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October 2009


MEET THE DESIGNER

Katie Ridder
by Katy Jacobson

A FORMER MAGAZINE EDITOR CREATES BOLD,
COLORFUL ROOMS WITH A SOPHISTICATED EDGE

Click on any photo below for a larger view.

[Image]BOLD STROKES (click photo for larger view)

A former magazine editor, now designer; how did you make the switch? Working for House & Garden and House Beautiful gave me a huge leg up in learning the decorating business. I learned who the best decorators were and why. I met them, I saw their work in person, I saw their offices; it was a unique education and I know that when I imagine a room, it's through the camera's lens.

[Image]THE DESIGNER (click photo for larger view)

How would you describe your aesthetic? I like rooms to be weighty—to feel like they've been around for a long time and have taken time to develop. There is nothing worse than making a room look like it stepped out of a designer show house. Do you follow/avoid certain trends? I prefer timeless. Tell us about your latest project. I have a project in Buenos Aires for a longtime client, so I know what they like. I am doing everything from buying the furniture and accessories to painting the walls, installing the appliances and refinishing the floors, all in the span of one week—kind of like a real-life reality show!

[Image]SHADES OF GRAY (click photo for larger view)

What has been your favorite project thus far? An English Arts & Crafts house in Arkansas, designed from the ground, up. I've been working on it for over three years. The dining room walls are a spring green with Aborigine trim, while the living room walls are covered in a de Gournay wallpaper with lavender curtains—overall, just lots of fun color. What is the golden rule of home design? Don't be boring! Describe your own home. I love my house in lower Westchester County but I didn't make the effort I do with a client. I also didn't have the budget I do with a client, but I did some fun things like paint all the hand railings faux wood but in bright red with silver-leaf trim. We have a "Zam-Zam" room—essentially a big room with a fireplace that we covered with a mirror and Moroccan woodwork, and all my collections from Turkey, Egypt and Morocco. It's over the top in a wonderful way.

[Image]POP CULTURE (click photo for larger view)

What do you find the most challenging in your work? It's hard when clients don't want to use my vendors because they are too expensive. They insist on using use an inferior source—then they aren't happy with the quality. This makes me sound inflexible, but the old adage is true: "you get what you pay for." If you could design anyone's home, whose would it be? Mickey Drexler, CEO of J.Crew. Name three things you would bring to a deserted island. My Kindle, my coffee and my BlackBerry.

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