Public-relations exec Kelly Kreth, who is the founder and president of Kreth Communications (krethcommunications.com), has decorated her entire apartment in shades of black, white and red. Her devotion to this color scheme started in 1999, when she moved to her first apartment in Manhattan. “It makes me feel really safe and grounded,” Kreth explains. “I know that there should be some explanation, but as with everything with OCD, it doesn’t make sense.”
This portrait of Kreth (framed in red, of course) was taken by photographer Jamie Sanford (jamiesanford.com) and hangs above her bed. “It’s meta—it’s me standing in front of that wall on that wall,” she says. Her bedding includes these pillows, screenprinted with her initials, which she found at Urban Outfitters. “It’s kind of a narcissistic bedroom,” she laughs.
Kreth’s kitchen table is from 1956, so she bought the phone on the wall—a reproduction of a design from 1956—to provide some chronological symmetry. The Andy Warhol print is, of course, black, white and red. “Everything kind of fits in with the theme,” she muses.
“I really like the number three, so everything in the apartment is [grouped] in threes,” Kreth explains, motioning to the trio of photos above her television.
This bright-red vintage table, which Kreth’s ex-husband found on Craigslist, is curved like the number eight; a similarly shaped table is located at the other end of the room. “There’s a little symmetry there,” she explains. She also keeps a Magic 8-Ball on the red table, in keeping with her need to balance things in threes.
These mod chairs came from Ikea; the dachshund picture on the table is based on a photo that Kreth took of her pooch, Mini. One of her friends created the Warholized image.
Kreth found this dachshund-shaped lamp at Target; it rests on a small table shaped like an eight (to match the larger one in the center of her living room).
This overstuffed, velvet-upholstered chair was an eBay find. “I thought this was kind of cool, because it’s a little whorehouse-ish,” Kreth laughs. “And it’s really comfy; it’s huge!”
This Shepard Fairey painting of the artist’s wife—which appears on Mayday!, the large mural he painted on East Houston Street—appealed to Kreth because it fits within her color scheme. “If I had enough money, I would have a wall of Shepard Faireys,” she enthuses.
"Mini is a good dog who does very bad things," Kreth says about her five-and-a-half-year-old dachshund, whom she adopted as a puppy. “And he is black and tan—he goes with the color scheme!” Kreth found this sign, which hangs behind Mini’s crate, in the dollar bin at a Target in New Jersey.
Kreth keeps an assortment of new and vintage china in this cabinet, which she got at the P.S. 321 flea market (Seventh Ave between 1st and 2nd Sts, Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-421-6763, parkslopefleamarket.com). “I’m constantly collecting black, white and red stuff,” she explains. Among her china pieces are cups from Alice’s Tea Cup and Kate Spade, as well as dishes that she’s procured from flea markets and online.
Kreth's living room features items that she's collected on her travels around the globe: The black-and-white painting of dancing women was acquired on her honeymoon in the Dominican Republic, while the throw blankets on her couch are from a trip to India. “Whenever I go to a place, I scan for something black and white,” she says. “I try to pick something up so I have a remembrance of every place I went.”
"If you stay with one color scheme, it's easier to mix patterns," says Kreth, referring to her polka-dot bedding, paisley-patterned curtain from Target, and the striped wallpaper she bought on eBay. “That’s how I get some variation.” She found the curved white vintage armoire in her bedroom on Craigslist. “When I got it, there were love notes stuck into a crack of it,” she explains. “The woman who owned it was trying to break up with some guy who wouldn’t commit to her. I sent them in to Found magazine and it ended up [being published].”
Kreth found this black-and-white-upholstered red chair on the street near her apartment, in the exact condition that it appears. “Of course I looked at it, and I’m like, Oh my God, the universe is speaking to me!” she jokes.
This portrait of Mini hangs above Kreth's workspace and was taken by photographer Will Vanti.
Even the smallest details—like Kreth’s luggage and these small decorative canisters that came with cups and saucers from Alice’s Tea Cup—sticks to the tricolor palette. “The colors are extremely dominant and stable,” she says.
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Kreth generally sticks to websites when looking for home decor. "You can type in 'black and white stripe' and come up with a whole slew of things," she explains.
"This is another place I can type in 'black and white' and come up with a lot of stuff," says Kreth.
Ikea (1 Beard St at Otsego St, Red Hook, Brooklyn; 718-246-4532, ikea.com)
The Swedish chain offers many items—including bookshelves, tables and storage units—in red. "I am on the lookout for a red bed frame, but have yet to come across one," says Kreth.
Pottery Barn Kids (1311 Second Ave at 69th St; 212-879-4746, potterybarnkids.com)
Kreth scours the tween version of the ubiquitous furniture chain for black-and-white items. "I just bought a black-and-white polka-dot rug there," she says.
Gothic Cabinet Craft various locations throughout the city; visit gothiccabinetcraft.com for more info.
Kreth has purchased several larger items, like an armoire that currently sits in her living room, from this furniture store. "It's really well made and it's nude, so you can have it painted any color," she explains.