amy azzaritointerior designInteriorssneak peeks

sneak peek: kate schintzius

by Amy Azzarito

When associate designer for M. Design Interiors Kate Schintzius moved into this West Hollywood apartment, she was after a “Palm Beach in the ’70s” vibe. The apartment building is a Streamline Moderne Art Deco style, so it features great period details like crown moldings, curved walls and a porthole-style peephole. But Kate is a typical designer in that, by the time she’s finished with one space, she’s already itching to make changes! While she loves the Palm Beach look, she is currently toying with the idea of taking the apartment in a more masculine direction, a ’70s James Bond sort of feel — dark, dusky and moody! Would love to see what she does with that! Thanks Kate and thanks to Molly for the tip! All images by Justin Officer. — Amy A.

My thing is vintage, thrift, eBay and Craigslist shopping. I have a hard time buying new or paying retail, because I know if I keep my eyes open, I’ll find what I want at the right price and it will be much more well-built, unusual and fabulous than anything made today. Pretty much everything I have was a family piece or a good deal, with the exception of a few splurges.

Image above: This is the second dining room I’ve had that I’ve painted this high-gloss, navy blue color by Fine Paints of Europe. It’s dark and sexy but fresh at the same time. The credenza is really clever — the frame around the doors pulls out, bringing an expanding accordion support layer with it, so it becomes a pull-out table that seats two to ten people, depending on how many leaves you add (which are stored inside). My everyday table is a ’70s brass and rattan-wrapped base with a round glass-top that seats four, surrounded by those vintage S-shaped brass chairs, which are upholstered in navy blue Ultrasuede that was from the bargain bin at the fabric store. You can spill anything on it and it wipes off with a wet sponge like magic. There are also four étagère (open-sided) bookcases in this room, so the room pulls double duty as a library.

Image above: Design, architecture, fashion and art books are my bag — I have a ton of them, so I used a stack of them here as a side table. My favorites are on vintage design and ’70s Southern California surf and skateboarding culture. Even lifestyle or biographical books include photos of people in some kind of room, so you can scope out the interiors of the era. I got these chairs for around $35 for the pair at a thrift store, and the fabric on the cushions is a vintage deep-green jungle print.

Image above: This is the original 1930s kitchen, and while that might be a bummer to some people, I prefer the original tile with red accent liner tiles, chrome trim and wood cabinetry to today’s cookie-cutter and flimsy builder’s special materials. The kitchen is a nice, clean, classic slate, so I pimped it out with a mod fabric on the roman shade that to me looks like gas flames, so it’s a pretty literal reference to cooking. The palette in here also gives me an excuse to collect that great Le Creuset enameled cookware in the original orange (and red and taxicab yellow!). Tip: Get on the mailing list for their coupons and shop the outlet!

Image above: Several things in this photo came with the apartment. The tree was hand painted and is inspired by a mural by French fashion designer Paul Poiret. The style of the mural is a nice counterpoint to the clean lines of the mid-century sofa. I found the lamps in Palm Springs, which were a major score — they are possibly by genius ’70s furniture designer and photographer Willy Rizzo. The coffee tables open up to reveal bars with built-in ice buckets! Sadly, the lamps do not contain storage for airplane booze bottles.

CLICK HERE for the rest of Kate’s sneak peek after the jump!

Image above: The bathroom is original as well, and to compliment the yellow tile, I brought in the light touches of avocado green. It may sound awful, but it works. I inherited the “necklace wall” from Molly. It’s a great form-meets-function moment — it’s decorative, and it lets you see what you have, better than an angry tangle of necklaces in the bottom of the jewelry box. I installed Art Deco-style towel bars and even though I rent, I replaced the el cheapo plastic-handled faucet with a nicer, vintage-inspired one, and the expense was totally worth it — it’s more like a nice home and less like a roadside motel.

Image above: My collection of needlepoint and Bargello pillows makes me happy — they bring in unusual color combos and graphic pattern, and are a nod to the good old days when even traditional design included crazy elements of pop-art. I found most of these on eBay or flea markets (they go right to the dry cleaners first). I try to slip one in to every room and every shot, it’s kind of my signature.

Image above: This is my master bedroom, which I wanted to have a rock-n-roll vibe. In another corner of this room is my black drum set, which works in harmony with (I couldn’t resist the music metaphor) the black-lacquered side tables. When I got those, they were “granny” — cream with gold trim, that 1950s/early ’60s French style, but now they rock. The upholstered headboard is covered in a re-issued fabric by Marimekko. This pattern has a giant repeat, which necessitated the piece’s height, and I railroaded the fabric (which means [arranging] it horizontally rather than the more typical vertical orientation). I had the upholsterer quilt the line where the black meets the white, so the design has extra dimension.  The lamps were from eBay, but the seller was in my hometown (small world!). The bedding is from Leontine Linens, out of New Orleans (shout-out to where I went to college), and illustrates that I will monogram anything that isn’t moving.

Image above: The dirty little secret of my living room is that my TV actually sits on the far end of this room, in front of the windows, where the pair of caned chairs are in the picture. The way I like to watch TV is in a position that I call the “sofa luge,” where you lay down and the TV is past your feet, like you’re riding a luge sled. The faux Mies van der Rohe Barcelona chrome X-base coffee table is a family hand-me-down.

Image above: I inherited the malachite-patterned wallpaper in the hallway with the apartment and I love it so much. The living rooms in the houses I grew up in were always painted dark green, and one totally chic version was faux-painted malachite, so it’s a bizarre but cool coincidence. The chair that you see in the background is a family piece, it’s by Kittinger, a classic furniture company out of my hometown of Buffalo, and according to their website, their chairs in this style are all over the White House and are used at presidential inaugurations. Isn’t that fancy?! It’s one of the most traditional pieces I have, but it has a cool story and is a classic, and it makes a great platform for a fabric — it’s a nice, uninterrupted plane. I need to get something really nutty on there soon! Hanging from the entry ceiling is a brass lantern I got on eBay that might actually be an outdoor fixture, but who’s checking?

Image above: The room with the daybed is my guest room/office (but my laptop now seems to permanently live on my dining room table). I started in here with the fabric for the bedding, and thought, “why not punch up the safe light blue with hot orange?” So I did the chair-rail and picture frame molding in glossy orange, making it really stand out from the chalky light blue walls and ceiling. Prior to this, when the room was all white, I honestly didn’t even notice that the room had all that detail, which was a shame. The tall side table was in my room when I was a baby; it was white with yellow trim, and what a transformation the teal blue lacquer and brass pyramid knob make! The lamp was my mom’s, and the hand-painted bird pillow is by fellow Buffalonian John Robshaw. This room came together slowly over the last four years — the bed and paint were around at the outset, the chair was added about two years ago and the two blue tables, lamp and photograph are the most recent additions. I wish I could say it always looks like this, but it’s sort of the catchall overflow room.

Image above: I bought 1972 Kris Kristofferson album (on the right) at a thrift store in Palm Springs, just for the cover. I don’t even have a record player, I just loved how the photo on it totally encapsulates the Allman Brothers-esque, shaggy style of the ’70s. This is a narrow wall near my entry, and I had just gotten the demi-lune table refinished in a weathered gray, so I hung a gallery wall of various art and photos above the table and did a tablescape of stuff that related to the album cover vibe. My aviators were just sitting there and they worked so they made it into the shot. Can you tell I wish I was around and hanging out in the ’70s?

Image above: This tall, shallow table has worked in every entry area I’ve had since college. My dad built it out of very heavy, thick oak planks he salvaged from a 1903 industrial plant that was being torn down in Syracuse, NY. The table skirt hides perfect storage for stacks of magazines. I splurged on the fabric for the skirt, a Brunschwig & Fils authorized adaptation of a cotton fragment hand-painted in India in the 1700s from the Winterthur Textile Study Collection. I love the giant birds and man-eating flowers! And imagine what life was like in 1700s India — there probably were giant birds and man-eating flowers, yet someone was designing over-scaled, highly decorative fabric designs. Isn’t that cool?!

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  • Wow. Amazing house, and so many inspiring images. I love all the window treatments.. I would kill for huge windows like those!!

  • LOVE the necklace wall in the bathroom!!! i am stealing that idea immediately, in fact I will be installing it into my bathroom tonight!

  • I love this home! Reminds me of my Nana’s house (in a good way, she has great taste too). :)

    And I found that exact vintage book “I Married Adventure” thats on your entry table with your glasses! Its on my mantle right now!

  • this apt is so inspirational! and i especially love that the kitchen and bathroom are still original. so many people rip out stuff that could still have potential. such a waste of money and resources. i like to see what people can do when they are forced to work with what they have. that takes a real creative eye.

    and the malachite wallpaper… amazing! and the kristofferson album is a nice touch too…

  • Oh my! My kitchen is very similar and I’ve been wanting to add a punch of something to it. A bit of colorful, fun fabric – that’s it! Thanks for the uplifting click.

  • What is the pinkish color paint in the last photo? And what is the color blue of fine paints of europe official name?
    lovely, my favorite, i wish she could decorate my house

  • I just picked up the same bronze gazelle that’s sitting on the coffee table, and was wondering if anyone knew anything about it besides the fact that it’s AWESOME! I got it for $6, and can’t find anything about it online.

  • Love the coral drapes against the navy blue wall! (and that another Harper commented on the post!)

  • I love this home so much!!! The colours are amazing, the fabrics a dream… I believe this is the sneak peek that comes closest to my to-have-some-day-home. Wonderful!!!

  • Listen to that Kris Kristofferson record. It’s one of his best, and he is one of the best.

  • I love this home! Great color and pattern combos! Love! Makes me smile just looking at the pics!

  • Love the idea of the credenza that pulls out to seat 2-10 people with the leaves stored inside. Is there a name for it? I’d like to find one. Compact, multifunctional furniture is so hard to find.

  • The weathered grey finish on the demi-lune table is stunning….would love for Barb to do a tutorial on that! I love that it has a little shine to it.

  • such an entertaining sneak peek. kate, if you ever have an opening for a new best friend, i will submit an application.

  • I love your sneak peeks, they have become my favorite feature of yours and I find myself looking forward to Mondays to see who’s home we get to glance into next. Not that I don’t love your other features as well, I have been an ardent fan since my college days and should thank you for many years of inspiration. I have my own blog at design-conundrum.blogspot.com that I would love for you to check out sometime if you get the chance. Thanks again!

  • Kate- Your place looks beyond fabulous. Love the colors, and the accessories are great. I always knew you had talent. Now, come home and decorate my house. your Mom

  • I like that you kept the original tile in the kitchen…..I would have done the same thing. Cute kitchen too! Lovin’ that funky headboard also…..wishin my husband liked that style so I could make one similar to that. Very cool place!

  • I always like the look of books stacked and used as a table, but I find it hard to keep them dusted. I agree about vintage kitchens! There is something about them that feels so cozy and secure to me. Probably it’s bringing back memories of cozy kitchens from my childhood!

  • Love all the colors and fabrics! Was the kitchen roman shade a DIY? If so, any tips for how to make it look so professional?

  • Beautiful house! Is there any way of finding out who painted the colorful abstract piece in the 1st image of the post? (The dining room with blue walls!)
    Thanks a bunch!

  • W-O-W! I am going to have to revisit this a few times because this is phenomenal. I love all the color, the combinations. This is a home with fantastic personality. No boredom here.

  • Can you please tell us what you used to hang the necklaces on your “necklace wall?”

    Love all the color and patterns in this place…very inspiring!

  • Ah, we may be soulmates. I’m a ’70’s girl at heart, too. Although, my style is a little less punchy Palm Beach, a little more dark and psychadelic teenager’s basement bedroom. If you know what I mean. Nonetheless: I still love this house, so awesome.

  • Kate – I read through all the comments (and yes, I agree, stunning place!) just to see if you had mentioned where you found the credenza. I can’t get over how clever that is and how very useful. I’d love to know where you found it.

  • Had to comment on the bold use of amazing colour. The blue wall in the diningroom is so iridescent. It reminds me of those darning needle insects or that custom vehicle paint finish that changes from one colour to another as you walk past. Enjoyed this one so much!

  • I have a thing for retro [70’s, 60’s, older]. For some reason this style reminded me of some retro art films that I want to live in. I love the colours in these photos, they are well-balanced through out. Not too much in my point of view.

  • Gorgeous! I love the colors! And I’m totally with you on the original design in the kitchen. So much more character. I was excited by the original cupboards in my kitchen when I bought it, but unfortunately, once I really got in there to clean them, the bottom cupboards were molding and rotting in the back! Now I need to replace them, but nothing I see in stores looks like it would fit in my little old house.

  • Wow – stunning! I am also hoping you might share the official name of the navy blue color from Fine Paints of Europe…

  • Kate – What a fun surprise to see you on one of my fave blogs! When you’re back redesigning your ma’s place, come visit me and help an old friend out? Congrats and kudos – what a SPECTACULAR place!

  • KBS,
    Brilliant and inspiring! You have a real zest for decoration. Unique and stylish. Bravo.

  • perfect! i just moved into an awkward rental and i’m trying to make it seem personal, vibrant and lived in and your home is such an inspiration! i would love MORE photos! i just know there’s more genius in there…

  • gorgeous home! I also have turquoise-ish walls in my place the malachite wallpaper is too awesome! also would you mind sharing the name of the navy blue paint in the dining room? i love it!

  • Hi everyone, thank you all for your compliments! I really feel the love! I wanted to respond to all the questions, so here goes:
    The pink paint on the walls in the entry (last picture) is Dunn Edwards DE5062 Rosy Cheeks Low Sheen.
    The dining room navy is Fine Paints of Europe Paint Eurolux Gloss TR Base HO3950, I will try to get the name of the color as well, but I think the code above will work at the paint store.
    The dining room chandelier isn’t by Ochre, it’s vintage off eBay, but the glass drops are similar to Ochre’s and I’m a big fan of their stuff! The painting is by an amateur artist, I believe, I’ll check the back and see if it’s signed and post if so. Funny story- the painting was priced $5 at some point, it’s in pencil on the back of the frame (you can tell it’s old writing.) Sadly, I didn’t get that price at the vintage boutique in Palm Springs when I bought it! (I also wish I paid only $6 for the brass gazelle statue, that is insane!)
    The dining room rug is from Dash & Albert, and the credenza, wow, what a crowd pleaser! I’m not sure what you’d call this type of piece (a credenza with expanding table?), and I’ll look for a manufacturer’s mark and let you all know, but it’s also vintage.
    The needlepoint pillows primarily came from flea markets or eBay.
    The kitchen roman shade wasn’t a DIY, I think you can buy kits at a sewing store or online to make them yourself, but I haven’t done it so I don’t know how they work out.
    In the bathroom, the necklaces are hung on small cabinet knobs. These usually come with a screw, with a head, that goes through the back of the cabinet, but since you can’t get to the back of your wall, you may need to visit a good hardware store and get screws with no heads- first you screw them into the knobs, then you screw the other sides into the wall or wall anchors.
    And hi also to all the old friends who wrote in! Thanks everybody, will check back in with more info if I can find it!

  • Kate – Your apartment is absolutely stunning. I can’t believe what I am seeing.

    By the way, you looked great when I ran into you and Katie when you were in town for Libby’s shower.

  • Kate..You are such an inspiration. What a spectacular vision! I love the guest room..can you tell me the fabric for the bedding and chair and the paint color. My daughter said that would be her dream room! Thanks

  • Lisa- thanks! Guest room sources: light blue paint: Dunn Edwards DE5757 Across the Bay, orange paint: DEA109 Bonfire Flame. Bedding fabric: “Floral Reef” from Reprodepot.com, chair fabric: item ID #1080590 from Lsfabrics.com (I think I’ve seen it at to the trade showroom Duralee as well).

  • WOW — there is nothing, not a single thing to dislike in this decor!! This is a sneak peak to remember!

  • The colors are awesome. I especially love how she found inspiration in that album cover 9those boys were handsome!). Great rooms.

  • Just amazing. Also my favourite sneak peak ever. Who would go for neutrals when you can live with so much colour!

  • To start with, I’m astounded by your use of colour – it’s all incredibly natural, considering how bold everything is! Can’t wait to see this in a Simply Color spot. Second, holla Buffalo! We’re a severely under-rated city, in my opinion, but in the immortal words of Sam Cooke, a change is gonna’ come :)

  • Wow, I love the colours used in the apartment.

    The two things that catch my eye in particular are the orange roman blind and the handpainted tree mural.

    The mural is so dramatic and adds great character to the room.

  • LOVE your apartment.

    Do you have any advice re: Fine Paints of Europe? I found a color with them that I love, but some message board posters said it’s challenging to work with. Any tips?

  • Hi again,

    The yellow/blue, etc. fabric on the black Chinese Chippendale chair in the first picture is vintage from eBay, and it’s chintz too!
    Re: Fine Paints of Europe, I didn’t do the painting, a painter did, so I can’t say how it is to work with, but I will say this: I picked a high-gloss finish on my relatively smooth walls (or so I thought). High-gloss finish amplifies any wall imperfections, so my walls now look like they have a slight orange peel texture. For best results, patch holes, etc. and sand WELL before painting, and also consider having a skim coat applied to the walls beforehand, or you’re going to notice every little thing on the walls!
    Happy decorating!

  • What an energizing apartment, so much inspiration…not the least of which is using old things that are good, and not going in and ripping out kitchens and baths…..but those colors, everything is amazing!

    kudos to kate!


  • I grew up in South Florida, and I have to say, she nailed what I would call the “rich Palm Beach grandma” look. I love it all, including the sense of humor in her writing. Don’t change a thing!

  • i ADORE the colors :) which is pretty odd because i dont usually like all tha color. but wow they are meshed so well.


  • Wow Kate, I absolutely love the chandelier! Can you tell me how you scored that one on ebay? What are the keywords to find such a beautiful piece?

  • Fabulous use of color! India in the 1700s was a wealth of spices and cotton textiles, that is why the Brits and Europeans came to trade and conquer. And the craftsmen were the most sophisticated in the world as were the Mughal emperors. No giant birds or man-eating flowers, just a vivid imagination!

  • Where did you find the cool Blue purpley paint in the first picture. I love it so much! Want to do my bathroom in that color. Love your style!

  • This is someone who has mastered pattern and color. Love the 70’s references. Also love the committment to color throughout. This isn’t a home with just one bright, wild room. Seeme like it really flows well which seems like it should be hard, given all the colors, but somehow it looks effortless. Lovely.

  • I love the pops of color you use and the unconventional approach to decorating! Where on earth did you find those lovely coral window panels?

  • Amazing! Can you tell me the name of the multi-colored rug in the first photo? I looked on Dash & Albert and could not find it. It is so fun.

  • I, like everyone else who commented, LOVE what you have done. Do you, by any chance, recall where you got the fabric (roman shade that to me looks like gas flames) in your kitchen window? I am in love with it.

  • Your home is beautiful and your monograms inspired me. My initials are for FF which I could never find a style I like. I just realized I can use my middle name which I never think of now I have designed a lovely monogram so thanks.