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amy azzaritointerior designInteriorssneak peeks

sneak peek: corbin lee gurkin

by Amy Azzarito


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.]

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