Designer Katie Kiechel might have come to Brooklyn in a roundabout way—starting off in Ohio and stopping off in many places around the world—but her path to design was practically predetermined, paved as it was by the generations before her. Kiechel's mother and grandmother were both designers and the legacy of growing up with such stylish figures is evident in Kiechel's incredible shared home/studio space, which is full of things Kiechel has picked up on her many travels, photographs and mementos of family and friends, and, perhaps most prominently, the exuberant energy of her pitbull, Scout.
Kiechel has lived in DUMBO for three years now and was attracted to the neighborhood because of the architecture—"the high ceilings and large windows" in her apartment were especially appealing—"the light, the water, and the views and just the fact that it's so quiet." The serenity that Kiechel prizes in her neighborhood is reflected in her home. As much as using one space for both living and work could lead to chaos and clutter, Kiechel balances that by having a spare, calming bedroom as a respite and by incorporating her work space into her common living area, without letting it overwhelm anything.
Kiechel's home is full of artful family heirlooms—including an old toy zeppelin that used to be her father's and some of the clothing that her mother designed—and other things that serve as inspiration to her handbag line. The line itself, designs for and pieces of which are displayed around the home, also works as decorative art. The handbags are notable for being both practical and beautiful, utilitarian yet feminine. Kiechel told me how rooted her life is in "authenticity" and it is easy to see that in the consistency of the aesthetic inside her home.
Some of her favorite neighborhood places include Brooklyn Roasters, Vinegar Hill House, P.S. Bookshop, Zoe, and Al Mar. And when asked where she would choose to go, if she could relocate her apartment to anywhere else in the world, Kiechel, who has traveled extensively, replied, "Santa Teresa in Costa Rica, Biarritz in France and maybe check out Moscow for a little bit. And, of course, fly over to Brazil. It'd be like Air BnB a little bit."
Katie Kiechel's work can be found at kkiechel.com.
Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen