Friday, February 27, 2009

Kate Cordsen Photo

In interior design there are many roles that you can take on: designer, shop girl/guy, buyer, stylist, etc. Most of the time nobody thinks a TON about the photographer for the designer. In magazines that we see, we all look through the beautiful pictures and comment on the selections by the designer but the photographer plays a very important role. They essentially put forth the vision of the designer. A few weeks ago, I blogged on the amazing designer Cheryl Tague and I had the privilege of talking with the photographer behind her work, Kate Cordsen. Enjoy/learn!
To an amateur photographer like myself, your work is incredibly inspiring. How did you get started in the business of interior design photography?

Thanks Alicia. In an incarnation before photography, I was trained as an art historian. This love and understanding of art extends to the decorative arts and to interiors. So when I went back to school for photography, it was natural for me to specialize in interiors.

Were you always interested in a career like this?

Photography has a wonderful democratic nature to it. We have all been taking and appreciating images since we were children. It has been a dream for me to take that interest and build it into a profession.
Where do you see your work in the next 5-10 years?

A photographer friend told me that I will be astonished at how my photography will evolve through the years. He was right. I am slowly segueing from commercial and editorial work to fine art photography. Five years ago I would have never guessed that I would be doing large abstract landscapes.

What advice would you offer to interior designers looking to make their space more appealing or marketable? or in general?

What I say to all interior designers who will listen is: document your work! You are artists and your art is ephemeral.

What do you find most exciting about interior spaces? Light ? Pattern? Placement of objects?

Like any photographer, I am attracted to light. This is true in interiors as well.

What attracts you to a space? Are you more interested in contemplative spaces? Playful spaces?

Every good interior needs to start with good architecture. I am most attracted to the foundation of a room: the floors, the windows, the molding, the light, than to any overall decoration.

What is the biggest mistake you see interior designers make in residential spaces?

It is more a mistake that the clients often make...which is not spending time and money on art.

Who are your favorite interior designers/artists?

As you know, inspiration comes in many forms. I am loving the unexpected feeling of community that has risen from the economic crisis. In the arts: Eudora Welty's short stories and photographs, Halston's designs from the 70s, and Whistler's landscapes all have a perfect though deceptive simplicity.

Kate is a mother of two, lives in NYC and Connecticut and is amazingly talented. As someone who is interested in both interior design and photography, this was truly a pleasure. I was an art history major as well...this bodes well for me. Ha. Check out Kate's work on her website HERE. Like she said above, she's moving into more fine arts photography and you can see her work at It's beautiful and mysterious. Thanks again, Kate! PS--all the pictures here are from her websites.

Alicia B.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Nobody Ever Suspects the Butterfly...

I just wanted to share this little DIY project I found on this DIY blog (thanks Kate!). If you wanted to really get into the butterfly trend this spring, here is something you could do! I must admit, I'm coming around. This blog, has really cute before and after pictures from furniture found in alleys, dumpsters, and on the street. I'm not going to lie, I've been there before (HERE) and sometimes you can find the best stuff. Then you can put your mark on it, and make it your own!

Anyway, this table went from a boring wooden table to a sweet nightstand with butterflies on the top! Did you see the sides of this table? The detailing is so beautiful. It sounded like a fairly low maintenance project and the results are so cute! Plus it involves decoupage, and that's ALWAYS a good thing. Have fun.

Alicia B.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Spring Trend: Butterflies

Butterflies are everywhere! I've noticed them in magazines, on the blogs, and everywhere I shop (window shop). They are whimsical and colorful and definitely a sign of spring, I'd say. Many accessories are covered in butterflies, from throw pillows, to decoupaged plates, but here are some examples in interiors!

What a sweet kitchen inspired scene by Trevor Dixon via

This room from Southern Accents is very garden-inspired with framed butterflies up on the wall. I really love that mini stool under the table with the blanket draped over it.

This is a from good old Domino mag featuring Schumacher's Birds and Butterflies wall paper. Not entirely sure where the larger than life butterfly on the wall comes from...I'm scared. Definitely adds a focal point to the room though, right?

In this super luxurious bedroom by Nancy Boszhardt, she uses framed butterflies on the wall. I like these--they're very close together and all the same species. Very pretty and a great punch of color in this mostly neutral room.

I like this one the most, I think. It looks like a little horticultural study; perhaps there are books on gardening on the other wall and a beautiful garden outside? By Monique Keegan from Country Living.

This exotic garden room is from a Kips Bay showhouse, so is of course very over the top. The chair in the corner is actually in the shape of two butterflies. By David Barrett.

This Freeze Frame Butterfly Chandelier by Lladro, is very whimiscal and looks like a swarm of butterflies around a light. Only $3200!

John Willey had these duvet covers custom made with Holland and Sherry butterfly fabric! This room is super springy with the green painted ceiling and nature inspired fabrics (roman shades, grass cloth walls, etc).

Want some of your own butterfly decor? Here are some small framed drawings from Ballard Designs. Cute!

Read more about this new spring trend HERE in Elle Decor. Personally...I'm not loving it. I know I'm supposed to but all I can think of are glittery butterflies from the mid to late 1990's and I'm uncomfortable. I do love the framed drawings and the horticultural side to them, but the giant, out of scale butterflies are somewhat inappropriate. What do you all think? On board? Hate it? Love it?

Alicia B.

Monday, February 23, 2009

My New Apartment: Project Bathroom Wicker Rack

Remember when my parents brought me this wicker rack that I used in my bathroom? Well, I did a project. My bathroom has this amazing grey tile in the shower so I wanted to add to the different tones of grey and black and white by painting this rack a darker grey. I took it off the wall (opened all my windows) and put it down on my painting tarp to prepare it for its transformation.

I got this primer/paint that works on metal and wood at Janovic for only $8.

I sprayed it with two coats to make sure that I got all nooks in the wicker. Here is the pattern that it made on the tarp.

Here it is! Look how fresh and clean it looks with a new color on it.

Close up glamour shot. Now I need to figure out what to put in that cute Mason jar.

Next on my list for my bathroom is the shower curtain. The Hold Everything shower curtain that I've had for 3 years has faded and isn't fitting in the new bathroom. Here is what I have on order from Ballard Design!

Alicia B.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I'm on the cupcake budget...

In one of my recent daily emails from Martha Stewart (not personally BUT STILL), she says, "Who says happiness has to cost a fortune?" This is so true, Martha! In recent months I've been cutting back a lot, making a lot of my own things, DIY-ing, and it's been quite fun. I even made Valentine's Day Dinner myself and had a super fun slash romantic time! Uncomfortably enough for me, (especially since my mother gave me a book called "Budget: It's Not a Four Letter Word"), I seem to have a bit more extra cash floating around. I had an amazing budget breakthrough a few weeks ago, when I realized that the best way to save money is to NOT buy something from Banana Republic every single day on your lunch break. Interesting...

Anyway, in Martha's newsletter there is a recipe for 40 different cupcakes! With all the ingredients, they are probably $15 to make, and when you buy a cupcake anywhere in NYC they're usually about $4-5 each. That's money in your pocket and tasty-ness in your mouth! Here is the cupcake I'll be making this weekend (above)! HERE is the recipe. What are you all up to this weekend?

Alicia B.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lilly Pulitzer Stationery!

I have literally been waiting for this moment for MONTHS. On top of having the cutest and funnest clothing on the planet, Lilly Pulitzer now has a stationery line! This line includes, photo albums, coasters, post-it type notes, address books, and stickers! STICKERS! Here are my faves. And when I say faves, I mean almost the entire website.

Did anybody else go to sticker trading parties when they were little? Well I think I might have one JUST so I can show these cute stickers off. So what if I'm 25?! 20 Sheets of stickers and labels for $14.

Lilly Pocket Pad with pencil $9. Who doesn't want a Lilly Pencil. I know I do.
Little books of adorable fun and bright colored cards that will ensure that you write thank-you notes this year for $15. 10 Cards and envelopes.
Preppy Party!!! 8 Invitations with a choice of the cute pink elephant or a pink cabana for $14.
Lilly knows that people need to keep lists and keep work separate from play! Lilly List Pads $15.

I'd love these for my next party at my new apartment (AHEM, COUGH, COUGH). 8 Pink and green coasters for my pink cocktail for $15.

These would be perfect for jotting down mini lists or reminders and brightening up the fridge. Stack of Circle Notes for $15.

I would have loved this rainy day activity book when I was younger...or yesterday. It'll keep you occupied and happy as well as a pink elephant can! Activity book $18.

These cute goodies will be available in select Lilly Pulitzer stores in March. Just in time for my birthday (in July)!!

Alicia B.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Collectable Collections

My budding collection of demitasse cups.

Lately, I seem to have started a mini collection of these cute demitasses and espresso cups. The one in the middle is from Anthropologie back in the day and the other two I by accident (not really an accident) won from Ebay. This got me thinking about displaying collections and having a collection in general. People collect things from china, pottery, or art, to the more quirky and eclectic to Navajo blankets and globes.

Apartment Therapy shows a collection of globes set up on this sideboard.

I love this fun mix of mirrors in this bathroom. It really satisfies my needs for vanity and each one is different and beautiful. From Martha Stewart.

Here, Martha his used different sized aquariums to display glass globes. I love the colors and the different glass reflecting off of each other.

In this DeMattei and Wade kitchen, like colored dishes are displayed on open shelving. The whole spread is here in House Beautiful.

Many people collect art which can be a great investment, but something more affordable is to collect prints. These framed botanical fruit prints are especially lovely from Country Living.

I am absolutely swooning over this display of hats by Myra Hoefer.

From a Tom Scheerer house in the Bahamas, here is another collection of hats. Not as arty as the above picture, but I am really loving the idea of a hat collection. I super love the texture of the straw all together.

This was kitchen of the month a few months ago in House Beautiful! Susan Dossetter designed this kitchen and displayed china and pottery in this antique cabinet what was originally used for store display.

Rebecca Bradley displays her client's white pottery and cake stands throughout her whole kitchen on top of the cabinets.

Aren't these books amazing? I'd love to be an antique book collector. Designed by Nicholas Pentecost.

This is by Nathan Egan, who displayed a mini collection of copper cake and jelly moulds in a cabinet. Displayed by size!

After a lifetime of collecting, one of my fave designers, Keith Irvine was forced by his wife Chippy to get rid of some of his most prized possessions. Read about it HERE in the NY Times. Sometimes it is hard to know what to do with small frames as they can get lost very easily but Irvine displayed them all around this mantle to make a larger display out of many small objects.

This amazing collection of blue and white and then yellow pottery and china is displayed in this large Nantucket kitchen by Hilary Musser.

I love the striped banding on the little pitchers on the open shelves and how they are pushed so close cute! Also Hilary Musser.

Collections are super personal. Also, the fact that they are something that you acquire over time makes the very special. Organic. Each object could remind you of where you were when you found it; like a time line to your life, or your decorating life. There are many tips also provided by Martha and on Point Click Home, such as arranging objects in like colors and don't try to hide your collections! Be proud of them! What sorts of things do you all collect? Anything weird?

Alicia B.