Your New Home Decor Obsession: Brooklyn-Based Designer Caroline Z. Hurley

Photo: Courtesy of Caroline Z Hurley

(Photo: Caroline Z. Hurley)

This month, design-world darling and travel addict Caroline Z. Hurley—a RISD grad whose housewares collection can be found in nearly every independent home decor boutique across the U.S.—expands her range of throw blankets ($140–$265), pillows ($120–$150) and table linens ($60) to include rugs ($298–$700), aprons ($45) and quilts ($250–$395). The new introductions continue in the same vein as Hurley’s well-established style: basic geometric shapes done in muted tones and neutrals, many of which are hand-printed by Hurley herself.

Hurley’s singular aesthetic seems appropriately informed by the Memphis native’s time as a preschool teacher. “I started my business when I was teaching,” recalls Hurley. “I would bring all of these silly art projects from class back with me to my studio. They were all about shapes and super-basic colors. Preschool is the best place to revive your spirit!”

We caught up with the Brooklyn-based designer to find out which celeb she’d like to see with a piece from her new collection, what she’ll be designing next, and more.

Designer Caroline Z. Hurley with a pillow and throw from her collection. Photo: Courtesy of Caroline Z. Hurley

Hurley with pieces from her collection. (Photo: Caroline Z. Hurley)

First of all, what does the ‘Z’ in your name stand for?
“Zucchero! It’s my mom’s maiden name, and it means sugar in Italian!”

Describe your style in three words.
“Cozy, modern, easy.”

Where does your design inspiration come from?
“All over! I love looking at painters I respect, like Agnes Martin, Willem de Kooning and Sheila Hicks. But mostly, my inspiration comes from travel. All of my senses are heightened when I’m immersed in a new culture. I see colors and shapes more vibrantly when I’m in a new country.”
Photo: Courtesy of Caroline Z. Hurley

(Photo: Caroline Z. Hurley)

What do you have planned for your next travel adventure?
“I’m going to Italy for my birthday to visit my best pal from art school. I used to live in Rome and it’ll be my first trip back since that time.”
If you could live in anther country, which one would you choose?
“Mexico. It has the best vibe ever. I love the culture and people there. It has mountains and ocean. It has a spiritual energy that I love, too.”
Which of your new products are you most excited about?
“I’m super excited about our quilts this season. I’ve been developing them with an amazing woman in New Jersey for about eight months. I design them and she helps me make them into a reality. A big part of my design process is based on the people who help me manufacture. I never work with factories, I work with individuals—which is basically the cottage industry. I have personal relationships with everyone who makes CZH products.”
Photo: Courtesy of Caroline Z. Hurley

Photo: Courtesy of Caroline Z. Hurley

How does your brand’s aesthetic compare to your personal decor aesthetic? 
“I think they’re pretty similar. I make things that I want in my own home. I like light-colored things and pastels. I don’t gravitate towards heavy, dark wood or deep colors, and that’s like my brand too.”
What’s something you haven’t designed yet that you’d like to put the CZH mark on?
“I’d love to make duvet covers—stay tuned for that. I’m working on a fun project with a cool mattress company that’s launching this fall.”
Okay, now a couple just for fun: If you could live in another decade, which one would you choose?
“I think the ’20s were so cool. I would have moved to Paris and hung with Hemingway and de Kooning and worn flapper dresses and tiny hats like The Great Gatsby.”
Fill in the blank: If I found out that ______ owned a piece of my work, I would just die.
Photo: Courtesy of Caroline Z. Hurley

Photo: Courtesy of Caroline Z. Hurley