Habitually Chic®'s Logo  

Chic and Small

by habituallychic

01 . 14 . 09

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!

Comments Closed

  1. Grant K. Gibson "the blog" January 15, 2009 | 3:30 am

    What a great place!
    I love that she made an art wall from a calendar (instant art~! WOW!) and the color of the file cabinets are so great too! Every time I am back in NY- one of my favorite stops is Pearl River!
    TJ MAX chair…NO WAY! LOVE!
    Thanks so much for sharing! I wish I had the guts to use more color…maybe some day.

  2. Habitually Chic January 15, 2009 | 3:33 am

    Grant – Isn’t she great! She’s like the Eddie Ross for the retail set!

    I always joke that I need multiple homes so I can decorate each one differently. There could be a brightly colored house, a neutral, etc. Maybe you need that plan too 😉

  3. Connie January 15, 2009 | 4:00 am

    Great post! I hope you will do more like this.

  4. Janine K. January 15, 2009 | 4:18 am

    This apartment looks absolutely fabulous!!! Laurie should start her own design firm as soon as possible, I’ll be a client!

  5. Rhonda January 15, 2009 | 4:46 am

    Awesome work!!!
    Love the Keep Calm & Carry On pic.

  6. Romana January 15, 2009 | 4:50 am

    yes, yes, yes…all good! Thanks for sharing and I look forward to more in the future. I am posting her desk idea as an inspiration piece for me!

  7. style and grace January 15, 2009 | 4:55 am

    I think it is a fabulous idea to post original and attainable interiors. Reality is a lot of us can’t afford to decorate floor to ceiling designer so seeing retail stuff mixed in with trade is great! Love the filing cabinet idea!!!!

  8. Beautiful Living January 15, 2009 | 8:25 am

    I live it! Her artwork is beautiful. LOVE the painting in her bedroom. Is it for sale? 😉

  9. design citation January 15, 2009 | 1:33 pm

    What an inspiring post – not only is Laurie talented, and artistic, she is practical and has innate style – truly ” chic”.
    My question -is – how do you paint a filing cabinet? WOW ! And I agree with everyone – the paintings are great. THANK YOU!!!

  10. Alice Olive January 15, 2009 | 2:02 pm

    Great post!

    Laurie’s apartment is wonderful – thank you to you both for sharing.

  11. Anonymous January 15, 2009 | 2:16 pm

    Just enjoy a post like this – a fresh face with real life solutions – wish it had been around when I was 20 years younger and living in NYC. If I may be blunt and frank (for those of us not in the design world), how does one contact such interior designers since they don’t have their own firms? You can see from the vibrancy of their photos that there is an abundance of energy and a real love for their chosen endeavors – it would seem that one could really work with such interior designers as opposed to those who are more renown. As always, got ‘my fix’ for today and looking forward to tomorrows. – KBN

  12. Laura January 15, 2009 | 2:23 pm

    Love it! I used to live in NYC and I think the small spaces really force one to come up with great inspirations and make the most of sq. footage, color & design. I love what’s she done – she must be a natural. The only designing I did as a child was to lay a tape line to divide the bedroom my sister and I shared!

  13. Habitually Chic January 15, 2009 | 2:34 pm

    Connie – I am certainly going to try!

    Janine K – I don’t know if she’s ready right now but I am sure she will down the road!

    Thanks Rhonda!

    Romona – the desk idea is great!

    Style and Grace – We always joke that none of is in the design industry can afford anything that we do for our clients so it makes you very creative and innovative when it comes to your own apt!

    Beautiful Living – I am pretty sure it’s not for sale but I can ask her if she take commissions.

    Design Citation – you can spray paint them to get a lighter coverage and no brush marks. You have to make sure you use a primer for metal surfaces. Preparation is key.

    Thanks Alice! Hope you are stayiing warm in Chicago!

    KBN – Anyone can email me and I will forward requests to Laurie.

    Laura – i think the key to small spaces is editing! Or good storage!

  14. at January 15, 2009 | 2:42 pm

    laurie has fantastic style! thanks for the posting!

  15. Carrie January 15, 2009 | 3:44 pm

    Excellent find and great post! How big is her apartment? I bet it is small but she did a great job making the most of the space. Great inspiration for people in similar situations.

  16. Laura January 15, 2009 | 4:03 pm

    Great use of small space. I love that so many keep The Domino book right by the bed…

  17. Susan's Snippets January 15, 2009 | 4:16 pm

    Heather – I certainly will put Laurie’s name on my list of designers to watch. Her sensible (affordable) style reminds me of myself. Although I do not make a lot of money – I am still able to pull together my turn-of-the-century house with creativity and style.

    it makes me smile

  18. Julia January 15, 2009 | 4:24 pm

    You are so on track finding such talent for a post on real and attainable! THANK YOU. Can’t wait for more! Can you find people without formal training too?

    I am transitioning more into the art world and trying to sell some work for a client in Pennsylvania, check out my blog. I’ll be posting some of his work.

  19. The Preppy Pauper January 15, 2009 | 5:01 pm

    Thank you for the great postings. Link and shout-out on my blog.

    Keep up the great blogging!

  20. pve design January 15, 2009 | 5:51 pm

    True to the old adage, “Good things come in small packages” – Laurie has created a home sweet home.

  21. Cathy January 15, 2009 | 6:46 pm

    What a great space! Budget-driven projects are the way of the future – especially in this economy. And to aspiring designers – it is also important to know that interior designers do a lot more than order pillows and hang curtains. Many designers focus on desiging a built environment in which case you need to be able to create a set of construction documents showing the contractor how to build what you’ve designed – in additon to specifying the materials and finishes, plus know any applicable building codes if you are desiging within a public space.

  22. Meg January 15, 2009 | 8:01 pm

    I look forward to reading more post like this- its completely inspiring to get a behind the scenes look at a designers home!

  23. Ms. Wis./Each Little World January 15, 2009 | 8:30 pm

    Thanks for a most instructive and inspiring post and one we haven’t seen elsewhere. I have the same worktable setup and painted my file cabinets white (formerly green) but now I think I wimped out. And I need to paint my desktop next. That is a great look at a great price — and enough room to actually work on a project and spread out.

  24. Magchunk January 15, 2009 | 9:33 pm

    This is my favorite post of yours since you finished the bachelor pad! Speaking of which, how’s the bachelorette pad coming along? I’m excited to see the next phase of progress!

  25. Working Girl Two January 15, 2009 | 10:02 pm

    ah! i love laurie’s style! always have – she and i have been friends since grade school!

    laurie, want to design my new apartment?!?

  26. Ali January 15, 2009 | 10:22 pm

    absolutely adorable! I agree with the comments above – I’d hire Laurie Reynolds in a second! thanks for the great post, and the great ideas. this girl is definitely one to watch!

  27. Sweet Nothings January 15, 2009 | 11:38 pm

    loving this apt! so chic! it’s amazing what a coat of paint can do!

  28. LindsB January 16, 2009 | 1:51 am

    Wow, I LOVE her apartment- its beautiful!! Her desk is exactly what I need in my place, did she paint the filing cabinets herself or bring them to an auto body place??

  29. eddieross January 16, 2009 | 3:08 am

    I love this apartment!!!! great use of color!

  30. Jennifer January 16, 2009 | 3:52 pm

    this is so great! thanks for sharing!

  31. elly e January 16, 2009 | 3:56 pm

    LOVE HER (Wonder if we are secretly related?) and hello grant k. can i put him in my pocket- so adorable.

    Great post this week.

  32. Ty January 17, 2009 | 1:38 am

    I love any designer who can do wonders with a small space.

  33. Elements of Style January 17, 2009 | 2:13 pm

    I love this post- this kind of design is why I started my firm which focuses on getting creative and mixing high and low (and sometime low and low) 🙂 Great post!!!

  34. FancyPants-design January 19, 2009 | 12:19 am

    Oh my goodness wierd. I have met Laurie Reynolds. She is so sweet. We carry Katie Ridder’s wallpaper line at Holland and Sherry! Great designs!

  35. Persian Tea January 30, 2009 | 6:06 am

    i’m really impressed.