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

A Southern-inspired entertaining area in the kitchen of Studio Four NYC co-founder Kate Reynolds is backed by Pintura Studio's Escorial wallpaper. Photographed by Rachel Watson and Alexandra Strata
A Southern-inspired entertaining area in the kitchen of Studio Four NYC co-founder Kate Reynolds is backed by Pintura Studio's Escorial wallpaper. Photographed by Rachel Watson and Alexandra Strata
The co-founder of textiles showroom Studio Four NYC pulls up a chair.
The co-founder of textiles showroom Studio Four NYC pulls up a chair.

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.

Patterns and textures are at the forefront of the Reynolds household.
Patterns and textures are at the forefront of the Reynolds household.

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.

Textile Maven Kate Reynolds’s Versatile Family-Friendly Home
Textile Maven Kate Reynolds’s Versatile Family-Friendly Home
Studio Four Kate Reynolds


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.

A harlequin-patterned roman shade in Reynolds's son Bobby's bedroom.
A harlequin-patterned roman shade in Reynolds's son Bobby's bedroom.


TIPS FROM THIS HOME TOUR

Kate Reynolds's simple ways to achieve a stylish yet functional home

  • Beware the white box. 

    “People are intrigued by white because it's pretty and clean, but you should only buy white if you accept that it's going to antique,” advises Reynolds, whose bleached-burlap bedroom walls softened to beige in the bright sunlight. “Just like a white T-shirt, it's never going to look the same as the first day you wore it.”

  • Embrace change.

    Rooms and furnishings can be transitional. An office may become a nursery; a sofa may only survive a year or two of abuse. Light fixtures, window treatments, and accessories, likewise, can be portable—move them around the house to change up a room or vignette.

  • Invest in versatility.

    Reynolds tends to select design items with diverse applications. Case in point: the harlequin-patterned Roman shade in Bobby's bedroom was chosen before she even knew he was a boy. “It has so many colors. I played up the orange, but if I decided I hated it later, I could take the design in a different direction.”

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