Published: March 2013
Interior Designer Krista Watterworth: The HGTV Star Shares Her Spring Favorites for Florida Homes
by Patti Light
Krista Watterworth refers to her signature style as “classic contemporary” – a nod to the traditional while embracing cutting-edge, runway-inspired statement pieces. The former star of HGTV’s “Save My Bath” and “Splurge and Save,” she now makes guest appearances on Restaurant: Impossible and focuses on putting her unique stamp on design projects for Krista Watterworth Design Studio, based in South Florida and New York. This month’s Floridian View cover girl, Krista shares tips and strategies for giving your Florida home a stroke of brilliance and a breath of springtime.
FV: Your design stamp seems to be predominantly clean lines. Did you evolve into this signature?
KW I did. I think there’s always that moment in a designer’s career where she pinpoints her style, and that’s when you know you’ve arrived. It takes a lot of trial and error. (Laughs) And for me, a lot of that happened on television, so forevermore there’s some of my design work that was a little more daring etched in the cyber sphere of You Tube. You have to be that way in the beginning and learn to take risks and be willing to fail in order to discover your identity as a designer. Now I’m in the peak of my aptitude — I have courage as well as knowledge — and everything’s culminated from my work in television, my education in design, and the people that have inspired me and my philosophy:
FV What is your philosophy?
KW My style is Classic Contemporary. I’m from Connecticut so there’s always a nod to history and tradition in my work. I love English architecture and 19th century styling and I like to bring this together with very modern, clean pieces.
FV You’ve done your own shows, designed for celebrities, and have a string of other credits. What are some of your favorites?
KW I’ve been very lucky to have been recognized early on in my career, and I have to thank Nancy Glass for that. She was the one who gave me my first show on HGTV. My most recent TV work is with Rob Van Winkle (The Vanilla Ice Project) on HGTV and Restaurant: Impossible on The Food Network. But my real focus is my boutique design studio and growing client list in Palm Beach and NYC. No matter what I’m doing, my work is emotionally connected to the person I’m designing for. It’s the only way I know how to work.
FV: So what are you bringing into your designs right now?
KW: Everything is bright and bold but I always route it in nurturing neutrals. Yellow has been the new black this past year; but color is getting even brighter. Polka dots, oversized floral prints, and large geometric patterns: Fun! The Knoll Barcelona chair in red is my most recent favorite – a chair like that makes a statement in any room.
FV: Where do you get your inspiration?
KW: Recently? The runway. It subconsciously feeds my design choices. (Rachel Zoe is a secret obsession of mine.) I was looking in a fashion magazine at Oscar de la Renta’s new beautiful line of red leather. That same day, when I was shopping for a client to find a bold statement for the new uber mod kitchen I designed for them, I found these cherry red metal bar stools. It’s amazing just how closely aligned fashion and interiors are.
FV: So what are the fashion color trends we’ll see reflected in our homes?
KW: Neon Yellow! Blood orange, cobalt, bright turquoise, lime, fuchsia. The jewel-tones of course never seem to disappear. (Laughs) They’re either in the background, or they’re somehow part of what we say in our homes. People tend to feel safer with these colors, and they’re easier to work with because of their proven longevity. But you can pop them up with trendier colors.
FV: Even though we don’t go through dramatic seasonal changes in Florida, we still want to give our homes a fresh look for spring. What’s a good starting place?
FW: The first thing I do with any of my Florida Clients is remove the drapery. In Florida it’s all about the sheers! And the ability to control the intake of light. I tell people don’t obscure the exact reason why live here – the view! We want to feel like we’re outside even if we’re not. This openness visually gives you a sense of square footage. The second tip: Organization is everything. Our home is an outward manifestation of what we feel inside. If you’ve got lots of clutter around, emotionally that affects you.
FV: So now that we’ve created a lighter space, what are the coolest new textures or pieces to bring into the interior environment?
KW: Mixing the hard and soft finishes seamlessly. Lace with chrome and stainless steel or rough wood mixed with chenille or velvet. People are living more simply, more casually and they’re more attune to the earth. I’m seeing a growing popularity with eco-friendly, sustainable, and earthy trends. Some of my favorites are Brazilian hardwood, walnut and redwood – and always reclaimed.
FV: What’s an easy way to create big change?
KW: I think a great way to give a face lift to your house is through soft goods – throw pillows, drapery, linens and upholstery. This is my wheelhouse: how to get a lot of bang for the buck without renovating. What’s hot on the runways is color that’s kicked up a notch and large geometric patterns. Wallpaper has made a comeback and just an accent wall is enough of a statement. And of course Spring is the time to implement a change, a reawakening.
FV: You make color look so easy. What are some “rules” to make it work?
KW: It’s tricky to work with color. It’s not for the faint at heart and it’s something that you can’t take lightly. I think combining colors is where the novice designer can miss the mark. My advice? Hire a professional!
FV: What common mistakes do people make?
KW: Committing to seriously to a layout. If you invest in a statement piece like an Eames lounge chair and ottoman (or anything designed by Le Corbusier or Knoll), remember you can put it in one room today and another room tomorrow! (Laughs) Bring some upstairs furniture downstairs, place your bed on another wall, or purchase a new piece of art. You can find original art on line or at art festivals without spending half your savings.
FV: How can you update a space dramatically – and quickly – using what’s there?
KW: New lighting can transform a space. Removing outdated wallpaper. Change out area rugs for new ones. Painting furniture is a great way to bring a fresh look. If I am short on time and I have a large piece, like an outdated media hutch, I’ll take it to the auto body shop. There they’re professionally sprayed with a super durable finish in any color. I also have a very talented refinisher I use that does amazing work.
FV: Let’s say I have a few bucks and a few minutes. What can I do to make a change in my environment?
KW: It sounds simple but there should always be a vase of fresh flowers in your home, no matter what. The spring flowers are so beautiful and so vibrant. It makes me smile to see a vase of fresh flowers – and it’s about finding joy and happiness in these little moments in your home.
HOT NEW COLORS
“Kicked Up a Notch Hues” Look to the runway for cues:
Mix neons with jewel tones to create your own look:
Ruby with bright turquoise
Navy with neon yellow
Emerald with Fuchsia
Amethyst with blood orange
MUST-HAVE DESIGN PIECES
Moooi Random Light
A 41” hanging ball, perfect for the high ceilings in so many Florida homes. “It looks like the moon is rising indoors.”
Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman
In a variety of leather finishes with a walnut shell, it’s a comfortable expression of modernism. “It’s a piece of art that you can fall asleep in!”
White Carrera Marble
Use as a backsplash, countertop or table top. “It’s the most beautiful element you can add. It’s classic, yet it works in contemporary settings.”
Soft Goods: Allmodern.com
Furniture: Design Within Reach
Accessories: ABC Carpet & Home
Rugs: The Rug Company
Media: Bo Concept
Paint: Benjamin Moore
Glassware: Michael C. Fina
Bedding: Restoration Hardware
Upholstery Fabrics: Kravet
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