Thursday, September 16, 2010

Designer Encounter: Kate Singer

I'm thrilled to announce a new series here on Decorica, Designer Encounter, in which I'll be interviewing talented and established designers. Through Designer Encounter, we'll learn about each designer's favorite rooms that they've created, and a little bit about what makes them tick and design such great spaces.

My first interview is with Kate Singer of Kate Singer Home. Kate is a beautiful, talented and kind woman who designs sophisticated, soothing, and classic homes for clients and show houses. Her gorgeous designs have been featured in popular reads such as Traditional Home, Women's Day - Decorating with Style, and House Magazine.

1. When you first meet with a client, what are some of the questions that you find essential to ask them in order to get a sense of their taste and lifestyle? KS: When starting out with a new clients, I try to get a sense of their preferences & basic style. Everyone has a basic style. Some just need a little coaxing to express it! Do they like casual or formal rooms? Traditional or more modern? Colorful or more subdued? Many accessories & collectibles or a more minimalist look? Naturally, I ask them how they envision themselves living in each room so we can develop the best furniture floor plan for relaxing, entertaining, & day-to-day living. 
2. A lot of the decorating shows on television complete a room in a day or week. I think most people realize that this isn't an adequate representation of a project's timeline, so on average, how long do your projects take? KS: I love rooms that feel more evolved & collected over time instead of decorated overnight. Just as we are always evolving & growing, so should our homes. I encourage clients to gather & display treasured photos from different stages of their lives. I suggest they bring home a special souvenir or piece of art from their travels. A single object can transport one back to a special place or time & can be a wonderful reminder of a memorable journey or family vacation. And I especially love to blend in family heirlooms & antiques which represent their past in a wonderful way. Typically, the basic color palette & furniture layout will come together fairly easily & quickly. It's the textiles & those unique touches - art, accessories, lighting - that may take a bit more research & shopping but are well worth the time & attention to detail. 
3. This might be like asking a parent which child they favor, but do you have a favorite room or home from your portfolio? KS: I just completed the main living room at The Winter Cottage of the Marshall Field Estate here on the beautiful north shore of Long Island as part of a designer show house. The setting in spectacular & the cottage is so charming. The color palette is very soothing, the furniture is inviting & comfortable, the Stark rug is gorgeous & the art & accessories are a nice mix of old & new - expensive & moderate. The natural light, lovely symmetry & wonderful fireplace make for a living room I could really live in & enjoy.
Above: Photography by John Bessler, Design by Kate Singer Home
4. In the bedroom that you designed for the Hampton Show House, you mixed feminine pieces such as a skirted ottoman with sleek mirrored chests, a bench with Lucite legs, and a chesterfield sofa. It's a great combination of styles and surfaces. What was your inspiration for that room? KS: I find inspiration everywhere. In fashion, in nature & in other designers' work. The mirrored chests were inspired by Julia Gray. Many of the textures & fabrics are from Barbara Barry's Kravet line. I love everything she designs from her furniture to home fragrance. The straight lines of the Bolier piece are masculine but a nice juxtaposition to the feminine colors & textures in the rest of the bedroom. Good Lucite reminds me of diamonds, silk taffeta of a beautiful ball gown & mirrored furniture, of old time Hollywood glamour. I guess it's a ladies bedroom after all!

5. At the moment, is there a design trend that you love to use? And is there a design trend that you avoid? KS: I try to avoid trends since they're usually out as fast as they came in. They also tend to be overused & I prefer unique design & decor that suits my client's individuality. I like traditionally rooted rooms with up-to-date, yet still classic elements that will transcend time. 

6. What is your favorite part of designing a space, picking fabrics, furniture, etc...?
KS: I enjoy the the inception & initial presentation of a room's design which is often conveyed to my client in a concept board, but my favorite part is the gratifying & rewarding feeling of knowing a client is really loving & enjoying a room or their home. That's what it's all about.

A big thanks to Kate Singer of Kate Singer Home for taking the time to participate in this new series, Designer Encounter, and for sharing her thoughts and photographs with us.


  1. What a great series Erica. I love every image in this post and look forward to more. Great insight.

  2. I'm liking how the living room with the fireplace furniture is arranged. Hmm I wondering if I can pull that off in my place.

  3. Erica!! thats an awesome post!! Loved all the images.. and reading it.. :-)

  4. Great new series! And beautiful designs; I like Kate's style.

  5. Lovely interview, I really enjoyed it. I look forward to reading upcoming ones too. Thanks.

  6. What a great interview! I was already familiar with Kate's work, and a big fan, so this was a really fun read for me!


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