Stylist, Raina Kattelson, is a room whisperer when it comes to taking a beautifully designed space and cajoling it to "talk" to the camera. You have no doubt seen her invisable hand at work, as she has collaborated with countless designers (Mathew Patrick Smyth and Thom Filicia....to name a few) and shelter magazines in capturing some of the most iconic design at its best. She is known to take a droolworthy room, and make it pop off the page. Raina's language is that of details combined with a sharp editor's eye- a blast of color here, inviting coffee table vignette or the perfect nubby throw cascading over a sofa arm. Raina shares with us a few secrets to styling, some of her favorite shopping haunts and her wish-list of designers that she would like to work with.
IC: What have you learned working with such an impressive roster of designers?
Raina: Edit, edit, edit and trust your instincts.
IC: If you could work with any designer, who would it be and where would you like it to be published?
Raina: There are so many amazing designers who’s work I love it’s hard to choose, Brad Ford, Carrier & Company, Grant K. Gibson, Nickey Kehoe, Roman and Williams, the list goes on. Living etc. would be pretty great as would Elle Decor.
IC: We all want our homes to look as though they could appear on the pages of a shelter magazine. Can you share with us some tips as to how to create a “stylized” look at home?
Raina: I collect what I love, vintage, modern, odd bits. Being a stylist means being a collector, I’m always finding some great piece that “someday” I will use in a shoot. Somewhere between the gathering and bringing home, it all falls in place. I say mix it up. I always want my home to feel like a home not a designed space.
IC: Coffee table-top: Any accessorizing secrets?
Raina: My coffee table is an ever rotating spot for my latest favorites. The things I want to look at everyday: design books, a fabulous candlestick or two, a stunning bowl filled with shells, rocks, vintage game pieces etc. And all pulled together with color. And it should be big, I designed mine large enough to include all that plus a few cocktails.
IC: How do colors play a role in accessorizing?
Raina: I love color, especially bright clear colors, picking one or 2 colors and repeating them throughout a space. It could be a piece of pottery, the color of a book, a piece of art, candles... repeat it throughout the space and it will feel harmonious.
IC: What is your favorite city to shop for the home. Any secret sources you can share?
Raina: It seems that whatever city I am in, in whatever part of the world there is something fabulous. New York is of course amazing and so many styles and pieces from all over the world migrate there. It’s not exactly a secret but ABC Home is an amazing resource. It's like a museum for the home. Haus interior is small but everything is perfect. Michelle Varian- she has an incredible eye and her new line of wallpapers is to die for. I was in Istanbul not long ago and fell for Tulu, wonderful fabrics and objects. In San Francisco I love Paxton Gate and Aria, both have amazing odd bits that I love . In Amsterdam: Frozen Fountain, Kitsch Kitchen and just about any flea market in the world.
IC: Are there any important differences between styling a home and styling for a shoot?
Raina: In a shoot you are making vignettes and moments, you don’t see the whole, for better or worse. In a home you take it in all at once so there needs to be a larger relation between the pieces and spaces.
IC: Your blog, astylistslife.com, tells us that you have designed since a child…. progressing from creating clothes for your Barbie, to decorating your room, reading Vogue and then-one of your favorite pastimes as a child - shopping at Bloomingdale’s with your Dad (the respected photographer , Sy Kattelson). What did you learn from him that impacts your work and the role art and design play in your life?
Raina: My Dad is amazing is so many ways and from him I learned to develop an eye. He gave me such freedom to explore many aspects of design from when I was young, redoing my room, over and over, putting together crazy outfits and later in design school to explore all areas of design without freaking that I wasn’t focusing on one particular area of design. We spent a lot of time at museums, both historical houses and art museums as well as flea markets. I also spent a huge amount of time watching old movies and listening to him and his artist friends discuss art. And btw in those days Bloomies was theater- it was a pretty amazing place to hone your eye.
IC: Your husband, Robert Butscher, is an architect. How do your aesthetic styles compare? What are you teaching your two daughters about design (who we understand are already quite opinionated)?
Raina: We have pretty similar styles, we both like a comfortable, modern light filled space with a mix of styles. I am definitely more interested in the “stuff” then he is, and I like to change things up a lot just for the sake of change- I can drive him nuts with that. As far as our girls, a lot of our family outings and trips involve designing in one way or another so I guess I am just trying to continue the lessons learned from my Dad.
IC: What is the best part of blogging for you? Who are some of the bloggers that you follow regularly (in any field)?
Raina: I love to be able to share interesting design bits with my readers and have a design conversation. The biggest and best suprise from blogging has been the way that I’ve made friends all across the world, Morroco, Australia, England etc. it’s really quite amazing and not something I expected when I started. Bloggers I follow regularly: My Marrakash, House of Brinson, Spoon Fork Bacon, David Stark Sketchbook, The Sartorialist, Bright Bazaar, The Style Files, Emma’s Design, Design Sponge.
IC: There is so much going on in design today and the way it is being shared with the public. Do you have any favorite shelter publications/blogs that we should keep our eye on? How about fashion publications or blogs?
Raina: I have to say that as much as I am involved with online media I still love a paper magazine. There is nothing like curling up with a new magazine. I love what Meg and Anh-Minh of Anthology Magazine have been doing. It feels like they are your friends who are just sharing their favorite finds with you. That said I also adore the fresh feel and mix of fashion and home that Crystal and Anne are sharing over at Rue Magazine. I also can't wait to see what Sweet Paul comes up with on both his blog and magazine. Heart Home Magazine is another favorite.
Raina Kattelson specializes in interior and still life styling with a sophisticated, lively and colorful eye. She has a background in fashion, interior and display design. Raina has produced, art directed and styled for a diverse range of clients. Most recently her work has been featured in "Living Traditions: Interiors by Matthew Patrick Smyth" and in Susanna Salks's just released book "Be your Own Decorator." Raina also worked with Thom Filicia’s on his upcoming book "Hammered."