The Style Files: Kate Rheinstein Brodsky

Kate Brodsky Headshot

{Photography by Taylor Jewell}

Kate Rheinstein Brodsky has had an eye for design from a very young age. Growing up in Los Angeles, the daughter of Suzanne Rheinstein, the renowned interior designer and owner of the beloved Hollyhock shop, Kate was surrounded by beautiful design throughout her youth. At age 18, she moved to New York to attend NYU and eventually went on to work as an editor at ELLE DECOR. In 2014, Kate followed in her mother’s well-heeled footsteps and opened up her store, KRB, a glossy shop filled with chic finds ranging from fine antiques and tabletop items to gifts and art. In just over two years, KRB has garnered a loyal following of design aficionados in pursuit of their next stylish acquisition. This January, KRB moved to a new, larger location on the Upper East Side. The new space continues to mix timeless style with current inspirations, offering one-of-a-kind antiques, colorful decorations, and custom furniture on the spacious ground floor. The second floor serves as a space to host workshops, lectures and private appointments – inviting both customers and decorators to meet in a more intimate setting. Kate is definitely one to watch. I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know more about her in today’s interview!

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Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Kate Rheinstein Brodsky: A modern riff on traditional taste.

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PC: Has living in New York influenced your aesthetic in any way?

KRB: I moved here when I was 18 from Los Angeles to go to NYU. I had grown up with my mother’s southern Anglophile taste filtered through a Southern California lens which is incredibly beautiful. New York made me think in a more tailored and glamorous way—shiny surfaces to reflect city lights, a certain dressiness and gutsiness that stands up to the drama of the city.

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PC: What does your home say about you?

KRB: My apartment reflects my love for things deemed old-fashioned and my attempts to use them in a more contemporary way. I have three children and a very old dog so it also about my attempts to hide the chaos behind the sofa, under the cushions, and behind the closet doors!

Kate Brodsky Family

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

KRB: I love magazines and books (and Pinterest and Instagram) but nothing beats seeing something in person. Whether its a museum, a garden or someone’s house, experiencing it in the flesh gives you an entirely different perspective.

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PC: Who are your personal style icons?

KRB: I am always inspired by the strong women who I have been lucky enough to know—my mother, Bunny Williams, Julia Reed—women all known for their graciousness and style while entertaining. Style to me is more than how something looks (important as that is) it’s how it makes you feel. All three of them excel at making you feel welcome!

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{Beautiful, Timeless Rooms by Suzanne Rheinstein (top), Bunny Williams (bottom left), and Julia Reed (bottom right)}

PC: What trait do you most admire in a person?

KRB: The ability to laugh at oneself!

Kate Brodsky Powder Room

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

KRB: Sneaking out midweek for lunch with my husband.

Kate Brodsky Kitchen

PC: Who or what has been your greatest professional influence?

KRB: Without a doubt, my parents Suzanne and Fred Rheinstein. Both entrepreneurs, they brought vast amounts of creativity to their respective fields. My father was a television producer, director and post-production pioneer and my mother is a decorator in Los Angeles and owner of iconic store, Hollyhock. They both instilled an incredible work ethic in me – they raised me to believe that anything worth doing, was worth doing right.

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PC: What is your idea of “living la dolce vita”?

KRB: With three small children, its enjoying those small moments of unrestrained joy or pleasure. Reading them books in front of a fire or watching them run around on the beach in East Hampton on a summer evening.

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PC: What can we look forward to next from you?

KRB: This year, I moved my New York shop, KRB, into a new space on East 74th Street, nearly doubling the size. With several parties underway including a private dinner on the second floor, we hope to hold more events – cocktail parties, book signings, pop-ups. I also recently launched a signature candle created for KRB by D.S. & Durga. It is so lovely — violet, moss and clary sage come together for a fresh green and floral scent. I am completely addicted to it and have it burning constantly.

KRB Storefront

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Go-To Outfit: black jcrew pants, a black Ann Mashburn shirt, and a Libertine duster.

Piece of Jewelry: A pair of moonstone earrings set in wood given to me by my husband from Taffin. They look like eyes and I think they are good luck!

Color I Never Tire Of: Green

Flower: masses of sweet peas

Indispensable Design Element: Comfort! Small tables to put your drink on, throws to curl up under, a chair to read in, flattering light

Fabric/Textile: I am MAD for Konstantin Kakania’s fabrics for Templeton. The lip prints and stripes and leaf prints – LOVE. Also, glazed chintzes from Bob Collins and Sons – Keith McCoy in Los Angeles has the best selection.

Hostess Gift: The KRB candle! It is pretty in a black matte vessel, smells delicious and is always appreciated.

Meal: Sushi or tacos

Drink: Bourbon in the winter, Tequila & tonic in the summer

Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: Hot bath with loads of Epsom salts and a stack of design magazines.

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3 Things I Love About My City: 24-hour Bodegas (although they are dwindling), the ability to walk anywhere, and seasons (Spring and Fall).

Weekend Destination: East Hampton

Hotel: Ballyfin

City: New York and Los Angeles.

Museum: Musee Nissam Commando in Paris – I can’t resist a house museum

Artist: Ingres

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: Lovely Day

Prized Possession: All of my Konstantin Kakanias illustrations of Mrs. Tependris!

Risk Worth Taking: Starting your own business

Greatest Extravagance: ironed sheets

Go-To Color Palette: Shades of Green with bits of Orange.

Rule to Break: only use white or black tapers

Movie Set Design: I want to say Auntie Mame but its really Gigi which has been my favorite movie since I was about 7.

I can never have too many…books!

Paloma Signature

{Photography by Lesley Unruh, Courtesy of Kate Rheinstein Brodsky}

The Style Files: Benni Frowein

1650 Schumacher

The Style Files is one of my favorite series to research and write on La Dolce Vita because it helps me to get to know people that I admire on a more personal level, or in the case of today’s guest, Benni Frowein, it provides the opportunity to learn more about people in pivotal roles within the design industry. Benni is the President of my go-to fabric house, Schumacher, where he oversees and drives the company’s business divisions while working in close collaboration with creative director Dara Caponigro to lead the company. Prior to joining Schumacher in 2016, Benni spent ten years at the Boston Consulting Group, one of the world’s top business consulting firms. His marketing and sales expertise propelled transformation and growth in client companies across the globe. Benni was born in Europe, where he spent his formative years. He holds a dual degree in international business administration from Spain’s Universidad Pontificia Comillas and Germany’s European School of Business. He’s an avid traveler and has a penchant for months-long backpacking adventures. A true trailblazer in every sense of the word, Benni’s business acumen, joie de vivre, and passion for design are already being felt through Schumacher’s latest marketing initiatives and product offerings. I hope that you’ll enjoy getting to know Benni in today’s installment of The Style Files!

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Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Benni Frowein: Casual elegance is what I strive for in my homes. It’s all about the materials; I love black and green marble, polished concrete, and dark or light-grey herringbone parquet. Whenever I can, I use silk velvets, moirés and richly textured linens. To offset the formality of those materials, I keep the space airy and I mix things from different periods. This might mean using a simple neutral linen for curtains or combining a Louis XV Secretary with a mid-century Platner chair. Last but not least, I try to create a space that invites guests to explore by blending in some unexpected, humorous or interesting accessories. I travel a lot and I love to collect objects from around the world. I’ve placed these pieces throughout my apartment. In addition to having personal significance to me, it’s always a fun topic when I entertain.

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PC: How did growing up in Europe influence your style?

BF: There are two European decorating practices that I continue to adhere to in New York: an appreciation for small-scaled furniture and a natural inclination to mix styles. Europe is small in comparison to the U.S. and spaces there are much smaller too. This is why we have a different sense for proportions. I love small, very delicate chairs with thin legs and a petite frame. The same with sofas and benches. My penchant for mixing styles comes from growing up in a very traditional home with lots of antiques, old Persian rugs and heirloom pieces of silver. That may sound glamorous, but it can really be very challenging to make these things work together. They were mostly inherited over generations and never meant to be paired together. Buying new furniture was not something that crossed my parents’ minds, they would rather restore an old piece they loved and “make it work.” Living with what you have and the deliberate mixing of styles is very European to me.

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PC: What does your home say about you?

BF: Definitely that I am European! Guests tend to quickly grasp that I love to travel to exotic places around the world. Although, in some ways, I live the typical NYC life – an empty fridge and an oven that probably isn’t even working!

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PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

BF: Inspiration comes whenever I am able to clear my mind, which is easiest for me when I travel. Trips to Namibia, Syria, Mexico and Japan all left their own unique impressions on me. I also love to spend time with my family and friends. I can recharge my batteries and open my mind to fresh ideas.

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{A Recent trip to the South of France via Benni’s Instagram}

PC: Who are your personal style icons?

BF: I have never really had icons in the traditional sense. I just try – every day over again – to be myself.

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PC: What trait do you most admire in a person?

BF: As a manager, I value respect and fairness. That’s how I treat my team and how I wish to be treated myself. In my friends, I value true loyalty and real interest in what moves my head and heart.

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PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

BF: Definitely Haribo – those delicious German gummy bears are my weakness!

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PC: Who or what has been your greatest professional influence?

BF: My three siblings. I am the youngest of 4. All my siblings are very successful in what they do. They are my biggest supporters as well as my greatest challengers. I value both aspects of those relationships tremendously and I need a healthy dose of each on a regular basis.

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PC: What is your idea of “living la dolce vita”?

BF: Most of the time, I work very hard, which I enjoy tremendously. But sometimes, when I am under a lot of pressure I think, gosh, why didn’t I become a surf instructor somewhere on the white beaches of Mexico? Maybe one day…

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PC: What can we look forward to next from you?

BF: I have always believed that you’re only successful if you take a fresh, smart approach and try to stand out from the pack. That’s how we do things at Schumacher. We devote rigorous attention to product quality and detail. Those traits made Schumacher successful in the first place, but we have also started doing many things very differently. Every month we launch fresh and exciting collections – it’s really a new era here at Schumacher. Our Marketing – both digital and offline – is more inspirational than ever. We are setting the bar for our industry – and our competitors are taking notice. We are also heavily invested in our sales team. We offer a true sense of partnership – many members of our team are designers themselves – they really want to help you make your mark. If you are not already a fan, please, come and give us a chance. You will be amazed – that’s a promise.

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Go-To Outfit: Skinny dark-grey jeans, tucked-in button down shirt, thin cashmere sweater, dark suede shoes

Style Mantra: Always wear high-quality shoes (even when they are sneakers)

Scent: Poivre Samarcande, Hermes (only available in Hermes stores)

Piece of Jewelry: My Omega watch from 1955 that my grandfather bought for a sack of sugar

Color I Never Tire Of: Navy blue (just can’t get enough!)

Flower: Tulips, the first sign of spring after a never-ending winter

Indispensable Design Element: Personal accessories

Era for Design: Anytime, anywhere

Dream Project: I landscaped a garden on the Cap d’Antibes, which I’m quite proud of

Fabric/Textile: Silk velvets, moiré, printed grasscloth wallcovering

Hostess Gift: I wish I had an answer! I go through a crisis every time I have to pick one up.

Meal: Pasta, pasta, pasta

Drink: Official answer: Iced tea with fresh lime juice on the side; unofficial answer: Tamarind margarita

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Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: Getting distracted with friends

3 Things I Love About My City: Endless NYC energy, the sheer number of restaurants, my partner’s apartment

Weekend Destination: The Hamptons, sometimes South of France

Hotel: Hotel du Cap Eden Roc (Antibes, France), Hotel Escondido (Puerto Escondido, Mexico)

City: Berlin (I lived there for 10 years), London, NYC

Museum: Naoshima, the Museum island in Japan built by Tadao Ando

Artist: Jan Albers

Actor/Actress: Anthony Hopkins, Judy Dench

Risk Worth Taking: Arriving late at the airport, such a fun sport

Greatest Extravagance: Silk-velvet upholstered walls

Go-To Color Palette: Greens

Set Design: The Crown

I can never have too many…comments to make.

Paloma Signature

{Photography Courtesy of Benni Frowein and Schumacher}

 

The Style Files: Gen Sohr of Pencil and Paper

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I first heard about Gen and Ben Sohr of Pencil & Paper Creative Development Co. in Nashville when they were featured in Matchbook Magazine in January of 2015. I remember being struck by the husband and wife duo’s playful design aesthetic which blends vintage and modern elements with a fun dose of color and pattern. After a while, I found out that Ben had started his career in retail several years ago and it turned out that we had a good friend in common in Mark Sikes. It is certainly a small world! With backgrounds in visual merchandising and architecture, it was only natural that when the couple moved back to Ben’s native Nashville, they would renovate a house, in their case, a 1930s charmer in serious need of some TLC. Since completing their renovation, the couple’s burgeoning firm has taken on countless design projects including full-scale renovations, working on the team that brought Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James Nashville store to life, and helping to launch brands and lend their creative wisdom on multiple ventures. I recently got to know Gen a little better through the newest installment of The Style Files. I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know the fairer half of this talented duo as much as I have!

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Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?
Gen Sohr: Traditional meets modern, collected and fresh.

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PC: Has living in Nashville influenced your aesthetic in any way?

GS: Definitely….you can’t help but be enamored by Nashville’s traditional southern style, charm and hospitality.

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PC: What does your home say about you?

GS: I think a home should be personal….I hope that when people see our house they think its a reflection of us, of our family….the places that we have traveled and the pieces we have collected.

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PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?
GS: I think inspiration is EVERYWHERE…..sometimes it’s in a beautifully filmed movie, a vintage fabric, art, travel, and even Instagram.

Pencil Paper Wallpaper

PC: Who are your personal style icons?

GS: Diana Vreeland, Jackie Kennedy, and Jenna Lyons

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PC: Is there anything you find particularly challenging about working with your spouse?

GS: Two strong-willed “decision makers”….. is not always easy.

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PC: What part of it delights you?

GS: Traveling and being inspired….”together”.

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PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

GS: I often start the day with a McDonalds coke….shh don’t tell.

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PC: Who/what has been your greatest professional influence?

GS: I started my retail career with Gap Brands…and at the age of 21 I relocated to San Francisco to be part of a small team that rolled out the Old Navy Brand. This amazing team of people and my first boss (Jody Patraka) have been huge influence….I actually met my husband Benjamin there.

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PC: What is your idea of living “la dolce vita”?

GS: Being surrounded by the people that you love in a home that brings you joy.

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PC: What can we look forward to next from you?

GS: We are excited to be designing FrameBridge’s new offices in Washington, D.C. We are also collaborating with Serena and Lily on an amazing summer party at our home. We will be speaking at ADAC in March (A Candid Conversation on Conquering the Digital Design Space) and are designing our first Window at Legends 2017. We will be featured in Ronda Carmen’s upcoming Rizzoli book: “Entertaining at Home”. We recently launched a collection with ceramicist Jill Rosenwald and have some other exciting collaborations in the works. We also recently completed a re-imagining of the historic George Dickel Distillery and created a new retail concept for the brand ….up next: Stitzel Weller Bourbon.

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Go-To Outfit: neutral cashmere sweater or blue and white stripe T, wide leg/crop jean, leopard shoe or Stan Smiths
Style Mantra: Buy what you LOVE
Scent: anything with Jasmine, Honey Suckle or Gardenia
Piece of Jewelry: vintage gold rolex my husband gave me
Color I Never Tire Of: White. Is that a color? I also love blue or our signature orangey red.
Flower: peony and gardenia
Indispensable Design Element: rattan
Dream Project: hotel
Fabric/Textile: Schumacher, Quadrille, vintage
Hostess Gift: Prosecco with our signature gift tag
Meal: In and Out Burger
Drink: Prosecco with a splash of St. Germaine or ice cold Kalik Bahamian Beer preferably on a boat somewhere in the Bahamas
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Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: Family dinner and some late night vintage dress hunting on Etsy
3 Things I Love About My City: southern hospitality, the best “meat and three’s, local road trips
Weekend Destination: Miami…..my hometown
Hotel: Chateau Marmot in Hollywood
City: Amsterdam
Museum: SF MOMA
Artist: so many….. Alexander Calder, Josef Albers, Henri Matisse
Prized Possession: the art that we have collected over the years
Risk Worth Taking: leaving Corporate America
Go-To Color Palette: blue and white with touches of orangey red and always a few natural elements
I can never have too many…vintage dresses

Paloma Signature

{Photography by Leslee Mitchell, Courtesy of Pencil & Paper Creative Development Co.}

The Style Files: Shelley Johnstone

Shelley Johnstone Portrait

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Shelley Johnstone is a talented, up and coming designer based in Lake Forest, Illinois. I first came across Shelley’s work on Instagram and instantly identified with her elegant, traditional style. She is known for elegant, European inspired interiors with a modern twist– an aesthetic I can certainly relate to. Shelley trained at the Inchbald School of Design in London and has completed projects in various parts of Illinois, Rhode Island, London, and Naples, Florida. Shelley is adept at embracing color and the special, bespoke details that make for stand-out interiors. I hope you’ll enjoy learning more about this chic and promising designer.

Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Shelley Johnstone: Classic and timeless with modern and curated pieces layered in to create interest.

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PC: Has living in Chicago influenced your aesthetic in any way?

SJ: Chicago and my home town of Lake Forest have given me a tremendous awareness and appreciation for beautiful architecture and the importance of small details: On a walk through town, I am fortunate to see Chevron doors, Chippendale gates, limestone urns, and other design elements that provide flair.

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PC: What does your home say about you?

SJ: That I enjoy creating a beautiful place where my family and friends can also feel comfortable and at home.

Shelley Johnstone Bedroom

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

SJ: I am inspired by everything around me – a shell on the beach, the prettiest pink tablecloth at a restaurant in Capri, a Rothko hanging at the Art Institute of Chicago. I try to recreate the many visuals and environments from my experiences into my design and my home.

Shelley Johnstone Kitchen Detail

PC: Who are your personal style icons?

SJ: I am most influenced by the beautiful lifestyles created and enjoyed by Oscar de la Renta, Valentino, Bunny Williams, and John Rosselli.

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{Oscar and Annette de la Renta}

PC: What trait do you most admire in a person?

SJ: I admire those who are kind, considerate, and well-mannered.

Shelley Johnstone Breakfast

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

SJ: Chocolate!

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PC: Who or what has been your greatest professional influence?

SJ: My parents, who are extremely creative and entrepreneurial while keeping an emphasis on family and life at home.

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PC: What is your idea of living “la dolce vita”?

SJ: Creating and enjoying a beautiful life with family.

Shelley Johnstone Living Room

PC: What can we look forward to next from you?

SJ: I am currently designing a table for Veranda’s Orchid Dinner benefitting the New York Botanic Garden, and decorating a room for the 2017 Infant Welfare Showhouse in Lake Forest. Meanwhile, I am fortunate to continue working with amazing clients on projects for Shelley Johnstone Design.

Shelley Johnstone Vignette

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Go-To Outfit: Roger Vivier shoes, jeans, and an elegant top

Style Mantra: “Keep it simple.”

Scent: Candles and fresh flowers

Piece of Jewelry: My engagement ring and my Cartier Panthere gold watch

Color I Never Tire Of: Chocolate brown

Indispensable Design Element: Chic natural fiber rugs (sisal, jute, abaca) and bamboo and rattan furniture

Fabric/Textile: Interesting prints on linen mixed with textured velvet and cashmere

Dream Project: More projects with the wonderful, detail-oriented clients I have!

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Drink: Almond milk hot chocolate

Hotel: The Carlyle Hotel in New York and La Scalinatella in Capri

Museum: The Art Institute of Chicago and Musée Jacquemart-André in Paris

Artist: Mark Rothko (painting) and Massimo Listri (photography)

Actor: Cary Grant

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: Hello Goodbye by the Beatles

Movie Set Design: Sets from 1940’s Hollywood, especially You Were Never Lovelier (1942) featuring Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth

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The Style Files: Vicente Wolf

Vicente Wolf OKL{Photo Credit: Lesley Unruh for One Kings Lane}

Vicente Wolf is brilliant at mixing antique pieces and modern items, all through a lens that is fresh and polished. He has honed his distinct style through his travels as well as in his work as an interior designer over a career spanning more than thirty years. Vicente is arguably one of the most important designers in our industry today. His New York design firm has continuously completed inspiring projects for top-tier clientele including Julianna Marguelies, Clive Davis, and Ralph Pucci. Both Vicente’s own home and those he designs for his clients are beautiful and very personal. They each tell the story of the people inhabiting the home, what they love, and what matters most to them. Vicente’s work has been published in every important design publication, including Architectural Digest which has repeatedly named him to its AD100 list. Vicente also happens to be one of the most genuine people in the design industry. He is candid and generous with his knowledge and experience, often sharing the expertise he has amassed throughout his storied career with less seasoned designers. Over the years, I have received some invaluable advice from Vicente and had the privilege to give a keynote presentation at a special retreat he hosted for interior designers in July of 2015. Last summer, Vicente was at the opening of the Southern Style Now Showhouse in New Orleans and had some very kind things to say about the room I had designed. It’s a moment I won’t soon forget. Enjoy!

Snip20170130_1Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Vicente Wolf: I would describe my style as having a sense of individuality, yet comfortable with a mix of periods and cultures. When combined together it becomes a modern classic environment.

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{Vicente’s Apartment |{Photo Credit: Lesley Unruh for One Kings Lane}

PC: Has living in New York influenced your aesthetic in any way?

VW: Absolutely, New York is one of the cities that many consider the Mecca when it comes to culture, art, music, theater and design.

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{Vicente’s Apartment |{Photo Credit: Lesley Unruh for One Kings Lane}

PC: What does your home say about you?

VW: My home expresses my love of travel, nature and my sense of balance.

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{Vicente’s Apartment |{Photo Credit: Lesley Unruh for One Kings Lane}

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

VW: I find inspiration in my travels and the many museums I visited around the world.

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{A Shot from Vicente’s Recent Travels via his Instagram Account @vicentewolfdesigns}

PC: Who are your personal style icons?

VW: David Hicks, Billy Baldwin and Karl Lagerfeld

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{David Hicks}

PC: What trait do you most admire in a person?

VW: Honesty, humor and generosity.

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{Photo Credit: Architectural Digest}

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

VW: Traveling and gardening

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{Bright Colors in Cuba via Vicente’s Instagram}

PC: Who or what has been your greatest professional influence?

VW: Twyla Tharp, Richard Avedon, Bob Burton, and composer Steven Sametz

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PC: What is your idea of living “la dolce vita”?

VW: My idea of living “la dolce vita” is exploring the environment of places I’ve never visited, gardening, being kind and spreading generosity to those who have less.

Vicente Wolf AD Library

{Photo Credit: Architectural Digest}

PC: What can we look forward to next from you?

VW: I will be traveling to Sri Lanka for inspiration, my latest book The Four Elements of Design, my lecture at 92Y, my Frida Kahlo private photographic collection being shown at the Dali Museum in Mexico City, and I’m flying to Tbilisi, Georgia to install another design project.

Vicente Wolf Book

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Style Mantra: Elegant yet casual

Scent: Gardenia Passion

Piece of Jewelry: Rolex watch

Color I Never Tire Of: Black

Flower: Begonia

Indispensable Design Element: French Sheets

Era for Design: late 30’s, early 40’s

Dream Project: A project with architectural appeal and a healthy budget.

Fabric/Textile: Mohair

Hostess Gift: Orchid in clay pot

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Meal: Sushi

Drink: Polish Vodka

Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: exercise

3 Things I Love About My City: museums, theater, diversity

Weekend Destination: Montauk

Hotel: The Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok

City: The world

Museum: MOMA

Artist: Francis Bacon

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood:”Put on a happy face” by Tony Bennett

Actor/Actress: Meryl Streep

Prized Possession: my cat

Risk Worth Taking: exploration

Greatest Extravagance: buying art

Go-To Color Palette: watery colors

Rule to Break: convention

Movie Set Design: Auntie Mame

I can never have too many… plants

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