sneak peek: susan of esther k


as i write this post i’m in between packing up boxes to move out of my apartment. as i’m down to the final pieces, i find myself totally relating to susan (of the beautiful jewelry line esther k) who describes her rowhouse live/work space by saying, ” i like to surround myself with things that I find on my travels and since i am totally sentimental, i love to see all the letters, trinkets, and sweet things i’ve been given over the years out in the open.” susan has lived in cincinnati, new orleans, new york and now philadelphia, (and all the places in between) so i can definitely appreciate the need for little reminders of the places we’ve been. and if you check out her stunning line of jewelry (named after her amazingly creative great-grandmother, esther, who came to the states from romania), you can definitely understand how these objects that surround her also inspire. i’m just jealous of the beautiful light-filled loft where it all happens. click here for more, full-sized images. {thanks, susan!}anne

(photos by emily wren)


CLICK HERE for the rest of esther’s studio after the jump!

This is where all my creations begin. I work on my jewelry in a rickety loft area in my apartment on a table strewn with all sorts of chains and charms. It’s hot and stuffy, but is great for creativity, since I’m away from the rest of the distractions in my home. It’s just me and a little radio spilling out tunes. Maybe the starfish will turn up in a future collection.


My building is crazy old and the marble fireplace is a cool feature that has been left intact. While I was working for designer Madeline Weinrib, she gave me the two bags as gifts; one’s from her collection, the other is an old carpet bag from Iran. They’re both so beautiful I can’t decide which I like better.  I’m obsessed with photographs old and new and couldn’t resist picking up the sherbet-hued, antique postcards in South America. The black and white photo is by Colleen Longo and the other one is a treasured picture of my family.  I love anything from the sea, hence the mermaids and shells.





  1. rachel says:

    what a gorgeous space. love the flooring and the huge windows. I can’t help but be distracted by all the lovely dresses, however…

  2. I love all-white spaces. The color of everything just pops, especially with all that natural light. Makes me wish I lived in a loft. Good luck with the move!!

  3. Emily says:

    this is an incredible home. i love the white with splashes of color everywhere.

  4. yansy says:

    I love this home and the pops of color in all of the rooms.

  5. enhabiten says:

    i love everything about this place. quirky but still with an airy and open feeling. very personal. also love her jewelry. plus, t rex fan here.

  6. WOW! I can only dream of having a studio that stunning and light filled. I am so loving that handbag in the last photo and the beautiful little tea table!!

  7. oh nice! I bought a necklace from her, the brass ginko leaves. I LOVE alll her jewelry and it’s my favorite piece at the moment.

    1. grace says:


      i bought that one too! it’s my new favorite thing to where with everything. ;)


  8. ooh! so nice to see such an exquisite philadelphia space! quite a feat in a city with such tiny proportions! beautiful!

  9. I love how she decorates with her dresses…what a great way to bring color to a room while using what you already have!

  10. I have the ginko necklace too! I love this apartment/loft. It’s one of those beautiful old Philadelphia apartments that are all over the city… but Susan’s is especially lovely.

  11. JC says:

    Everything here is so incredible, but oh! that fireplace! And I’ve been looking for a nice, sturdy antique clothing rack for ages–hers is so lovely!

  12. this place is my crush of the week…

  13. Jacquelyn says:

    I love how Susan surrounds herself with the things that are special to her–you can really see her character coming through.

  14. Teri says:

    Definitely a place I could see myself! So bright and open. This looks like a truly lived in home.. cozy.

  15. Emily says:

    How beautiful! I can’t wait to move so I can start implementing all the stunning ideas you’ve been giving me lately!

  16. Beth says:

    The first thing that came out of my mouth when I saw this apartment was “WOW”! I love how Susan, Esther K, incorporates her clothing and desing into her decorating. Oh, her jewerly is SOO uniquely beautiful.

  17. i love her loft – and i used to live in cincinnati – wonder if we’ve ever met?

  18. catherine reimer says:

    are you sure you’re not a textile artist?… ;D
    lovely, sweet space

  19. andrea says:

    Susan, I am so happy to see your apartment on Design*Sponge. Yaayy! And I’m still loving that dress.

  20. janet says:

    YAY – Philadelphia!

    I love the bright pops of color especially the oranges and pinks.

  21. chuck snackmaster says:

    what a great place–i know a few women who love her jewelry–Esther K and Susan are on their way to bigger successes

  22. Katie (Australia) says:

    Lovely collection of treasures in a relaxed & beautifully livable space.

  23. Colleen says:

    I’m totally in love with her studio!
    That first picture makes me want to move right in.

  24. Love the red floors and all that light!

  25. what a vibrant livley space!

  26. Libai says:

    this is so super me.. i love the artistic unstructured look..

    Hi Design Sponge, i love your site

  27. elle says:

    this is EXACTLY how i envision my perfect apartment. so inspiring and personal, goes beyond just following design trends.

  28. maggie says:

    I am drooling over this space… the red floors made such an impression when you posted it days ago that I had to come back and take a look at this sneak peek one more time.

    i love d*sponge

  29. Lois says:

    Susan is a special woman, who is also my cousin-I can’t imagine being so talented in so many areas.
    I enjoy seeing what she can create.

  30. patrick from n.o. says:

    your work is incredibly beautiful and imaginative… and the loft is oh so fabulous

  31. Ana says:

    love it…mnmmm….this home is for me :)


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