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Mother Essentials

Mother Essentials: Catherine Kwong

Written by

Erin Feher

Catherine Kwong has made a career out of having impeccable taste—she’s a celebrated interior designer who has graced not one, but two design magazine covers in the past three months. So, it comes as no surprise that everything from her son’s bedding to his shoes to his library card is an aesthetic win. Not to mention her own chic version of a diaper bag (hint, it’s Chloé). Check out her 17 current “Mother Essentials” below.

Painterly Stripe Duvet Cover. “And we’re in a big boy bed, everybody! Very exciting. Schoolhouse Electric has the cutest bedding and blankets for kids and adults. This painterly stripe is one of my favorites.”
Painterly Stripe Duvet Cover, $159, Schoolhouse.

Mirrored Trillion Sapphire Ring. “Isn’t this ring gorgeous? No. 3 Shop has the most amazing jewelry pieces, ranging from delicate to edgy. This sapphire ring is calling to me.”
Mirrored Trillion Sapphire Ring, $4,561, Shop No. 3.

The Pointed Slide. “I have three pairs of these, and now everyone knows it. I’ve worn these flats everywhere: traveling throughout Japan, running through a sudden downpour in Los Angeles; with torn jeans, with a cocktail dress… Every client and colleague has seen me in these. Get your multiple pairs in case they ever get discontinued!”
The Pointed Slide, $85, Everlane.

Chloé Shoulder Bag. “My work bag, which is sometimes filled with toy cars.”
Chloé Tess Leather-and-Suede Shoulder Bag, $1,850, Net-a-Porter.

Nelson Sneakers. “When my husband first got these shoes for Miles, I thought they were totally weird. But, I have to say, they look pretty cute on him! He loves wearing them, and there are no laces to tie, which is great in the mornings, when we’re rushing out the door to get to school on time.”
People Footwear Nelson Kid Sneaker, $47, Amazon.

Victorian Diamond Encrusted Heart Locket. “The inscription on this vintage locket just melts me. It reads: Mother from her children 15th May 1901. It’s from Metier, my favorite spot for vintage jewelry.”
Victorian 15k Gold and Diamond Encrusted Heart Locket, circa 1880s, $5,800, Metier.

Legos. “Right now, in my house, it’s all about Legos.”
Lego Classic Creative Brick Box, $27.99, Amazon.

Appointed Notebook. “I started bullet journaling as a method of organizing my life (or at least trying to), and I use Appointed notebooks pretty much exclusively. The quality is top-notch, and I love their linen covers. Every detail is considered. You can get them monogrammed with your initials, and one year we even made custom ones with a company motto printed on them—‘A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for’—and gave them to clients as holiday gifts.”
Appointed Notebook, $22, Need Supply.

Lomo’Instant Wide Central Park Camera. “I’m obsessed with polaroids and instant film cameras. This one is great because you can adjust the focus for distance, and it takes the wider Fuji instax film, which is my favorite size. I love the scale of the wider prints, and that they are in landscape orientation.”
Lomography Lomo’Instant Wide Central Park Camera, $259, Amazon.

San Francisco Public Library Card. “We are super fans of children’s book artist Christian Robinson (GastonSchool’s First Day of School). I think I’ve read Last Stop on Market Street to Miles over a hundred times. So, we were really excited when the San Francisco Public Library came out with these library cards featuring Robinson’s artwork. I signed each family member up for their own individual card, so that we could collect all the different designs.”
San Francisco Public Library Card, free, SFPL.

Stroopwafels. “We obviously try to keep bribery to a minimum in our parenting, but when we are traveling with Miles on an airplane, all bets are off. Somewhere along the way, long ago, a deal was struck that if he took a nap on the plane, he would get a stroopwafel when he woke up. So random, but whatever it takes on those cross-country flights. Now when we’re leaving the house for the airport, it’s like: ‘Passport? Photo ID? Stroopwafels?’”
Daelmans Stroopwafels, $13, Amazon.

The Hotel Saint Cecilia Robe. “I received this robe as a Christmas gift from my sister, who is an awesome gift-giver. Like, she actually does it professionally. It’s from the Hotel Saint Cecilia in Austin, and it’s so comfortable. It’s like walking around draped in the world’s nicest bedsheet.”
The Hotel Saint Cecilia Indigo Robe, $190, Hotel Saint Cecilia.

Good Eggs. “I use Good Eggs, a local grocery delivery service, for everything: family groceries, meal kits, wine to bring to dinner parties, gifts for teachers, and all of the snacks. They partner with a lot of my favorite local small businesses, including Josey Baker Bread. Their country sourdough bread is heavenly.”
Good Eggs.

Mr. Crum’s Potato Predicament. “This book is a favorite in our family. A warm and funny story, with illustrations that show a true love of food and cooking. The illustrator, Felicita Sala, makes even a plain old potato look absolutely scrumptious. As the first page explains, ‘The story you are about to savor is a fictional tale with a helping of truth.’”
Mr. Crum’s Potato Predicament, $12.59, Amazon.

Vintage Eames Chairs. “I adore vintage furniture, and I’ve been known to do a deep dive online, late into the night. These vintage Eames chairs would be perfect for a playroom or homework area. I love how they’re just a shade different from each other.”
Vintage Molded Plastic Eames Chairs, $650, Chairish.

What Am I? Board Game. “This game is sweet and simple to play, even for younger ages to play with adults. It’s so funny to hear the clues that Miles comes up with. You’re supposed to just answer yes or no questions and eventually arrive at the answer, but he can’t help but shout out really subtle clues, such as ‘Oh! You are something that comes with cheese and pepperoni on top, and we just ate it for dinner!’”
What Am I? Board Game, $16, Amazon.

Patagonia Baby Retro-X Vest. “Perfect for San Francisco weather, pretty much all year long.”
Patagonia Baby Retro-X Vest, $48.90, Saint Bernard.

For more on Catherine, check out her website and Instagram feed! And for more Mother Essentials, peep our past columns with artist Kindah Khalidy, jewelry designers Lauren Godfrey and Maggie Gavigan Smith, Oakland retail queen Sherri McMullen, PR pro Priscilla VegaCourtney Klein of StorqJoanne EncarnacionLaTonya YvetteMorgan Walker of Make.doJeanne Chan of Harlow & Grey, and more.

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