about expressing your personal tastes and lifestyle. When pressed, she will say that having too much furniture in a room, or furniture that's too small for the home's scale, is something she cautions against. "My advice is to try to look at your home with a restrained eye," she says.

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