Design Experts

20 questions with Centsational Girl

20 questions with Centsational Girl Author: Style At Home

Design Experts

20 questions with Centsational Girl

When it comes to DIY on a budget, no one does it better than Kate Riley Eshoo -- or Centsational Girl, as her loyal blog followers know her. Finding disheveled furniture at thrift stores and making it new is Kate's specialty, and her Centsational Girl blog follows every step of every project she completes .

We caught up with Kate to ask 20 Questions about design, food, renovating and fun tidbits {like which Hepburn lady she prefers}.

1 If you could shadow any designer for a day, who would it be?

CG Barbara Barry – she’s the designer whose style I most emulate.  Her designs for Ann Sacks and Wedgewood are perfection in my eyes. 

2 Where do you look for an obscure source of inspiration?

CG Quite often in nature -- branches, blooms, an oyster shell, a bursting dandelion, patterns in bark, a wispy transparent leaf, or even a semi-precious stone. Anything botanical. 

3 Favourite restaurant?
It was Aureole in New York, but that was before they moved to 42nd Street. I’m looking forward to trying it when I go back. Locally, it would be Bouchon in Napa. 

4 What’s your favourite room to decorate?
I’d love to be unleashed in an empty formal dining room, free to add wall coverings, architectural moldings, a stunning sideboard, a conversation-starting light fixture, upholstered chairs, and grand table settings. Bring on the big, bold, dramatic glamour and unexpected elements!

5 What’s your current paint colour obsession?

CG Metallic finishes on furniture -- lately, I’m smitten with silver leaf and gilded detail. I’ve just refinished a sideboard for my bedroom in cream and glazed it with Opulence Pearl by Pratt & Lambert to give it a pearlescent finish, then I added a mirrored top to reflect light under the window.  Shimmer finishes add that dash of Old Hollywood to a space.

The office space that Kate redecorated features tons of fab finds from the thrift store, including the tall white hutch.

6 If one song could be the soundtrack to your life, what would it be?
I’m a Woman by Peggy Lee. 

7 What’s the one store you could spend hours browsing?
For fine furniture and inspiration, I like Ruby Living in Mill Valley and Sunrise Home in San Rafael, California. For fashion, my favorite spot in all the world is the accessories department at Bergdorf Goodman. 

8 London, Paris or New York?
Paris for the ambiance, New York for everything else. 

9 If money were no object, what one thing would you buy?
I’d build a stunning conservatory over my courtyard, designed by Marston & Langinger, with a view of our vineyard. Then I’d fill it with citrus trees, exotic plants in oversized urns, and antique iron sofas with custom deep seat cushions. Of course, if I had that, then I’d never leave home!

10 What do you consider to be the most iconic design piece of the past century?
Too difficult to name just one! Two pieces that seem to fit everywhere are the Baldwin Slipper chair and the Starck Louis Ghost chair. 

Kate's ultra chic living room in her Northern California home includes a lot of DIY projects -- including a beautiful mirror that was once an ugly bronzed brown colour.


11 Favourite movie?
CG I adore the classics.  It’s a tie between All About Eve with Bette Davis and Adam’s Rib with Katharine Hepburn. Plus, I’ll watch anything based on Jane Austen -- my favorite is Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow. 

12 What’s your favourite movie interior?
The estate in the classic Sabrina with Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart or Big Daddy’s plantation in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. To live in, the house from What Lies Beneath or Stepmom – I can’t decide, but I do prefer traditional homes like mine. 

13 What do you think is the easiest way to update a room?
Paint, molding, modern throw pillows and fresh flowers. 

14 Best coffee table book?
In the Pink: Dorothy Draper by Carleton Varney

15 What’s your fave way to spend a lazy Sunday?
Wine tasting with my husband and friends here in Sonoma. I never get tired of walking through the vineyards with a glass of wine, smelling the dirt and watching the grapes grow. 

centsational-drawers.jpg Kate bought this chest of drawers from a thrift shop for $13 and showed that with a little elbow grease and some paint, one man's trash can turn out looking like a million bucks.
16 Do you like to be the entertainer or be entertained?
I’ll decorate for the party, and hope my guests entertain me! 

17 What do you think is the best renovation you can do to your home?
Update the flooring, light fixtures and hardware. Sometimes, it’s replacing the windows too. 

18 What is your fave space that you’ve designed?
So far, my home office, but I’m just getting warmed up. 

19 What’s the biggest design faux pas?
Too much faux anything. 

20 Marilyn, Audrey or Jackie?
I’d say Audrey, but in truth, I prefer the other Hepburn. 

centsational-bathroom.jpg Light and bright, Kate's master bath is the final result of several DIY projects and a great eye for decorating.

To see more of Kate's projects, visit her Centsational Girl blog.


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Design Experts

20 questions with Centsational Girl