Q&A With Kate Pearce
Casaza: How did you get your start?
Kate Pearce: After leaving graduate school with lots of debt, I developed an obsession with thrifting; it became almost a game to see how well I could decorate a room on a dime. The cheaper the cost, the prouder I would be. My degree is in Art History, so I also had a deep interest in salvaging historical pieces and used my knowledge of the different periods of design to create these thrifted, eclectic spaces.
C: How would you describe your style?
KP: I like to define my style as eclectic as there is truly no design or period style that I am not interested in. The challenge – and the goal – is always to bring disparate styles together in a cohesive way.
C: Where do you get new ideas and inspiration?
KP: From everywhere, really! But mostly from 2D art. I’ve spent most of my life studying, collecting and creating, and I like to look at my spaces the same way I would look at a canvas. There is so much to be learned from paintings, particularly, about texture, composition, and balance and I find that I approach my spaces in much the same way.
C: Favorite room in the house?
KP: The one with the fireplace. That is why my dream home would have a fireplace in every room, and in that case, my favorite room would be the master bedroom. Because I can’t think of anything more enjoyable than laying in bed, in front of a fire with a good book.
C: Design rule you don’t subscribe to?
KP: The best part about not having a degree in design is that you don’t even know the rules! And that’s the way I like it. My favorite 20th-century painter, Jean-Michel Basquiat, had no formal education in the arts and I truly believe that, if he had, his art would have suffered for it. Pablo Picasso once said, “every child is an artist.” But what he really meant was that the best artists are lead by instinct and not by rules.
C: Recent project that inspired you?
KP: I was majorly inspired by Dabito’s guest house renovation. His incredible mix of color, pattern, and texture left me staring (and drooling) at it for days.
C: Favorite texture/pattern/color?
KP: My favorite texture is velvet – I use it everywhere because there is no texture that better combines elegance and comfort. My favorite pattern is ever-changing, but usually anything with a Moroccan flair. And my favorite color at the moment is burnt orange.
C: What is “good design” to you?
KP: It would be any space that I want to enter and never leave. Good design is any space that makes you feel happy, comfortable and inspired.
C: Pack your bag! You’re moving into a famous home. Whose is it?
KP: Gertrude Stein’s! I have to be honest, I haven’t a clue as to what her home looked like but when Picasso, Hemingway, Apollinaire, Cocteau, and Matisse are all the staples on your couch, you’d have to imagine the views from it were pretty good.
C: What’s your rule when entertaining?
KP: Plan your preparations so that nearly everything can be done in advance. If that means buying store-bought cookies instead of flaming creme brulee, then so be it! What’s the point if you’re not enjoying your guests?
C: Best advice for DIYers?
KP: When you don’t know how to do something, YouTube it! There is truly nothing that can’t be learned on the great world wide web.
C: Best advice for those hiring a pro?
KP: Be sure to get several quotes and opinions before hiring and even if you’re sold on a particular pro, don’t let him or her know it. Pros will always offer more competitive pricing when, well, there is competition! That said, the cheapest is not always the “best.” Be sure to vet any professional by reading reviews or, better yet, by getting referrals from a job you know was well done.
C: What is one design trend you are most excited about this season?
KP: I’m really excited about the return of art deco. It has stood in the shadows of mid-century design for far too long and I’m excited to see a revival of the geometric forms and bold colors of the art deco movement, reinterpreted for the 21st century. Enough of this function over form business!
C: How do you take your coffee?
KP: With oat milk. Because would I even be a millennial if I didn’t?