Fab Friday with Cathy Whitlock

Happy Friday! Today I have the pleasure of chatting with interior design consultant and published author Cathy Whitlock. A graduate of Parsons School of Design, Cathy has had more than two decades of experience in the interior design industry, designing residences and businesses all over the country. Cathy is a contributing writer for Traditional Home and The Huffington Post, and her design, film, lifestyle and celebrity profiles have appeared in Architectural Digest, American Airlines Celebrated Living, Array, Glamour UK, Capitol File and Veranda magazines, among others. Her blog, Cinema Style, was featured as one of the Top Ten Design Blogs of 2010 by Fox News.

Robin Baron: What do you love most about what you do?

Cathy Whitlock: I am a big proponent of following your passion and for me that translates into film, design, and writing. Creativity is a driving force in my life and I always feel the need to be creating something, whether it’s designing an interior or writing an article. I found a great quote on Pinterest the other day that said “Scorpio: I create, therefore I am,” which pretty much sums it up! The majority of my writing centers on film, celebrity profiles, interior design, and production design. I discover something new with every subject.

RB: You recently published a book. What’s it about?

CW: Designs on Film: A Century of Hollywood Art Direction (Harper Collins) chronicles every genre and style of film from the early part of the century to present day. The book highlights the role of the production designer, art director, and set decorator on film and showcases iconic (and some lesser known) films in a decade-by-decade format.

Years ago I worked as a designer in Manhattan and a Park Avenue client wanted the style of her apartment to echo the Mimi Rogers’ character in Someone to Watch Over Me (which also happened to have a Park Avenue address). I immediately knew the look, and it was one of those proverbial “aha” moments where I started to correlate design and movies and realized many of my favorite movies had great settings. The idea germinated from there and a book was born.

RB: What inspired your blog, Cinema Style?

CW: Cinema Style began as an offshoot of my book Designs on Film and just grew from there. I am fascinated by how we are so influenced by the medium of movies and television, from design and fashion to food, travel, and pop culture. I try to cover films and television shows past and present and find that as I grow older, the films of the thirties to sixties are more interesting design wise than today’s.

RB: What are some of your favorite films?

CW: So many!!! My favorite films are primarily sixties based as I love both the fashions and designs of that era – Thomas Crown Affair, Pillow Talk, Darling, The Graduate and Goldfinger just to name a few. In terms of design, The Fountainhead, Auntie Mame, Top Hat, Dinner at Eight, and any of the Merchant Ivory films are classics. I particularly loved the production design for last year’s Oscar winner, The Artist.

The Fountainhead
The Artist

RB: How would you describe your own home décor?

CW: I love a mix of Italian and French with lots of color. I have yet to live in a neutral house and keep thinking someday I might go all beige or white…but I know the walls would end up yellow or red before the month is over. Lately my animals are ruling the roost and it’s starting to resemble Grey Gardens.

RB: What is one thing in your home that everybody comments on?

CW: Probably my collection of marble obelisks that sit on the coffee table. I must have been Egyptian or George Washington’s wife in a former life!

RB: What is a current interior design trend that you’ve noticed?

CW: I am noticing that the trends seem to recycle every five to ten years and pretty much at the point I don’t follow them anymore. I always advise clients to place what they love in their house and don’t pay attention to the latest color or look. It will soon be dated and then will be in vogue in another decade anyway.

 

RB: What does fabulous mean to you?

CW: In terms of design, a fabulous interior is one where you are comfortable, feeds your senses and well-being and makes you happy every day. Winning the lottery, having no cares in the world and living on the beach would be pretty fabulous too!