Home & Garden

Kate Spade offers insights on her stylish home

By Stacy Downs - The Kansas City Star

Many of the interior design touches in the Park Avenue apartment that style icon Kate Spade shares with her husband, Andy, and their daughter, Bea, 7, are inspired by her mother’s tastes.

We talked to Spade, 49, about growing up in the Midwest, entertaining and a little thing called Pinterest.

Question: Tell us about your home.

Answer: We live in an apartment (in Manhattan) built in 1910. The building has 12 floors. We live on the third floor. I love where it is, rather than a top floor, because it’s tree-lined and we see the leaves outside.

Q: What other qualities do you like about your home?

A: It’s very open, and it’s on a corner. Windows wrap the apartment. It was a wreck. The guy who had lived there had been there for 40 years. No one had taken down the molding, which we appreciated. We didn’t move any walls, like we’ve seen a lot of people do. Why would you mess with such a great layout?

Q: What’s your favorite room in your home?

A: It’s a room we call the red room. It’s a room painted red, with bookshelves. It has a TV, too, but we hide it. It’s a fun, cozy room that most people would call a study or library. It’s our little family room, where we go if Bea wants to watch a movie.

Q: What’s your next home project?

A: We have a place we bought in Napa in St. Helena (Calif.). Again, it’s a big wreck. We like do-overs. Andy likes everything to be as original as possible. He does the architecture. I make it softer.

Q: How do you make interiors softer?

A: Lighting is the most important. I love lamps. I can’t stand overhead lighting. I have to have everything on a dimmer. In the morning, it’s on bright. It’s cheery. When the day goes on, the light gets a little lower. I like lampshades to be pleated and made out of fabric. And I like paper ones when they’re gold-lined — it’s such pretty light.

Q: Do you collect anything?

A: My husband collects art. It doesn’t matter who it’s by or where it’s from. What matters is whether we like it. I collect books, a lot of books.

Q: Does any of your interior design style come from growing up in Kansas City?

A: A lot of it comes from my mom. She never let us turn the overhead lights on. Also, I picked up the salon-style way of hanging wall art because I grew up with it.

Q: How do you like to entertain at home?

A: I like to make it very easy. No fuss. My mother would never let us do the dishes when guests were there. It was very relaxed. I like people to sit and have a drink. I make my dinner parties very early, like 5:30 (p.m.) or 5:45 (p.m.). It’s not as cool, for sure, as the days we’d go out to dinner at 10 p.m.

Q: You sold your namesake company five years ago. What’s next?

A: I don’t know. I enjoy spending time with my daughter. It’s an amazing opportunity. At some point, she’s going to be sick of me and not want me around. She likes tennis. She begged to take violin. I knew she wasn’t going to like it. Thank goodness we didn’t buy a violin, we rented it.

Q: What do you think of Pinterest?

A: Pinterest? What’s Pinterest?

Q: It’s a social media site where people virtually pin inspiring images and share them.

A: Oh, interesting. I’m admittedly not that into the Internet.

Kate Valentine (formerly Kate Spade) made the first public appearance for her new fashion brand, Frances Valentine, at the Halls department store in Crown Center.