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Habitually Chic Designer: Katie Ridder

by habituallychic

01 . 07 . 09

Patience can be a virtue in the design world. Clients need patience to wait for furniture that takes months to complete and sometimes designers need patience to see the fruition of all their hard work. Such is the case with the new wallpaper line from Katie Ridder. She started the project two years ago as a summer project with her children and now her new baby, the wallpaper line is available through Holland & Sherry.

I’m lucky to know Laurie Reynolds who works for Katie and I was very excited when she mentioned the new line a few months ago. She helped to work on the project along with Robin Goldman to whom Katie would bring back her ideas every September. The line consists of 7 patterns and an array of colorways that resulted in 40 different wallpapers.
Laurie was sweet enough to facilitate a phone interview between me and Katie and she couldn’t have been nicer. I was wondering why she started with wallpaper and not fabric and I think she was much too modest when she answered that with so many different fabrics available on the market she didn’t think she couldn’t compete. But her love of stencils led her to wallpaper when developing a line of stencils proved too difficult.

Katie and I can both remember our mothers tackling do it yourself wallpaper projects growing up but for a while wallpaper fell out of favor so it’s nice to see that it is definitely making a comeback. It may not be as easy as painting as Katie pointed out but it really does make a great impact.

Since I am in the midst of going out on my own, I was anxious to hear how Katie started her own firm. She doesn’t have a design degree either but she did say that she got the best training possible when she worked for House & Garden and House Beautiful. It took a lot of work and skill to take an empty house and create a story for a magazine. She then opened a store on the Upper East Side which led to customers asking her to help them out with their homes. And the rest as they say, is history!

When I was looking through Katie’s portfolio online, I noticed some new projects and some of the best designs I’ve seen in a while in the design world. I love her use of color and that her style is not cookie cutter. It really looks like she tailors the decor to the client and the space which lots of interesting details and patterns. I’ve posted many of my favorites here and I hope you enjoy them as much I did. I also want to thank Katie for taking time out of her busy day to inspire me! Hopefully with a little patience, I will have a portfolio like hers someday!

Comments Closed

  1. Two Tall Girls January 7, 2009 | 6:44 am

    It’s so encouraging hearing about how others get started. It can be such a daunting thing to do. I’m looking forward to seeing where the new year leads you.

  2. Jill January 7, 2009 | 10:46 am

    Great interiors…love the use of color. The dining room is so Palm Beachy! The pop of red is great.

  3. Scott Fazzini January 7, 2009 | 11:37 am

    She uses color so well. I think that sometimes a person with no formal background does the most amazing job. Her projects look like real rooms that people can actually live in.

    p.s. I’d kill for the “Attendants” paper!!! I want it SO badly!

  4. pve design January 7, 2009 | 12:17 pm

    Oh just look what she has done and what you have done, now I want that wallpaper somewhere and that kitchen is killer!

  5. pve design January 7, 2009 | 12:19 pm

    Can I just say, I remember it well, when I lived in the city – I loved visiting her shop and telling myself she was oozed style and grace. Just shows that her passion paid off.

  6. Habitually Chic January 7, 2009 | 12:29 pm

    Two Tall Girls – I think it would be very easy to take the easy road and work for someone else for a while but then you never get to realize your vision.

  7. Habitually Chic January 7, 2009 | 12:29 pm

    Jill- the color is divine! I could look over her portfolio online all day! Every room is fabulous!

  8. Habitually Chic January 7, 2009 | 12:31 pm

    Scott – I”ve met some lovely people who have design degrees but no style. I think you either have it or you don’t and there is a lot to be said for learning as you go. When you don’t know the rules, you are not hindered by them.

  9. Habitually Chic January 7, 2009 | 12:32 pm

    PVE – Wallpaper can make a great statement. Better start looking now!

    I wish I had seen her store! I’m sure it was a jewel!

  10. An Aesthete's Lament January 7, 2009 | 1:44 pm

    I have been a huge admirer of KR’s for years and remember well her treasure-trove store. The wallpaper is fantastic. But what I truly want is that library with the chinoiserie desk!

  11. Aimee January 7, 2009 | 2:14 pm

    Does anyone have any advice or knowledge on employment as a decorating editor? I would love to hear it…

  12. ArchitectDesign January 7, 2009 | 2:21 pm

    I realized I have about 1/2 of those images saved in my ‘files’! So great to know a bit more about how this designer started!

  13. Blushing hostess January 7, 2009 | 2:24 pm

    Love the last bedroom, such a bright new feel to a timeless decor style.

  14. Your House and Life January 7, 2009 | 3:21 pm


  15. Katee "e-polishblog" January 7, 2009 | 3:35 pm

    In that first picture, I love the combo of the blue walls w/the red accents. That looks so classic and preppy.

  16. Laura January 7, 2009 | 3:38 pm

    I quite literally cannot pick my favorite. You’re so right, they’re all totally imaginative and totally unique to the client! I’m loving the high gloss backsplash in the kitchen though. It elevates it from Restoration Hardware land.

  17. Erin January 7, 2009 | 4:18 pm

    Beautiful!!! I am loving all the color!

  18. hmstrjam January 7, 2009 | 4:23 pm

    I would love to be able to design my own wallpaper! What an incredible opportunity! Like the print with the bird. Also like the interior with the large painting, artwork can really make an interior sing.

  19. Robin January 7, 2009 | 4:27 pm

    I used the picture of the room with the daybed and pink canopy/walls as one of my inspiration pictures while I was decorating the budget living room seen in the Aug. 08 issue of Domino:


    I love her work, so inspiring!!


  20. Cathy January 7, 2009 | 4:52 pm

    I’ll share a little secret with you: design schools don’t teach people how to design. A design degree, as you said, doesn’t mean a person has any style or taste for that matter. You don’t need a degree to be a decorator anyway (in the state of NY, as we don’t have the Title Act here)- the only time a degree would come in handy is if you wanted to do commercial work – you need to know about things like wall and ceiling construction, millwork fabrtication and MEP coordination. I have several colleages who work with me in the commercial design field and have no taste whatsoever. Case in point: my old boss who had a purple and white striped half wall and plaid furniture in her house! Yuck! Just like there are “technical architects” and “design architects” the same applies to Interior Designers.

  21. Beautiful Living January 7, 2009 | 6:38 pm

    She has some really nice designs, will definitly have a closer look. Loved the living room with the green velvet upholsetered chair! 🙂

  22. Colour Me Happy January 7, 2009 | 8:05 pm

    Most well-known designers have a ‘look’ that people want and that they buy. Personally I think that’s something to strive for because you can make more money if you are not re-creating the wheel each time.
    And I agree with you’all, you can’t wake up one morning and say eny miny moe, I think I’ll be a designer. It’s a talent you are born with or not. Just like being an artist.
    Thanks for the great post!

  23. Elements of Style January 7, 2009 | 8:38 pm

    Gorgeous rooms and wallpapers- what an inspiration!

  24. Renee Finberg January 7, 2009 | 8:46 pm

    a wallpaper and fabric line has always been a dream of mine.
    it was my love of colors and patterns that led me to interior design in the first place.

    i loved this story.
    and no doubt, ms. ridder is some talent !

  25. Rowena January 7, 2009 | 10:05 pm

    Oh I love Katie Ridder’s work! I discovered her website about a year ago and the image of the living room with the peachy orange curtains and lavender-colored pillows is my favorite! I noticed that she likes to use orange, There seems to be a spot of it somewhere.

  26. Rhonda January 8, 2009 | 12:50 am

    I l o v e that very first room.
    Just luscious.

  27. annechovie January 8, 2009 | 12:58 am

    I love that you posted on Katie and her new wallpaper line! I have long admired her style and always love to see how she juxtaposes traditional elements with unexpected pieces and great color to keep things fresh. She has what I would consider true “design chutzpah”.

  28. maison21 January 8, 2009 | 6:51 am

    gorgeous work- particularly the first photo of the dining room, and the library with the chinoiserie desk.

    and cathy’s comment hits a very valid point- you either have an eye and talent, or you don’t. no amount of schooling can make up for the lack thereof.

    i’m thrilled i went to design school because it gave me the vocabulary and basic skills to have some confidence at my first internship in a design office. i’m also thrilled i chose to leave design school prior to finishing my degree because any further education, other than practical hands on experience, would have been a waste or time and money. frankly, all the best designers i know are pretty much self-taught, anyway

  29. Allie January 16, 2009 | 4:28 pm

    Does anyone know what the outside fabric is on the chairs in the first room? I love that room!

  30. Habitually Chic January 16, 2009 | 4:38 pm

    The fabric on the chairs in the first photo is New Wave Silk in Capri by Old World Weavers available through Stark.

  31. FancyPants-design January 19, 2009 | 12:24 am

    Sigh… just amazing!! Katie Ridder is one of my favorite designers!!! Great great stuff!!! I work at Holland and Sherry and was so excited to be able to sell her wallpaper..since I am such a fan of her work!

  32. Sheila February 17, 2009 | 2:56 pm

    Love Katie Ridder’s work! Does anyone know who makes the yellow/orange wallpaper Katie Ridder used in the foyer of her Virginia Farm project or the blue leaf wallpaper in the bedroom of her Carnegie Hill project? Thanks!!