Textile Maven Kate Reynolds’s Versatile Family-Friendly Home
One half of the creative duo behind fabric showroom and design atelier Studio Four NYC creates a highly adaptable, two-toddler nest in a quaint Brooklyn brownstone
Some people shy away from change; others face it head on. But Kate Temple Reynolds, co-founder of the textiles showroom and design atelier Studio Four NYC, has a more nuanced view on the evolution of a space. “My mom is an interior designer and my dad is in real estate development, so I grew up in many houses and have always been used to change,” says the South Carolina native. “I have a habit of constantly changing my home around. I like to see how a room can morph into something else just by mixing up little color accents and layering textiles.” Click to see more photos.
Nowhere is that truer than in her home in the family-friendly Brooklyn neighborhood of Park Slope, where she lives with her husband, Rem, an advertising executive, and two baby boys, Bobby and Oscar. Given its gracious proportions and Old World polish, the turn-of-the-century brownstone had good enough bones: she loved the historic pine floors and two cozy fireplaces, and the way its transom windows filtered sunlight from the front to the back of the house. A few minor upgrades—a fresh coat of paint on the mantels, additional shelving, and a flair for interesting textiles—were all that was needed to make the apartment their own. “My take on textiles is to buy something that, if it gets a little soiled or walked on too much in one area, it will add character,” she says.
Displaying an equal affinity for color and pattern, Reynolds set to work incorporating the signature style she’s become known for. She installed a citrine-hued wallpaper by Flat Vernacular in the bathroom and harlequin-patterned shades in Bobby's bedroom; a mélange of exotic prints (a Katherine Rally batik headboard, a Cambodian silk pillow) add interest to the master bedroom's bleached-burlap backdrop.
“It's something I've learned over the past 10 years: the more I bring textiles into my home, the more it changes the personality of where I live,” she says, giving credit to career stints with John Robshaw, ABC Home, and AM Collections. When the latter was purchased by Stark Carpet in 2009, she and partner Stacy Waggoner founded Studio Four NYC, making previously hard-to-come-by lines (think Tres Tintas, Florence Broadhurst, and Walter G) available to a new audience. Before long, the creatively displayed showroom, which she and Waggoner plan to expand this fall, won praise from such design fans as Katie Ridder, Amanda Nisbet and Thierry W. Despont thanks to its vivid spectrum of custom options.
As in her store, the aesthetic in her home is not concentrated in any one design era or movement. Reynolds mixes Midcentury showstoppers (a vintage Eames arm chair; a Timothy Oulton chaise) with whitewashed wood furnishings and industrial desk accessories, allowing meaningful objects to weave the common thread. Photographs and mementos recall treasured days: passing cotton fields with her father, studying abroad in Australia, getting engaged on the Brooklyn Bridge. Everywhere there are references to the couple’s traditional Southern roots—they both they hail from the same South Carolina town—particularly in the kitchen’s lively standalone bar area. “We always like to watch the Kentucky Derby, so there are mint julep cups, deviled egg trays. If we have a party, there's always pimento cheese and bourbon,” she says.
Ultimately, what most informs the residence is an assertion that a home’s interiors are never really done. Reynolds is adamant about investing in versatile pieces that continue to work as her style sense evolves, and she's not averse to using budget finds as place holders while waiting for the right pieces to make themselves known. She uses a vintage filing cabinet to stow T-shirts and other folded items in the bedroom (it followed more than a few IKEA and West Elm surrogates), and she fashioned a small side table in the living room from painted thread spools. No doubt she feels certain they'll follow the family into their next phase of life.