Friday, August 7

Catherine's Jewel-Box Home

Catherine Chung was wearing a salmon-colored silk pantsuit the night I met her at the White Horse in the West Village. If it hadn't been for the awesome jewelry she was wearing, a talon-shaped ring of her own design, I may have thought she'd walked up to our outdoor table straight from 1982. I can't believe I didn't ask her to show me the pantsuit again when I visited her in the Southstreet Seaport a few weekends later. In my mind, it's mythological. Who can pull off a salmon pantsuit? With a claw ring? Apparently Catherine Chung, jewelry designer and artist extraordinaire.

Catherine has a line of jewelry called Whitestreet. Our mutual friends insisted I go visit her downtown loft. Such an inspired home! A table that she made cuts through the middle, sketches and jewelry are artfully scattered everywhere and exquisite earrings hang from strands on many colorfully flocked chandeliers (they'll be highlighted in another post). I didn't know what to take in first, so I just walked around in circles, touching everything, dragging fingers through piles of metal links or jewels on the table. "Feel free to try anything on," she said.

Here's elegant Catherine in her living area. She was telling me about how before her neighborhood was so commercial, she would look out this window and watch the fish market rituals: seafood flopping on cobblestones, seagulls swooping at daybreak.

This sofa, I want. Not just because I love green. She bought this Victorian-style mahogany antique at a market. Her costume-designer friend in San Francisco was so inspired by it, she had a vision and sent Catherine the perfect material for the upholstery: emerald-green silk, with tassels. The old cushions are solidly packed horsehair.

Here's a view from one end of the apartment. Her artwork and sketches fill the walls. I'll post those in another post, too. So much great work. Catherine bought this white-plastic 1970s sofa upstate. It weighs so much, it's one reason she hasn't moved... Also below is her desk area.

Fun studio space and Catherine's artworks. Lots of salmon on the walls...reminds me of her pantsuit...on the table are little molds for jewelry. Everything is tiny.

Earrings are hooked onto chandelier strands and hang at eye level...kind of reminds me of Dali's branches with dripping clocks. Catherine on the 1970s sofa. Maybe I'll do a roundup of her chandeliers next. They're quite amazing--she made them! She even showed me her flocking gun.


  1. Eesh...well, I guess not everyone's homes would suit my tastes. I do love the 70s sofa for it's kitschy vibe...

  2. wow, i am catching up on some of your posts and this one is fabulous. i love her furniture too,those couches! never mind her jewelry. such a talented designer in so many ways...and yes, please post more chandelier pics, can't wait. i have a chandelier weakness. :)

  3. wonderful- can;t wait to see more from this artist

  4. That sofa is cool - You sound pretty smitten with the jumsuit... You should have tried it on, she did offer afterall!

  5. wow her home is a gem! thanks for sharing the photos.