ArtStar interviewed interior designer Kristina Rinaldi to discuss her whimsical design style, her love for NYC, and how she incorporates art into the design process. Learn more about Kristina's passion for color, her morning routine, and which ArtStar pieces she's coveting right now.

ArtStar: You established Rinaldi Interior Design in 2001. How have you seen the interior design industry evolve over the years? How have you changed as a designer?
Kristina: Since establishing Rinaldi Designs Inc 16 years ago, there have been so many changes within the industry. The resources available are obviously endless via internet; inspiration wise, sourcing and the overall shopping experience. And while it is great for inspiration, it also gives you a peak at what makes you unique as a designer. I think Instagram is the best resource ever. I probably don’t use social media as much as I should to promote my business, but I love Instagram, it is just brilliant; for me it is pure aesthetics.

ArtStar: In your view, how does art impact the home? How does art impact the workplace environment?
Kristina: Art is crucial when designing a home. Whether the client offers existing pieces that you can use as an inspiration or the space inspires the art you choose later. I have had clients not purchase any art and I never felt the home was complete. I would leave the project feeling as though I never finished the job. Art is the ultimate accent in any home. And as we know, it doesn’t have to be expensive, it is available to everyone. Fortunately, most of my clients will look to me for that aspect of the job.

SHOP THE LOOK: 'A YEAR OLDER' by Kimberly Genevieve



"Art is the ultimate accent in any home. And as we know, it doesn’t have to be expensive; it is available to everyone."

ArtStar: Do you have any morning routines or rituals that help start your day?
Kristina: Being the first one to wake in the morning, my ritual is quietly enjoying my Nespresso coffee, looking over emails, texts and Instagram. However, I have started a new morning tonic which is apple cider vinegar and raw honey in 8 oz of hot water in lieu of coffee. It has a lot of health benefits. Funny, you would think it would be so difficult to give up that first cup of coffee, but just sipping something warm really suffices.

ArtStar: What is your favorite summer vacation spot? Where do you escape to in the winter?
Kristina: My favorite summer vacation spot, without a doubt will usually include a beach. Most summers vacations are in Europe since we can have extended vacations and not have to be in the confines of my daughters' school breaks. We went to a small (mostly unknown to Americans) island in Greece last summer which I am not allowed to share publicly. (It’s a “if I tell you, i would have to kill you” sort of thing) It was truly the most beautiful place I have ever been. The light, the architecture, the colors, the food, the water. It was just perfection. We are returning this summer and I am counting the days.

Winter/Spring vacations are also beach locations simply because we need to escape the city winters, however, this year we are heading to Paris because my girls haven’t been and have been begging to go. Traveling to me is really one of the most important things for me to do. The family time, the ease of vacation, the inspiration, all of it. But I think most importantly my family didn’t travel when I was young and I promised I would give that gift to my kids.

ArtStar: If you had to choose 3 words to describe your ideal client what would they be?
Kristina:  openminded, positive attitude, fun

ArtStar: If you had to choose 3 words to describe your personal style what would they be?
Kristina: Vivid, happy, comfortable

ArtStar: How has your taste in art changed over the years?
Kristina: Not sure if my instinctual taste in art has changed over the years....But I feel I am exposed to more art via platforms like Instagram and therefore have a wider base, which allows me to then seek out artists for studio visits or shows.. Love going to shows like Volta or Affordable Art Fair where you are exposed to many artists (and BTW, that is where I met the lovely women of ArtStar!!)

ArtStar: How has your interior design style changed over the years?
Kristina: My interior style has changed a bit over the years, but always remain a modern designer. I was mid-century obsessed when I first started out. And while I will still use iconic pieces in my designs I have incorporated a more whimsy, lets-not-be-so-serious attitude in my designs over the past 15 years.

ArtStar: What are some tips to consider when selecting art for the home?
Kristina: When selecting art, I would say you must go with heart. I may not always love the art that a client is using, but if they LOVE it, it is hard to argue with them. Scale is of course something one must consider, which is sort of a rule to follow with the many aspects of design. However, rules are arbitrary. Art may represent your style, taste, point of view, as does home design or fashion. I love including sculptural art, whether it be ceramics or a macrame wall hanging, along with photography, paintings and prints.

ArtStar: What was the best gallery or museum show you saw in the last 3 months?
Kristina: I am going to say that I missed two great shows recently: the pixel forest at the New Museum and Kerry James Marshall at the Met Breuer. However, I did see a crazy fun exhibit at R & Company (on Franklin Street) with Porky Hefer. These pieces are totally fantasy, tribal and wild. Large nests to curl up in. Gorgeous. I also saw a small exhibit at THE PICTURE ROOM by Joana Avillez. She is a New Yorker cartoonist who I just love and she had a show in the fall called Lisbon Diaries.

ArtStar: What questions do you ask a client who wants a full design makeover? How does the process differ when the client wants to combine some of their existing pieces with new furniture or art?
Kristina: When working with a new client I hope they contact me because they love my

designs! It is always surprising when you get a call from someone who has very. different style than myself. One of the first questions when getting to know a client is what do they like/not like about my style (just so we know we are on the same page) and what their favorite colors are since I work with color a lot. Of course budget is always discussed at the beginning because you need to know how and where to source product and what kind of freedom you have as a designer. If we are using existing pieces we may modify it so it goes with the new design; give it an update if we can.

ArtStar: What is your favorite room of the house to design and why?
Kristina: My favorite room in the house to design is usually Master Bedroom. I like creating that sanctuary for my client, but when doing larger homes outside of the city, I love kitchens. I cook a lot for family and friends and I personally fantasize about having a beautiful large kitchen.

ArtStar: You’re based in NYC - what is your favorite neighborhood to shop in? Do you have a favorite local coffee spot or place to meet a client for lunch?
Kristina: There are endless amount of resources available in NYC, but I use Property in Tribeca on almost every project for one thing or another. They represent many designers and have a huge selection of furniture and lighting. It is fun using a vendor you have a good relationship with and one that you can support. If I am shopping for clothing, I almost always shop in Soho because everything is there. I prefer small store shopping over department store any day. I love love Maman in Tribeca for coffee. I love the aesthetic which I will use as inspiration when and if I buy a country home. They make this sweet pistachio bread that is out of this world. I really enjoy El Rey and Dimes on Lower East side for dinner. (Lunch is my least favorite meal so I never go out to lunch-even with clients; if we are working, we are eating protein bars for lunch) If our relationship blossoms into more than just client/designer friendship, then we go to dinner!

ArtStar: What are your favorite artworks on ArtStar right now?
Kristina: ArtStar has some great artists available and I would have to say my top picks are: Maud Vantours, Spiral 15. I love the texture and color combinations. They are just beautiful and the patience it takes to do something like that is so admirable. The Ruth Adler Circles are great and remind me of Josef Albers-who I always loved; I bought an Albers for a client way back an always enjoyed them. I love Marguerite by Charles De Vaivre. I love that cow. I have a soft spot for animals in must be a very specific viewpoint. Alison Fox’s series Landscape Pink, Peach and Blue are lovely; the pastel combinations and blurred images are super calming. Lastly, I really like Ludvig Favre’s Palm Springs Hotel. I just recently visited Palm Springs and fell in love with it, so this of course is a great reminder of that beautiful city.

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