Q&A with DE­SIGNER KRISTA WAT­TER­WORTH AL­TER­MAN

Décor - - Artistic Expression -

Known for light and airy de­signs that are as sun-drenched as her home base in Florida, Krista Wat­ter­worth Al­ter­man also leans to­ward neu­tral col­ors and rich, mixed tex­tures that add depth.

Q: What does art bring to a home?

A: An in­ti­mate look into the soul of the col­lec­tor. Q: What’s your first re­ac­tion when a client asks you to de­sign around their per­sonal art col­lec­tion?

A: Silent hor­ror. There is noth­ing more per­sonal than col­lected art­works. There can be a strong emo­tional at­tach­ment that some­times pre­cedes a good sense of style. But it’s my job to dis­cern a work­able col­lec­tion against an un­rea­son­able one. It can lead to chal­leng­ing talks. Q: Why are frames im­por­tant?

A: Ex­ist­ing framed art can be the bane of my ex­is­tence. How­ever, it’s on-trend to hang works with var­i­ous fin­ishes, sub­ject mat­ter, and artis­tic style as a col­lec­tion. It takes fore­thought and tal­ent to pull it off cor­rectly.

Q: Why is white space im­por­tant?

A: It means any­thing is pos­si­ble. White space is my happy place. Q: How do you use fab­rics to best ef­fect?

A: Many de­sign­ers be­lieve you shouldn’t mix, say, vel­vets with cot­ton or silk with linen. I like to put them all to­gether. If col­ors and pat­terns feed off each other, they cre­ate a brand for the home that’s unique to that par­tic­u­lar space. If it all works well to­gether, why does it mat­ter what they’re made of ?

Q: Have you had any failed ex­per­i­ments with art, and if so, what did you learn from them?

A: I’ve had failed ex­per­i­ments with every­thing! That’s one road to suc­cess—learn­ing from the pain of de­feat. For ex­am­ple, when I was a young de­signer, I didn’t pay enough at­ten­tion to scale. That’s 90 per­cent of hang­ing art­work suc­cess­fully.

Q: What piece of art would you love to buy?

A: I’m su­per into pho­tog­ra­phy, es­pe­cially rock-star sub­ject mat­ter from a fe­male per­spec­tive. So any­thing by Janette Beck­man, Pen­nie Smith, or Ker­stin Rodgers. But I also love fash­ion and beauty pho­to­graphs by An­nie Lei­bovitz and Richard Ave­don.

This photo: Glam­our emerges in the mas­ter bed­room, cour­tesy of gold- and sil­verse­quined throw pil­lows, a gold chan­de­lier, and lux­u­ri­ously long for­mal draperies. Op­po­site: Cub­by­holes lined with wo­ven wall­pa­per in the of­fice act as small “frames” for...

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