Archive for June, 2010

Grand Opening

Welcome to the Grand Opening of Kate Collins Interiors!  Take a look around; I hope you like what you see.  I’ve been waiting patiently for this day, getting everything done behind the scenes.  There are still some minor details to attend to; I’m still learning how to operate this site on my own.  I wish I could hand you a glass of champagne but this is the best I can do…

As I am sure you can see, I have a new website and I love the look of it.  Thank you very much to the incredibly talented Reichel of Reich B Designs for designing my website.

So, what exactly am I opening?

Well, for starters, my new design business.  I offer a full range of services from providing advice on a little corner that you just don’t know what to do with to completely decorating your home from top to bottom.  I offer complete design services where I will create and execute a design plan.  If you don’t live in California but would still like my design advice, I do offer e-design.  E-design involves you sending me photos and dimensions of the room that you would like designed and I will send you a shopping list of what to buy and where to buy it.  With that information, you are on your own to gather the materials and place them in your home.  With both methods of design, I will listen to all that you want from following your budget to matching your home to your taste.

I also have moved my shop off of ETSY and it is now solely available here on my website.  If you ever see anything that suites your fancy, send me your details and I’ll ship it to you.

What have I been up to behind the scenes?

For starters, I have gone back to school;  I have enrolled in an interior design program.  I’ve learned a great deal and I apply it to every project that I work on.

I am also in the process of applying for my business license and my resale permit.  What does that mean for you?  I will get designer discounts on some of my items making them cheaper for my clients.

I have been working with clients currently.  To date, I have redone a living room, dining room and children’s room, giving those clients the full service.  I have done e-design projects for an eating nook, a bedroom and I am working on a living room.  This summer, I hope to design a loft space in New York City, permitting the client finds the apartment that he loves.  I am eager for more work, so if you are interested, send me an e-mail at and I’ll discuss rates.

In the meantime, take a look around my site.  What do you think?

June 30, 2010 at 5:45 AM 11 comments

Trash Hotel

I have to admit that a certain twang of guilt comes with writing my blog.  I love what I do and I am very happy I finally got around to starting such a blog.  However, I don’t want to always encourage people to buy, buy, buy because I don’t like the amount of waste that happens on this earth.  I do try to encourage using old things in new ways but I am guilty of pushing new products that I love.

I was reading Mary Meyer’s blog, the hip clothing designer (who happens to be a good friend of my brother and sister in law) and she posted about a new hotel made completely of trash.  It was constructed with 12 tons of trash, collected from European beaches, by the German artist, HA Schult in collaboration with Save the Beach.  It is quite an undertaking to construct a three bedroom, two bathroom hotel solely from small pieces of trash.  It is very profound because the hotel is reusing waste in the ultimate way and it is putting on display how much garbage we produce.  Sometimes, I wish that we couldn’t put all nasty trash bits and pieces away in a landfill because by tucking the trash away in a giant whole, it makes it so easy for us to go on our merry way polluting.

Helena Christansian stayed at this hotel – now she can make trash look chic.

The hotel sits in Rome and will only be open for four days.

“Trash People” created by Schuldt who commonly works with the medium of garbage.  What do you think about the hotel?

June 29, 2010 at 5:40 AM 2 comments

Happy Anniversary to Us

Our marriage turns 2 today.  Graham and I have officially been maried for 24 months, which is no small fete in holleywood years.  If we were celebrities, we would be renewing our vows today.  But it’s not that much of a biggie in the world we live in.  Still, it’s a reason to celebrate.  We’ve decided to hang out at my family ranch just the two of us, take a hike, play dominoes and cook together.  And we’re going to treat ourselves to a couples massage at the Half Moon Bay Ritz Carlton.  I know – we’re spoiled, but we deserve it…I mean 2 years!  🙂  Traditionally, the second anniversary gift is “cotton” (I believe) so I’m giving my husband the gift of anti-cotton.  For the entire day, I will not speak of upholstery, thread count, or ikat.  I won’t even pull out a single fabric swatch and ask him which one he prefers.  Nope, for Graham, today will be a cotton free day.

I’ve loved being married to my amazingly supportive, funny and wise husband.  And I look forward to lifetime together.

Now, I must keep my cheese at bay so with no further ado, here are pictures from our wedding day.




Photos taken by John Griffin Photography.

June 28, 2010 at 5:15 AM 7 comments

Love Letter to Chicago

Let me first start by stating that I realize Chicago is a place and not a person. I haven’t completely fallen off my rocker, yet. But in parting, I thought that I would write Chicago a letter.

Dearest Chicago,

How I love thee. When first moving here, I was skeptical of all that you would offer me. I didn’t personally choose to move here it was a choice made with my husband so he could go to business school here. Therefor, it was more of an arranged marriage; however, I knew with some time I would grow to love you. And I did so much. Now, if we’re going with the marriage analogy, you are a polygamist at it’s finest, married to 2,896,016 people. So I guess you won’t miss me but I’ll miss you.

I’ll miss my morning walks through my cute Lincoln Park neighborhood. I’ll miss laying in the park and listening to the birds sing in the spring time. I’ll miss the silence and stillness after a huge snowstorm. I’ll miss the museums, skyscrapers and theater. I’ll miss the packed bars and friendly atmosphere. I’ll miss the architecture, the fabulous design shoppes and the history.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all love. We have had our fights. Like flying, you always seem to time a thunderstorm, tornado or snowstorm just as I take off, apparently testing my growing fear of flying (maybe you just didn’t want me to leave). Or the time that I practically drove to Indiana with absolutely no clue where I was, tears streaming down my face without my cell phone, knowing full well that it was negative 25 outside. Or when I would casually compare your temperature to that of Anchorage, Alaska where a dear friend lives, and every time Alaska looked downright balmy. And don’t get me started on your intersections; who planned this city?! Why are on Earth is it that most intersections consist of four streets intersecting. Have you ever heard of two? Or proper signage? Turning left is a nightmare. In fact, I can’t turn left. I’m like Derek Zoolander; I am not an auto ambi-turner.

But like all great relationships, in the end, I really only look to the good times: to the lazy walks along the shore line; to popping in and out of adorable boutiques on Armitage; to gazes out at an endless horizon on top of the John Hancock building, to sipping superb wine at comfy Webster’s Wine Bar, to my exquisite brownstone walk up apartment complete with ivy growing up the exterior wall, to your absolutely magnificent mile. You never seize to dazzle me.

One day, I’ll return for a visit, Chicago. You’ll likely greet me with a thunderstorm but that won’t deter me. My husband and I will revisit our old stomping grounds probably with kids in tow and we’ll tell them long drawn out stories of the good old days. The blissful first years of marriage. For you did provide bliss after losing my father, the most difficult time of my life. Thank you Chicago for giving me shelter and a needed refuge from all of the pain experienced in California. Sadly, I can’t stay at my refuge forever. It’s time to face a more empty home. But, I can do this with your help. You’ve given me the courage I needed to live again.

Cheers Chicago!



June 25, 2010 at 5:40 AM 11 comments

Living Room and Dining Nook: Before and After

Today, I am proud to present to you my finished product: a living room and dining nook makeover.  I have been working with a wonderful client, Molly, to decorate her place and to give it a fresh look.  When she first moved in to her place, she purchased furniture in sets but she had grown tired of the look.  I was more than happy to help.  All photos were taken by Enero of Pillbox 79 Productions. She was a pleasure to work with and I would highly recommend her.  This is how it turned out…


And after…

We sold the old couch and chair and replaced it with a more stream lined sofa and two arm chairs.  I also added in a rug from West Elm to bring some warmth to the area.

I changed around the layout of the living room in order to create a separate space from the dining area; this also brought a more intimate feel for when she is entertaining guests in the living room.  The console was a piece that Molly already owned which we moved behind the sofa to serve two functions: as a bar for entertaning  and as a spot to provide more reading light when sitting on the sofa.

The pillows bring in some more color; they were custom made using the following fabrics:

The side table added a fun pop of color; the lamp and small dish were antique fair finds.

We added curtains to bring in more softness and to tie in the blue accent pieces.

The dining area before:

The dining area was pushed against the wall and rarely used, even though one of Molly’s favorite things is to have friends over.  I wanted to provide a more inviting space for them to sit before heading out on the town.

Dining area after:

The scalloped round table has an iron base and the turquoise Napoleon chairs are also iron.  The mirror that is now against the wall is also scalloped matching the shape of the wooden tabletop.  The table and chairs were found at separate antique fairs but I think they fit each other perfectly.  The cowhide blends in to the floor so that it does not compete with the pop of color in the chairs, but rather provides softness between the floor and table and chairs.

If Molly and her friends are planning on having a long dinner at the dining table, they can bring the pillows over from the sofa for added comfort and style.

One of the issues with Molly’s awesome apartment was the lack of light.  She is on the ground floor with a gate out front so the natural light is at a minimum.  We brought in two new lights to the living room area and changed out pendant lights above the kitchen from outdated thick yellow glass tear drop pendants to new thin, clear glass, globe lights from West Elm.  The globe pendants allowed for a great deal more light to shine through.  We also changed the paint color to a soft gray with blue undertones which brought in more light.

If you are interested in my design services, please e-mail me at

June 24, 2010 at 5:15 AM 20 comments

Design Shoppe

Let the round up of fabulous shops in Chicago continue.  Now, if you live in Chicago or are ever there visiting, you have a whole list of places to check out.  Today’s post is near and dear to my heart: Design Shoppe.   It is a special place to me because of it’s cozy feel, fun finds and close proximity to my home.  Design Shoppe is located at 2009 N. Fremont Street in Lincoln Park, exactly three blocks away from my old apartment.  I peeked inside this cute store practically every day.  The owners also provide design services and are always happy to help.  To date I have purchased monk bells, a scalloped antique mirror, a lime green throw and a large white ceramic artichoke from them.  Many of those items were for a client but we have loved every purchase from there.

June 23, 2010 at 8:54 AM Leave a comment

SG Grand Grand Opening

I received a text from a friend yesterday saying, “Where in the world is Kate?”  I thought I should share my whereabouts. We are in the midst of hopping around this great country; the first jump has occured.  We arrived in San Francisco at 11:45 PM on Saturday night.  It’s great to be back in the sunshine state.  But before, I sing praises to my home state, I’ve got to give the lovely state of Illinois, more importantly the magnificent city of Chicago it’s proper good bye.  So this week is devoted to Chicago design.

Today I wanted to share the most amazing send off that a girl could ask for.  This past Friday night, Graham and I attended the grand opening of SG Grand (located at 1822 W. Grand) which is a beautiful shop, owned by Debra Phillips.  Debra has impeccable taste and she uses it to scout unique finds – from a modern bubble light fixture to a rustic rope chandelier.  She does a fantastic job of mixing different styles and making everything look cohesive.  She is also gracious and welcoming.

While at the grand opening, we met Eddie Ross!!  That’s right, Eddie Ross!!  When Eddie walked in the door, I just started muttering “Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God!” to my husband.  Graham did not know who Eddie Ross is, and if you don’t, that’s okay, I will devote an entire post to Eddie next week.  We did get to have a conversation with him and he is as kind as can be.  It was great fun to hear what he and his partner have been up to lately and to chat about design.  Oh the glamorous life. 🙂

Amazing bubble chandelier

I can’t stop thinking about these leather chairs made by a local artist exclusively for SG Grand.

Love everything about this shop!

All images are from the oh so talented blogger “Live Creating Yourself” and from Chicago Home and Garden who were also in attendance.

After walking around SG Grand, we popped into Julia Buckingham Edelmann’s showroom, Debra’s next door neighbor.  I mentioned the chair in yesterday’s post and I’ll be sure to write another post when her showroom is officially open.  I loved seeing Julia in her gorgeous space, meeting her wonderful husband and her awesome employeees.  We finished the night off with a bottle of champagne and fresh tagliatelle over at Kith and Kin.  The perfect ending to such a welcoming and vibrant city…and now the hopping begins….next stop Detroit for a wedding.

June 22, 2010 at 9:13 AM 3 comments

Julia Edelmann’s Office Chair

I am incredibly proud to present to you Julia Buckingham Edelmann’s office chair, of Buckingham ID.  As I blogged about a few months ago, “Beyond Honored/Excited”, I sold her an antique chair.  She took this chair and transformed it to a complete showstopper.  I am in awe of the choices she made to update the chair.  I love it, love it, love it!  Julia is a genius!

With no further ado,

The chair before:

And After:

The front covered in Pierre Frey fabric and painted in high gloss black; the legs were raised but the original casters remain.

The back covered in a different but complimentary gray fabric.

Wow!  Amazing!  Graham and I were lucky enough to go to Julia’s showroom this past Friday.  It will not be opening for another little while.  I”m not sure of the opening date but I’ll let you know when it opens.  The space is jawdropping.  Everything that she has in there I would die to have in my own home.  And I am so proud that my chair is a part of it.  Thank you, Julia!

June 21, 2010 at 10:02 AM 7 comments

Happy Early Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to all the dad’s out there.  Thank you for being a dad.  Father’s Day is still a raw day for me and my family as we lost my dad to Pancreatic Cancer a year and three months ago.  I wish that I could report that we spent Father’s Day doing what my dad loved most.  I would report that we started the morning off with a nice sleep in, then rushed to St. Nicholas Church (always late); after mass, we took a very slow drive, looking at real estate and checking out neighbors; and then we had a long, leisurly breakfast with Dad entertaining us with stories of the mundune such as who his lunching partners were that week.  Once the little ones had their naps, we gathered for a stroll through the park with a backpack brimming with crackers, salami, beer and candy (my absolute favorite things you could possibly fill a backpack with).  We returned home from the walk to prepare ribs on the bar-b-que, swim and to dine outside on the deck looking out at the view, and of course, his grapes.  Did I also mention the weather would be perfect?  If it sounds ideal, that’s because it was.

Unfortunately, I know this is not how the day the will go, as much as I would like it to.  As I prepare for the pain of Father’s Day and I keep in mind my comforting mantra that “he is still with us spiritually and he would want us to be happy,” I can’t help but think about Mother’s Day three years ago now.  We actually had the backpack packed with the exact ingredients just described and we were waiting for my brother and his fiance to come for our walk.  My dad and I were in the kitchen (sneaking licorice and cherry jelly beans with devilish grins on our faces) and we looked out the window to see that my brother and his fiance had pulled up the driveway and were sitting in the car for a while.  Eventually, they got out of the car and my brother was holding his fiance as she cried and they slowly walked towards the front door. My brother’s fiance (now my awesome sister-in-law) had lost her own mother to cancer three years prior. It was clear that Mother’s Day was an incredibly hard day for her as she dearly missed her mother.  Without a second hesitation, my dad dropped everything and walked out to the driveway.  He walked right up to her and hugged her and did not let go until she had a good cry.  That was exactly what she needed.  It was at that moment, on Mother’s Day three years ago, that I was struck by how loving, caring and genuine my father was.  I had been struck with the same thought at other points in my life but this time sticks in my mind as I now long for his hugs.  I wish more then anything this Father’s Day I could pull up my driveway, walk to the door weeping as my husband holds me.  I wish I could look up and see my dad approaching with a face of empathy and unconditional love.  I wish my dad could take me in with open arms and I could rest my head against his protruding belly as his arms wrap around me and protect me from the world; I wish I could stand there in the warmth of his embrace until my tears dried up.  I have found it is his hugs that I miss the most.  There is never a place where I have felt so safe.

To my dad, thank you for always being such an amazing father to myself and to those who married into the family.  You always knew how to make each individual feel special and loved.  I will carry that with me as I try to do the same.

I always love you and I will never forget your hugs.

June 18, 2010 at 6:41 AM 1 comment

Home of Caroline Scheeler

As promised, today I will post pictures from the creative director for Jayson Home and Garden’s home: Caroline Scheeler.  She has been working there for 16 years and most of her decor comes from buying trips or from family heirlooms.  Although she has amazing self control, Scheeler says, “Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of what I find ends up in the store.”  I am swooning over the shots.  Since I’m up to my knees in moving boxes and my head is spinning with errands, I’m going to keep it short and sweet today.  Enjoy Scheeler’s amazing home…

(Images via Country Living and CS Interiors)

June 17, 2010 at 8:48 AM 5 comments

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