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Article: Kate Lester | Collector Profile

Kate Lester | Collector Profile - Tappan

Kate Lester | Collector Profile

Kate Lester is the Creative Director and CEO of Kate Lester Interiors & Kate Lester HOME. With a diversely talented design team in her studio, and two retail stores in Southern California, Kate is thrilled to be spreading her unique design vision with the masses. Her style ethos is all about creating spaces that weave classic lines, vintage finds, modern moments, and an infusion of at least “one weird thing.” Thriving at the intersection of livable luxury, humor, and realism, Kate believes that the homes she designs should always be carefully crafted, thoughtfully curated, and a direct reflection of the people who inhabit them.

Kate Lester Interiors
Kate Lester Interiors


Why would you recommend Tappan to someone looking for art?

Looking for art can be so overwhelming. I think a lot of people just get frustrated and give up because they just don’t know where to start. Tappan has made it so easy by curating collections, posting wishlists from your favorite tastemakers (like me!) and even helping narrow down your vibe with an art style quiz

What inspires you to collect the work of emerging artists?

Original art is everything. I think art is really the soul of the home, and those pieces speak to you from the walls. Tappan gives emerging artists a space to showcase their work and ethos, and for collectors to start collecting at all price-points. I love it because otherwise I may never know about all of these talented artists- and now I am able to buy their pieces for my own collections and for my clients as well.

What is your earliest memory of art, and what led you to start collecting it?

I would often go to garage sales and flea markets with my mom, and we would find great pieces together. Even as a child I was affected by art. I just knew that some pieces “spoke to me” and some didn’t. As I got older, I remember talking to my husband and being absolutely stunned that not everyone was as jazzed about art as I was.

How has the sentimentality of your collection evolved over time?

When my husband and I got married I dragged him into a vintage shop in Palm Springs where I talked him into a charcoal sketch of two sumo wrestlers in this incredible mid-century frame. It was the first “weird” and expensive piece of art we ever bought together, and now that’s kind of our thing. We have a pretty decent collection of unique pieces that are conversation starters and I love it.

Is there a particular type of art you collect?

I am always drawn to abstracts- I think they are my first love. But I will say I do have this strange obsession with portraits. Photographs, oils, sketches. I always wonder- “who are these people, what story are their eyes telling me?” We have many portraits in our collection. My family used to think it was super weird but now my daughter gives them names and everyone is cool with it.

Where and when do you feel the most creative?

Probably at home with my headphones on and an enormous cup of coffee first thing in the morning.

Describe your collection in three words.

Personal. Happy. Rad.

Three people in the creative space who are inspiring you right now?

Wes Anderson. Kelly Wearstler. Jenna Lyons.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

I feel like I really need to come up with a cooler answer to this question since people ask it in pretty much every interview- but honestly EVERYWHERE. Nature, travel, music, art, fashion, design and art books. I am a human sponge and I am always absorbing content and filing it away in my brain.

For new collectors, do you have any advice you wish to impart? Do you have a collecting ethos or philosophy that you want to share?

Collect what you love. Don’t follow trends, or buy the same boring art as your neighbor. Buy what speaks to you even if it’s weird or bold or bright. Build your collection over time, and try to add one new original piece every year.

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“I was drawn to Nana immediately because of its warm, tonal color palette and the way it feels slightly abstract,but also gives a nod to a coastal influence. ”
On Monika Morito's Nana
“I have been a fan of Annelie’s work for years now, and I love the way her photographs feel elevated but also slightly cheeky to me. I love the way she plays with lines, shapes, color and negative space.”
On Annelie Vandendael's Sois Belle 2.3 + 2.4
““Art” comes in all shapes and sizes and I love this sculptural piece. As a southern Californian growing up during the days of early skateboard culture this speaks to me not only on a surface level, but also about breaking barriers, going up against the establishment, and breaking and making new rules.”
On Luke Chiswell's Some Luck
“Growing up and living by the ocean, my art collection is obviously coastally influenced, but I always try to keep my beach vibed selections really unique and interesting. When I saw this piece I immediately loved the juxtaposition of the color and texture. It felt deep and moody to me which is unexpected for a coastal piece- I love it.”
On Brianna Lance's Untitled
“One of my main art rules is that collecting art should be fun, so when I actually laughed out loud when I saw this I knew I had to have it. It’s in my cart as we speak. ”
On James Needham's I Mean Other Art
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