Maker Monday: An ASPIRE Exclusive Interview With Katharine Earnhardt

15 years of experience in New York and London art scenes has led Katharine Earnhardt to create her art advisory service, Mason Lane. Mason Lane helps bridge the gap between homeowners and professional artists in hopes of finding the perfect piece to showcase within interiors across the globe. Katharine has been able to bring the joy of art into homes in a transparent and efficient way. The art she sourced has proudly been featured in publications akin to Architectural Digest and House Beautiful while Katharine, herself, can be seen in Apartment Therapy and Sharp Magazine. Introducing this week’s Maker Monday, Katharine Earnhardt.

For this Brooklyn family, Katharine made sure to play around with engaging colors and unique textures to create a playful area for their child. Photo by Tessa Neustadt.

Andrew Joseph: Describe your design style as if you were explaining it to someone who cannot see?
Katharine Earnhardt: I love this question! Definitely try to envision a space that is clutter-free. I love clean lines, varied textures, and openness. A feeling of warmth is very important to me. I’m also a sucker for natural materials – I love a combination of wood and leather, soft textured stone and linens, paintings and works on paper, with a scattering of unique sculptural accessories.

In addition, as the Founder of Mason Lane Art, it’s important to me that the artwork throughout a home brings a layer of personality to the space and makes it unique. A client once said to me that, through art, she wanted each room in her home to look like it belonged to her and only her. I love that and believe that artwork has the power to do so.

This New York family needed help and expertise on how to uplift their blank white walls. Katharine made sure to add pieces that captivated Brooklyn style and culture while harkening contemporary architectural design. Photo by Amelie Belanger.

Andrew: What is something you hope to see trending in design in the future?
Katharine: A greater emphasis on modern makers. I believe in purchasing meaningful pieces with stories behind them. Not only does this approach support the individuals who are passionately pursuing their crafts, but it gives you a story and connection to the items in your home.

The more pieces a person has in their home that were created by others who poured their hearts and souls into them, the more heart the home has. This is one of the many reasons I love and gravitate towards art. There is always a story behind a piece that connects those who make it and those who view it and paths cross that would have never otherwise done so.

Andrew: What would your dream project or dream client be right now?
Katharine: Our dream projects are when we work with a designer on a new build, full house, getting involved from the beginning (before walls are even up!) as we did for Project Quogue. We love having agency in every decision as it relates to walls – from where to NOT put outlets and AV panels to paint colors and wallpaper, styled shelving, new and existing artwork, and curated sculptural accessories throughout the space.

I have a soft spot for homes that seem removed, like a getaway. Whether on a lake, the beach, the woods or elsewhere, helping create a retreat for clients is our dream project . Here, clients are more willing to experiment and more able to have the mental space for appreciating their surroundings.

The eccentric large polaroid of a lightbulb hanging was created by Amanda Means. She has an entire series of colored light bulbs which range of prominent colors such as teals and pinks. Photo by Amelie Belanger.

Andrew: What are you most proud of?
Katharine: Regarding work, I am most proud of building Mason Lane and creating a niche in my industry of helping the entry level collector – a niche that didn’t previously exist since more art advisors cater to the more seasoned buyer. Through this company, I’m able to help clients discover works that bring them a unique type of joy they can hold onto forever. Alongside that, we are supporting artists, helping their voices be heard, and employing a team of women that can collaborate, build their skills, and develop their careers as the business grows.

In life, I am most proud of being a present and passionate mama to my two girls while running a business and pursuing my own career. I started Mason Lane Art after my first daughter was born as a way to have flexibility with her, but never saw myself stepping away from work completely. I wouldn’t exactly describe my pandemic-mom-teacher-business owner life as “flexible” but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I am passionate about setting an example for my kids by leading my own business, but also by showcasing skills they and struggles that they can learn from – networking, collaborating, networking, being ethical, leading a team, facing setbacks and moving forward. I encourage them to do the same, and as a side project, I started Helping Hands Girls Club last year to further this mission. The club is a (now virtual) class for girls ages 6-9 that provides an education in community service. I believe that through this club, young girls will feel empowered by discovering their own ability to help others.

Hanging right above the sectional couch is a piece by Melanie Authier which was featured in Mason Lane’s Project Welcome in Brooklyn. Photo by Sean Litchfield.

Andrew: If you had one more hour in the day what would you do with it?
Katharine: I’m tempted to say “sleep”, but ideally I would spend it letting go of all the “shoulds” in my life and just being outside in the fresh air with my family. We had a unique opportunity to do this regularly during the pandemic by picnicking in the grass, going on hikes, and getting a thrill out of seeing animals big and small. It was a great life lesson in what really restores you.

About The Maker | Katharine Earnhardt developed an in-depth art market knowledge and aptitude for developing client taste through 15 years of experience in the New York and London art worlds. She has worked at notable institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, Christie’s Inc, and Gurr Johns, and conducted extensive research on art value and investment. She regularly speaks, conducts webinars, and leads classes on the art industry, educating designers and other creatives about sourcing and acquiring art. Known for her approachability, transparency, and discerning eye for art, balance, and scale, Katharine instills trust and confidence in her clients and industry colleagues.

Katharine has a dual degree in Art History and Economics from Williams College and a Masters in Art Business from Sotheby’s Institute of Art. Outside of her business, she takes pride in preserving quality time with her two girls and husband, starting a local community service class for children, and being unexpectedly outdoorsy. Photo by Amelie Belanger.

Andrew Joseph is a regular contributing editor for ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine. See more of his work here.

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