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Gardens Living Magazine

KW1

Cover story: KRISTA WATTERWORTH

A Designer Who “Gives a Room Soul”

Family photos: Debby Gans

Architectural photo: Jessica Glynn


Eric and Krista Alterman were relieved of New York’s hustle once they moved to Palm Beach Gardens. The couple, along with their 6-year-old son, Griffon, and 4-year-old daughter, Skylar, are adapting to the Florida lifestyle as Krista continues to enhance her design studio.

After growing up in Connecticut with her three older sisters, Krista earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine and a Master in Fine Art from the New School in Manhattan. She continued her education at the Parsons School of Design, a division of the New School. While attending school and starting her career, Krista spent about 11 years in Manhattan. “It’s funny that I know all of my neighbors here, because when I lived in Manhattan  I knew none of my neighbors,” said Krista. “You live so close, and you don’t ever talk to each other.” One neighbor Krista did get to know was Eric, who lived across the hall. The couple met in 2002 and the two became friends, started dating, and in 2006 decided to get married. Eric works in technology, creating software, building a company around that software, and then selling the company. “He loves it,” said Krista. “It’s very fast paced. His offices are in Brooklyn, so he travels quite a bit for work.”

The same year Krista and Eric married, Krista took her first step into her impressive career. Under her maiden name, Krista Watterworth, she hosted HGTV’s Save My Bath from 2006-2008. Since then, she has appeared on multiple television shows and has been featured in several magazines. “It’s important when you’re in a creative business, I think, to infuse a piece of who you are into everything you do. It’s almost impossible for me not to,” laughed Krista. CaptureAs a designer, she carries the art and energy of the places she’s lived and uses those influences in her work. “Everywhere I have lived feeds into my style as a designer,” said Krista. “I grew up in Connecticut, so I have a love of classical profiles.  I moved to South Beach for a while, living there in my 20s, and so I have a love of art deco. I lived in Manhattan, so there’s an urban vibe that gets involved. I design a lot with a light, ethereal style. I think that comes from being in such a bright, open environment. It’s been very fun, to be here, and design these large homes with this open concept feeling. It helps to be in an environment that feels like you’re on vacation. We’ve been here almost 5 years – I still have that feeling!”

Krista’s recent project has personal ties to her life in Florida with her family. Although not Jewish herself, her husband Eric is, and the couple decided to raise their children in the Jewish faith. Krista is renovating their temple, Temple Beth AM. “I’m donating all of my time. [There are talks about] adding a second floor to the preschool and updating their space. All of my friends that I met were through my kids, and they’re all in mixed religious marriages. It’s nice we all have something in common. The Rabbi there is very progressive, so the thought behind the new addition to the Temple was for an inter-faith community center. It’s really amazing being involved with people who give so much of their time. I love that about any community center, religious or not.”

It’s been a learning experience for Krista since she usually doesn’t do commercial projects this large. However, she’s not completely out of her element since her studio, Krista Watterworth Design Studio, follows their projects from start to finish. Krista’s team occasionally gets involved as early as deciding on a home’s architecture and layout. They then continue through to picking out hand towels and glassware, and can even have an organizer unpack clothing for seasonal clients before they get there. “All they have to do is roll up their suitcase into their brand new house,” said Krista. “Being involved in a home, and building a home is very hard for people because it’s personal. That’s why I got involved in this business. My need to be a designer really came from creating these peaceful, beautiful homes for people. For me, that comes from the heart.”

Capture

When taking moments away from her business, Krista enjoys her time with her husband and children. She’s a self-confessed foodie, and is always on a quest for new restaurants. Friday nights are Eric and her date nights, with current favorite spots including Hullabaloo and Coolinary Cafe. Saturday nights, nicknamed “family love dates,” are centered on taking the kids out to experience local restaurants; the kids’ favorite dinner spot has been the Okeechobee Steakhouse. Although Krista misses the abundance of food in New York, she loves finding these new restaurants and relaxing in the atmosphere of the Gardens. “I love all of our neighbors, and extended neighbors,” said Krista. “It’s a great environment. We wake up every day to the birds, and the kids love it. My friends who live on the preserves have bobcats, and turtles, and snakes. We go for nature walks through the preserves all the time.” “It was quite a transition, coming down here from Manhattan. It’s very, very fast paced up there. We needed it. It was so worth it, coming from that. Life if so stressful as it is, do you really need your environment to be? In New York, there’s a vibration that just never stops, there’s a buzz, and you can hear it in your bed at night. Being here, and being peaceful, is a blessing.”