sneak peek: kate durkin

Artist Kate Durkin and her husband Lenny moved to Sunnyside, Queens from San Francisco a year and a half ago with 10 boxes and no furniture. They chose this apartment because of its open kitchen/dinging room/living area, and they love to put on music, cook and still be hanging out with friends in the living room. Kate creates bright, happy animals pillows (love the whale!) and prints so she was practiced at adding pops of color. An added bonus to moving with 10 boxes? Their lack of stuff means that the apartment always stays neat – this is inspiring me to spring clean! (To see more, don’t miss the sneak peek extras on Facebook!) {Thanks, Kate & Lenny!}Amy A

Image above: My favorite part about the living room is our rug, which was a gift from my parents from ABC carpet.  When we first put it down, neither of us liked it.  Like all the best things, it got better with time and I really think it ties the room together and makes it cozy.  The coach and coffee table are from Room and Board, the painting is by me.

CLICK HERE for more of Kate’s Queen’s apartment!

Image above: The maps are purchases from the Brooklyn Flea.  We liked the horizontal orientation of the map of Italy that hangs over our bed.  It splits somewhere around Tuscany and continues down to the boot on the second page.  Lenny and I lived and met in Florence, Italy, so it also holds emotional significance.  The map of Ireland is significant as Lenny is from Ireland, and it’s just a great country all around.

Image above: Cast iron pot given to us by a friend moving back to Italy, has proved very useful.  Rolling pin bought on sale at Anthropologie.

Image above: I painted the trees behind the television after we went back and forth about what to put above the tv.  The mural turned out to be a great solution.  Paint is Behr interior satin “Amber Wave”

Image above: I use the old time radio, a purchase from a vintage store in the neighborhood, every day.  I listen to NPR all day while I work, so it was definitely a good purchase.  The posters are from concerts that we went to at the Fillmore in San Francisco, where they hand out free posters after every concert.

Image above: Artwork counter-clockwise from the clock: Kate Phillips, unknown tooth, Mel Kadel, John Casey, Eric Rewitzer, and myself.

Image above: The guitar is Lenny’s baby, a Martin from the 70’s.  The shelves are made out of wine boxes, basically because we needed another place to put our books!

  1. kate says:

    that living room is perfection!

  2. Love Kate now love her home!

  3. Lisa-Marie says:

    I love this, it is lovely! I love the pops of colour everywhere!

  4. Jessica says:

    I especially like the wine boxes as extra shelving for books! Clever idea. A very neat space!

  5. I love that bedroom…it is so simple and serene…I can imagine sleeping very peacefully there! xx meenal

  6. kimberly says:

    wow…a fun/creative apartment in queens! i live in whitestone and am glad to see our fine borough represented. love the bedroom – the colors are perfection!

  7. Kari says:

    Since I don’t think I could even fit my shoes into 10 moving boxes, this is very inspiring. As my husband and I are looking to relocate, I needed the reminder that less can be more. Lovely place.

  8. K says:

    great place! two questions: where’d you get your bed? and where’s that little lamp by the phone from?

  9. jane says:

    Love the tree mural. Was it done with a stencil or free hand?

  10. reeve says:

    another dream home. Thanks for sharing!

  11. wonderful expression of the homeowner and all the things they love most. ;)

  12. kate says:

    thanks for the lovely comments! to answer the questions, K: the bed is from crate and barrel, and the lamp by the phone is from a shop in the west village called mxyplyzyk. jane: thank you! i did the sketch freehand, and then applied the paint.

  13. Jenny C says:

    I bought a pink owl from Kate years ago and still have it on my bed. I love it! I also have some artwork by John Casey, as Kate does, and highly recommend checking out his stuff too!

  14. I love that rug in the living room. It looks so soft, like a mohair sweater. It is eye catching but still doesn’t compete too much with the other things in the room.

  15. And that cast iron pot is awesome – I love cast iron cookwear, it’s so durable and cleans up great.

  16. Anne says:

    That rug is a dream. I love how the colors bleed and there is not a hard edge.

  17. Sarah E. says:

    The bedroom rug! It looks so cozy! Where did it come from?

  18. Karen says:

    Loving the Ugly on the couch. Is that Trey?

    How about the kitchen shelves with the bar for hooks? I’m looking for shelving options for my first (tiny) apartment!

  19. aw yay i have that same rolling pin!! but in the orange/yellow coloway. so pretty :)

  20. Ling says:

    Is that the wooden Ikea desk organizer with the drawers that you see everywhere? I absolutely love how it’s been customized. Such an inspiration!

  21. Your home is a most wonderful collection of very thoughtful yet natural vignettes, the kind that seems to develop over time and grew into the house. I still can’t believe you sketched the mural freehand! My favorite details are the wall mouldings – did you put them in yourself?

  22. isavirtue says:

    hahaha, i love how when you look quick at the first picture, the bottom of it looks pixelated/blurry because of that colour blended rug!

  23. Sollien says:

    Just gorgeous! Where is the multi-drawer organiser on your desk from?

  24. kate says:

    hi again! sarah: the rug in the bedroom is from room and board, and is super cozy though a bit hard to clean. ling and sollien, yes they are the ikea drawers, i just added a bit of paint and fabric to brighten them up. karen, the shelves in the dining room with the hooks are from ikea. and lisa, the wall moldings are wonderful details that came with the apartment.

  25. Lisa says:

    I can’t seem to find anything on the artwork above the couch? I was hoping that there was a close up somewhere.

  26. Gracie says:

    Oh it’s gorgeous and inspiring that you moved with so little and still managed to accumulate such nice furniture in a short time – go Ireland.

  27. kate says:

    lisa, here’s a link to a closer look at that piece:

  28. karen berg says:

    I love this home, so cheery. What I loved the most was the artwork that said”onward”. It just looks so happy and inspiring. I might try something like this myself. Thanks Kate!

  29. Amanda says:

    Just wondering if the TV stand is from Ikea?

  30. taylor says:

    Love the place but I wanted to compliment your great listening taste. NPR is the best station & your concert posters are some great music taste!

  31. Love this post! Best thing to me is how the rug and the art play together in the living room!

  32. I’ve seen Kate at the Brooklyn Flea and tucked her card away (somewhere) in my purse never to be found again. I remember thinking that her adorable pillows would be the cutest baby shower gift– and I just got an invite in the mail today. Thank you for opening your home, Kate! And I’m so glad to be reminded of your wonderful work!

  33. kate says:

    amanda, yes the tv stand is from ikea (it’s becoming apparent how much of my stuff is from ikea, haha) thanks again to everyone for your nice comments!

  34. dizzle says:

    love the whale pillows (where are they from?) and the bed frame!! the rug is a good choice too, i would totally never pick something like it out either but it really works well with the room!

  35. kate says:

    thanks dizzle! you can pick up a whale pillow here:


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