For Kate Rheinstein Brodsky, decorating is in the blood. As the daughter of celebrated designer Suzanne Rheinstein, Kate grew up familiar with the world of chintz and top drawer antiques. And while tradition informs her designs, Brodsky, who owns a colorful shop on the Upper East Side, adds a cool, New York spin that’s all her own.
What inspired this career path for you?
I have always loved the personal interactions that happen in a store — growing up, I imagined that I would open a bookstore. My mother, Suzanne Rheinstein, is an interior designer and has had a store, Hollyhock, for over 25 years — I spent many, many hours there after school, as well as working for her over school breaks It instilled in me a deep love of retail as well as a passion for the decorative arts. When the opportunity to open KRB arose, I jumped on it.
What is your go-to source for inspiration?
I still love design books and magazines (I have kept copies of the last 15+ years of Elle Decor, House Beautiful, AD, and World of Interiors — which I refer to as my “archive” much to my husband’s annoyance). However, friends and mentors are also great sources. Whenever someone I admire — my mother or Alex Papachristidis or Jeffrey Bilhuber — mentions a source, an architect, or personality I don’t know about, I write it down and look it up later.
Tell us about your creative process.
Creating vignettes in the store is pure fun — it’s just what looks good. In real life, one must start with a floor plan so that you can see what FEELS good!In the store, I always start with a piece of furniture. I tend to gravitate towards pieces that are less fashionable and see how I can make them feel modern with upholstery. It is then about juxtaposition — I mix it with pieces from other eras. For example, a white painted Directoire parlor suite recently came alive when upholstered in oversize green gingham, flanked by Jansen-esque chrome and brass gueridons. I put a contemporary lacquer table in front of it and hung a set of framed 18th-century engravings of the alphabet above it.
Describe your style in 6 words or less.
A fresh take on classic style.
Who do you look up to in the design world?
Bunny Williams and Martha Stewart.
If you could design a space for anyone, what kind of space and for whom would it be?
I’d love to design a version of Bunny Mellon’s garden library at Oak Spring for myself. My library would be filled with design and architecture books, though!
Tell us your favorite design-related word, phrase, or quote.
Decorating is not a look, it’s a point of view. — Albert Hadley
Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without?
Pinterest — it’s great for organizing ideas and inspiration.
What’s one piece in your home that’s most special to you? Why?
I have three little girls and a big round dining room table. We use it every day, but it needed something to make it work better. I recently had Alpha Workshops (through Liz O’Brien) make me the CHICEST Lazy Susan on the face of the earth. It is painted in faux tortoise and I love it. Practical and pretty.
What do you love about Viyet?
I love that it is giving a second life to quality designer pieces.