Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Chic and Small

It's inspirational, if not aspirational, to look at the multi-million dollar projects of the top interior designers but sometimes it's fun to see how real people live. I mentioned that I was going to be featuring more original interiors and what better place to start than with some of the young designers behind the top designers. They manage to turn small spaces into chic and stylish homes without spending a lot of money. Something that many people are trying to do these days and the home of Laurie Reynolds, design assistant at Kate Ridder is chock full of great ideas!

Laurie grew up in Chicago ans studied Art History and Studio Art at Georgetown after which is earned an associates degree in interior design from Parsons in 2008. She started at Katie Ridder in August 2008 and while there was asked if she could draw and since she could, she was put to work on helping with the wallpaper line in addition to assisting with design projects. She said that, "seeing how Katie combines unexpected elements and colors has really taught me a lot about pushing through the boundaries of predictable design."

In the photo above, Laure created a dramatic grid of butterfly prints that were actually taken from a calendar bought for half off last year and hung in frames bought on sale for a steal at A.I. Friedman. We've seen this done before with plates taken from the Cabinet of Natural Curiosities but it could be achieved just inexpensively with a book found at a flea market or even photographs.

Her bedroom is proof positive that recent graduates don't have to sleep on a futon and live with milk crates. The room is completely pulled together and well thought out. Her window treatments consist of not only bamboo blinds but curtains as well. Pear River Mart in New York is a great source for many different styles of inexpensive blinds that look great. The paintings were from her senior project in college and rival those of many New York artists! You could also create your own paintings or stretch your favorite fabric over a canvas and hang it as well.

The filing cabinets were painted bright turquoise and remind me of a Katie Ridder color. She then topped them with a piece of MDF that she had cut at Home Depot and painted high gloss black. You can't make it out in the photo but the edges are painted gold. You could achieve a similar look by painting an old wooden desk a bright color and having a piece of glass cut to fit the top. The desk chair was bought on sale at TJ Maxx but was an unfortunate cherry wood color so she painted that black too.

She even dressed up the dresser from Ikea with new knobs from Lowes. Before working at Katie Ridder, Laurie was an intern at Fawn Galli Interiors, in the West Village and also for a florist every summer during college. "We did a lot of big parties, setting up large rooms for events, and I had a really amazing boss there that very much inspired my design sensibility," she says.

Laurie says she loved interior design since she was a kid. "I used to draw floor plans of my future dream houses and spend hours rearranging the furniture in my doll house. I think what I love most about interior design is how you can influence the way a space makes you feel."

"My advice for someone that wants to go into design is to first work hard and get all the basics down. You have to know how to exactly order a pillow and where a curtain rod should be placed on a wall in order to simply function in the industry. And of course, most importantly, trust your instincts. If you think it looks good, it looks good."

I think Laurie's apartment looks better than good! It really is a great example of how great style can be achieved without spending a lot of money. I would remember the name Laurie Reynolds because she's definitely got what it takes to have her own fabulous design firm someday!


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