New York-based Katie Ridder spent Augusts in an old family home in Mishaum Point, Massachusetts, the quietest of Cape Cod coastal enclaves, when her children were little. By long-held custom, the house was without Internet or TV. “I had a month of looking out the window,” Ridder says.
She passed the summer weeks by designing a line of hand-printed wallpaper, creating the patterns by sketching seashore details—a regal crane, sprays of seaweed, the arc of waves, the graceful heel of a sailboat—alighting on fields of smoky blue and mossy green. Today, Ridder’s nautical touches grace rooms from Palm Beach to Nantucket. Like Lilly Pulitzer prints, they’ve become a visual signifier of a summery way of life.
Yet wallpaper is a small fraction of Ridder’s design practice. She grew up “in what is now called Silicon Valley,” she says—and indeed a California sunniness fills her rooms. They are spaces you want to linger in, likely with your feet up, and barefoot.
Left: In this Watch Hill, Rhode Island, home, Ridder layered oil paintings over the bookcase because of lack of wall space. The lamp is antique.
How does the coast influence your style?
I’m drawn to blues and greens in my interiors, water colors, because they are universally loved.
What is your philosophy on incorporating color in a home?
Color on the walls becomes easy on the eye quickly. It adds warmth and it's a good backdrop for art.
What’s the best design advice you’ve ever gotten?
It’s 10% scheming and 90% organization. Having a good business mind helps.
What do you consider your greatest find for your home?
A Nespresso cappuccino machine
Wallpaper or paint?
Which coastal location is on your bucket list of places to visit?
The Gulf Coast of Florida
What’s your favorite beach vacation memory?
Visiting Delray Beach, Florida, as a child.
Favorite coverup source?
Mott 50 because their clothes offer SPF protection
What’s the best seafood meal you’ve ever had?
A lobster roll at Salvador’s in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts
What’s your go-to beach drink?
Dark and Stormy (See our recipe!)
Left: Ridder snaps a shot while stand-up paddleboarding in Hawaii.