Katie Ridder functioned as a decorating editor in House & Garden and House Beautiful for several years, opened a decor shop in New York, and established her own design firm in 1995. A new publication, Katie Ridder Rooms, composed by Heather Smith MacIsaac and photographed by Eric Piasecki, is a romantic look at Ridder’s glamourous and colorful designs.
While the spaces in this publication are impeccable, each room appears livable. Ridder is a mom of three, so that she likes to make sure her designs are touchable and may withstand wear and tear. Organized by room, Katie Ridder Rooms is filled with beauty, but also practical ideas which may be applied to any fashion.
Dining rooms. This Arkansas dining room is a fantastic example of several techniques which Ridder commonly utilizes in dining rooms: strong colors, two-toned chairs, a unique light fixture, and a bit of sparkle. Antique Swedish bird prints organized around a pair of mid-century sconces break up the apple-green wall.
Nowadays, most men and women decorate their dining rooms together with evening meals and special events in mind. But, Ridder insists on keeping these rooms alive during daylight hours also. Her dining rooms burst with bold colors — from the paint, to the textiles, to the background. While many dining rooms become an overpowering monochromatic mess of brown wood, Ridder restricts her dining rooms to one major piece of brown wood — usually the dining table.
Custom Fromental cherry blossom wallpaper has been designed in an unexpected palette which almost starts to blend in with all the colorful Ikat dining chair. A mirrored cabinet in the 1930s extends the rug’s geometric pattern.
Ridder also considers a dinner party could be ruined through an uncomfortable chair, and constantly uses upholstered chairs in all her dining room settings.
“Too often the dining room in American houses is considered little more than a container for a table and chairs to be dressed up for holidays and other significant occasions. All the more reason to draw attention to it, as Katie does, changing it in the runt of the litter to the very best in show,” writes MacIsaac.
Kitchens. The cheerful green window frame in this kitchen echoes the colour of the back hallway and the green accents in the mudroom wallpaper. Modern stainless steel barstools comparison with classic Murano glass handkerchief pendant shades.
Ridder knows that kitchens would be the middle of the house and have to be practical, but she believes they can still be fun and bold. While she really likes white kitchens (because they “offer a clean, bright environment to take care of business”), she does not adhere to a one colour palette by any means. Materials add depth and richness to Ridder’s kitchen designs, and she plays with colorful accents.
MacIsaac writes: “[The kitchen] is generally everyone’s favorite room in the house and definitely the website of the most comings and goings. No additional room as to function as many functions or components, and for that reason, Katie likes to keep it simple.”
Living rooms. A Parsons table in bone-colored lacquer doubles as a decorative table and a desk space in this urban living room. Ridder placed this desk right in front of the window so as to make the most of this high-rise view.
When decorating a living room, you need your furniture to help your guests feel at ease. The plan should welcome them, look amazing, but not feel more decorated. Ridder constantly starts her living room designs using a furniture program. This is the basic organization of this room, which Ridder says must comprise multiple seating areas, all with comfortable seating, tables, and good lighting.
“A successful living room beckons you to research, then invites you to stay for awhile. Less a commodity of ribbon than sensibility, it projects an understated assurance that amuses its furnishings and puts guests at ease,” writes MacIsaac.
Studies and family rooms. This 15-foot couch is one of two which were built into Ridder’s family room — that was a service room over the kitchen. Ridder cluttered the room with low tables, leather poufs, and Herman Miller chairs — all that can be easily rearranged. The sofa is covered with pillows in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Ridder loves using bookcases from the research and the family chambers she designs. She uses them often these rooms can start to look like colorful libraries.
“Katie turns to bookcases not only to provide necessary storage and give a room character, but also to literally shape a space,” writes MacIsaac. “Bookcases built perpendicular to a wall make studying nooks; those built outside around a window frame it into an alcove and provide a deep sill or window seat.”
Entryway. Ridder placed a Khotan carpet from Turkestan on the floor of her own entry. The handrail on the stairs was covered in crimson and silver foliage for a colorful accent.
Because the entryway is the first thing guests see, Ridder considers this component of your home should have an effect. She consistently uses bold designs and textures from the entryways she designs, mixing big light fittings, mirrors and wall art, background, colour, and unique floor remedies.
She also keeps practicality in mind, and often has grasscloth installed in entryways where strollers and bicycles are bound to bump into the walls.
MacIsaac writes: “Entryways do not usually need much furniture, but they do need to be well supplied. In decorating a transient space, form is more important than comfort.”
Bedrooms. Katie’s older daughter’s bedroom is strung in curves. The earthy linen headboard mimics the Chippendale mirror on the wall, and Katie’s “Leaf” wallpaper on the walls echoes exactly the very same lines.
Ridder creates bedrooms her customers will want to spend some time in throughout the day in addition to at night. Upholstered headboards are among her favorite items to add to a space — they define the bed’s location in the room, give a fantastic canvas for pattern and colour, and so are comfortable to lean up against.
“No additional room is dominated by one piece of furniture since the bedroom. And no piece of furniture is much more unwieldy than a mattress. Its expanse is a broad visual plateau that all designers wrestle with,” writes MacIsaac.
Katie Ridder Rooms – $50
Katie Ridder Rooms is available via Vendome Press
Photography by Eric Piasecki
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