It’s not always easy for a potential client to see an interior designer’s work first hand. Most of the results are played out in someone’s private home. The designer may be able to offer an array of interior photographs of the house, but a chance to see the inside even once, let alone at different times of day to see how light plays through the space, is a rare commodity.
Katie Eastridge took care of that problem earlier this year when she acquired 342 Nassau Street, at the corner of Harrison Street. Her new business home had lots of history: One of the oldest remaining intact Georgian buildings in Princeton, it has a beam in the basement inscribed with the original date of construction: 1730. Before the Revolutionary War, the house was on a stagecoach stop, and during the war it offered a hiding place for General Washington and his soldiers.
But the property, which had formerly housed a real estate brokerage, was in need of some interior decorating. Eastridge exposed the ceiling beams in what had been small dark rooms on the first floor to help create an open bright space that is a showcase for Eastridge’s design touches as well as her own private label collection of custom furniture, unique gifts, fine and decorative arts, books, and what she calls “vintage finds with many surprises less than $50.”
You can judge the results for yourself by stopping by the center during regular business hours. Or you can participate in the Historical Society of Princeton’s annual house tour on Saturday, November 5. The Eastridge Design Center will be included on the tour along with a private residence — at 1 Haslet Avenue — that has also benefited from Eastridge’s interior design vision.
Now in her 25th year as an interior designer, Eastridge is originally from Indiana, where her mother was an artist and museum director and her father owned high-end women’s fashion stores. After studying art at Kenyon College and Indiana University, Eastridge embarked on an art career that led to TriBeCa in New York, where she helped young artists design and furnish their loft spaces. It was beginning of her interior design career.
Eastridge describes herself as “a lifelong visual artist — curious and aware — working in the medium of people’s homes to make them beautiful and unique.” She is also active in the national design scene, participating in the Design Leadership Network, Leader of Design Council, and the New York chapter for Classical Architecture.
What should homeowners keep in mind when assessing their interior spaces? Eastridge shares some advice:
1. Quality vs. quantity. Buy fewer but better items.
2. Trust your taste but hone it. Educate yourself in the things that interest you. Keep learning about design. Keep an open mind.
3. Keep your environment interesting and fresh. Investing in travel is a great way to expand your experiences and exposure to new ways of seeing. Paint is the workhorse of change.
4. Ignore fashion, embrace style. Fads come and go in this world of fast-fashion. Have fun with your environment but don’t be a slave to the latest craze.
Advice on lighting
1. Reflective surfaces can expand a room — walls, ceilings, carpets.
2. If you must, invest in larger windows.
3. Landscaping (pruning trees that are near your house) can open up a room or a view, thereby enlarging a room.
4. There’s nothing wrong with cozy candlelight.
Eastridge Design Home, 342 Nassau Street, 609-921-2827.