sneak peek: corbin lee gurkin


photographer corbin lee gurkin nearly always has her bags packed and ready to set off on a new adventure. she’s photographed weddings everywhere from india to italy and all over the u.s.a. but when she’s not jet-setting all over the world, she sets down her bags in charleston, where she’s created a home filled with memories of her travels. (see more of corbin’s home on flickr!) {thanks, corbin & thatcher and all the puppies – truman, waldorf & eloise!}amy

[I love Charleston but coastal décor is not at all my style, so when I bought a home on a rural island just over the bridge from downtown, I felt I was in for bit of a challenge.  My own work has always been inspired by Lewis Carroll and I’ve definitely designed the house with his sort of whimsical sensibility in mind. I love Country French, I love Swedish design and gush over those stormy blue tones; I’m totally inspired by ornate chateaus in the Loire Valley, and I’ve spent half of my adult life living in Italy, so there were a lot of different possibilities swirling around in my mind when I began to design my own home.  Ultimately, I wanted to showcase the highlights of my life of travel. I finally had a place for all of the treasures I’ve collected over the years and I still bring home little pieces from each place I visit.  I like the idea of having a “passport stamped object” to remind me of those experiences.  My surroundings have become an eclectic mix of antiques, photography and paintings made by myself or friends, and flea market finds.]


[photo above: The dining room set was the last major piece of furniture that the house needed and I found the entire set for a steal at a Habitat for Humanity store.  The gold accents were originally yellow so I repainted these to give more formality to the table and chairs.  I recovered the chairs in a rose emu leather that happened to be a perfect match to the wall color.  The pink beaded chandelier was a gift from my dear friend Jan Wilkinson, an amazing designer in North Carolina.  It was so perfectly feminine and I liked the way its pale color “popped” from the surrounding walls.]


[photo above: The claw foot tub was the selling point.  I love nothing more than taking a hot bath while reading a John Irving novel and this tub was to die for.  I found the cream cabinet at a farm in Charleston and I later added the patterned fabric panels on the doors.]


[photo above: This is my guest bedroom and more often where my dog Eloise enjoys her three o’clock nap.  The headboard is an old wooden door that I attached to the wall.  I had the pink toile pillows made from a Ralph Lauren fabric.]

CLICK HERE for the rest of Corbin’s peek (and all the images on one page!)


[photo above: This is my little home office.  It is closed off from the living room with white French doors and I decorated it in a salon style.  There is a gallery I used to visit in the Uffizi where all of the paintings are hung just like this and I always loved the style.  The frames have been collected over the years and I have filled them with old postcards or foreign currency. I picked up the oil painting at a flea market in Berlin and the nude drawing is by a friend of mine, Graham Allen.  My desk is a chippy farm table from the 1800s.  I loved the color!]


[photo above: This is my favorite piece in the house.  I found the blue chesterfield at a flea market and it was one of those “buy now and figure out how to get it home later” moments. It’s incredibly comfortable, serving as one of many resting spots for my two brussels griffons, Waldorf & Eloise.]


[photo above: I bought this chandelier from a consignment shop and it was likely made in the North Carolina mountains – a little nod to my roots.  There are small bird accents through out the house and this piece incorporated some of those natural elements.]


[photo above: The layout of my house is very open so the kitchen can be seen from the living and dining rooms.  I hung the windows to create a bit of a divider which would hide the refrigerator and sink.  The “Corbin” sign has sentimental value – my father passed away when I was 15 and while I was growing up, worked as a  traveling salesman.  He brought this old “Corbin Ltd” store sign home from one of his trips and I’ve had it since I was about 6 years old.  It’s a special reminder of him.]


[What started off as a small prop collection for a photo shoot (see the project here) has grown in to a rather massive assortment of vintage tins. I love English and French tea tins in particular, and have picked most these up on trips to Europe or Maine.  I try to find a tin from each new place I visit, but the best ones have come from Portobello Road Market in Notting Hill.]


[photo above: I bought this bed just out of college when I moved to my first New York apartment.  It’s an Italian piece that I found at the ABC Carpet and Home warehouse in the Bronx.  My childhood bed was also cream cane and after 23 years of sleeping in a twin, it felt like such a luxury to finally sleep in a queen!  The blue striped suede bedding was handmade from a remnant bolt.]


[photo above: The chest of drawers belonged to my father and I had it refinished by artist Steve Pelland. My mother gave me the trousseau mirror when I moved into my first apartment and it has followed me ever since.  She has an amazing eye and has guided me with many of the design decisions in the house.]


[photo above: The corner cabinet is a family heirloom. It was in my grandmother’s dining room in Richmond, Virginia and I had it refinished in cream and blue to become more of a bedroom piece.  I found that fabulous dress for $20 in a bin at a flea market – I’ve used it over an over again in photo shoots.]


[photo above: I was inspired to create this wallpaper after seeing Anne Frank’s wall of starlets in the hidden annex in Amsterdam.  It is now a museum and I was tremendously moved by this little vignette in her young life.  I designed the wallpaper in photoshop using scanned family photos and sent the final file to be printed by designyourwall.com.  Most of the photos are of my mother, who was an accomplished runway model and actress.  I have held onto her old snapshots over the years and finally found a way to showcase them.]


[photo above: This is an old train mirror and the photo is of my partner Thatcher and I.  It was taken in Nepal after we had just spent the afternoon swimming with elephants – one of the best days of my life!  Thatcher is a humanitarian photographer and the little elephants around the house are nod to our first trip together spent at an elephant reserve in Kenya.]

  1. virgen says:

    Ooooh… I LOVE all those little boxes !!!

  2. Hanna says:

    I have been trying to figure out what kind of sofa I have for years! It was given to me by my grandparents who found it at an estate sale. Now I know it’s a Chesterfield style sofa! It’s not leather, but it’s about that color. Too cool. I love it!

  3. Jovee says:

    I really love this site /anxiously await every house tour. This tour is particularly lovely (in my opinion). What I wouldn’t do for a baby blue chesterfield sofa!! It’s just so wonderful.
    @Lora, I’m a big fan of lots of color and of honest opinions. Keep giving them:)

  4. Louise says:

    Hi from the UK! I love your house, fabulous use of colour, texture and form. Can see you are a creative soul. you are lucky..my partner would freak at pink walls, ha ha! Only just got him into floral fabrics so working on him slowly. Lovely to see British vintage stuff finding its way over from Portobello Market into an appreciative home. I found this site a month ago and catch up at the end of my working day for inspiration, thank you!

  5. Ting says:

    Fabulous pink – can you share the color?

  6. Heidi says:

    This is EXACTLY how I would decorate my place if I wasn’t abysmally lazy in that way…Ha! Seriously, though….those vintage tins had me drooling. ♥♥♥!!!!

    Heidi

  7. Becky says:

    Just love the color of those shutters. I had been trying to talk my husband into painting them that color, but he’s feeling as if it’s not masculine enough. We’re going for black shutters now, but I’m thinking about making a play to paint the door that color blue now…

  8. erin says:

    I love the juxtaposition of the new and old in the photograph where you have your mac and the vintage photos. so cute!

  9. Yanet says:

    I love the farm table desk. I also love the corner curio cabinet in the bedroom. Great idea.

  10. i’m in charleston too! love the house!

  11. Meagan says:

    Corbin’s house is as beautiful as she is, inside and out-both her and her house! Gorgeous! Thank you for posting this!

  12. Toronto Elli says:

    I have to say, that this interior has really its own personality. Very stylish place with a little bit of vintage vibe. Chosen colours put so much life into this house. Different materials and accessories make this place to an amazing space especially for young, temperamental people, who like the artful play like this. Successful composition of colours and objects create an interesting rhythm in this nice work of art. These inspiring pictures can help everyone to change the “interior of horror” into stunning place. This is an example how to furnish and decorate our homes, so they reflex our personality and we feel well and comfortable there.

    Best regards,
    Elli

  13. kristina says:

    LOVE the doggies
    and the wallpaper!!!
    beautiful home

  14. Anne says:

    I would love to live here- I wouldn’t change a thing! Can you tell me what the fabric on the cabinet doors in the bathroom is? I have to have it! Thanks so much!

  15. mariah says:

    shut up!!!! most awesome!!!!

  16. Laurie says:

    That pink in your office is A M A Z I N G. Would you share the color and source? Lovely lovely home.

  17. Eileen 2 says:

    It’s brilliant to echo the tub color in the wallpaper panels on an old cabinet. I am SO GONNA STEAL that great idea.

    Adore that rounded drapery holder above the bed. Where I can find something akin to that — but less frilly?

  18. I need to dig through some files to find all of these paint colors, but I will post them shortly! Such a thrill that so many of you are enjoying the house :-)
    Feel free to email me with questions. The home is also on the site homeexchange.com
    ~Corbin

  19. emily says:

    what a perfectly pink room.

  20. terri says:

    absolutely one of my favorites!!

  21. Ting says:

    Corbin, yes, please, share the colors here!

  22. Judi Powers says:

    What a treat to be able to see your home Corbin. You are as talented in the home decor department as you are in photography. Loved all of it.

  23. Polly says:

    I LOVE the photo wallpaper!
    xx

  24. Polly says:

    Oh and I’m soooo jealous of those vintage tins. I am collecting them slowly but I only have about 6 at the moment!
    xx

  25. herve leger says:

    oh ,this is what i want,thanks.

  26. that photo paper is brilliant

  27. Very stylish place with a little bit of vintage vibe. Chosen colours put so much life into this house. Different materials and accessories make this place to an amazing space especially for young

  28. Candace Walton says:

    I would love to know all the paint colors, too. Have you been able to post them and I somehow missed it?
    Thank you so much.

  29. Paint Colors are here!

    For the porch: Valspar – Spa Pool in high gloss

    Office & Living/Dining Room: Benjamin Moore – Sultan’s Palace in Aura Paint

    Bedroom: Porter – Heavenly Blue

    Feel free to email me with other questions!

    1. paige says:

      What color is the exterior of the house.

  30. Maria says:

    Hi. Love your post. Would love to know the name of the other exterior colors. Thanks, Maria

  31. This is an example how to furnish and decorate our homes, so they reflex our personality and we feel well and comfortable there.

  32. Uncle Charles & Charlotte says:

    Corbin, we are so very proud of you and your accomplishments. Your house with all the unique pieces were beautiful, and could only be displayed by you. The family pictures and furture have brought tears to our eyes. So many good family memories!! We would love to see your home one day. We are also looking forward to seeing you and your future mate along with your adorable dogs.
    Love, Uncle Charles & Charlotte

  33. Larissa says:

    Wow! How beautiful. I love the mix of styles, colours, textures and items. It seems like every single piece has a story and a history in your house. Nothing is included without it having significance. Thank you for the gorgeous photos – I’ll certainly be looking at them for inspiration in my own home.

  34. Elizabeth Ann Herring says:

    Hi! Could you please tell me the name of the color you used in the bedroom (blue)? Love it!
    Thanks!

  35. Luwam says:

    Hello, could you also please tell me the shade/color of pink you used for the dining room in the first picture? I love the rustic look of the shelves and dresser in the bedroom :)

  36. Michelle says:

    I Really like the old fashioned bath tube. Did you paint that yourself and restore it in any way.

  37. Filipp says:

    I am totally going to do the photos in the washroom idea this weekend!

  38. Paige says:

    what color is the exterior of the house?

  39. Paige says:

    what color is the door and exterior of the housse

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