Hip Home: Kate Richards of Drinking With Chickens
See how this Drinking With Chickens blogger and Los Angeles artist beautifully feathers her nest with a passel of pets and great personal style.
Since she launched her Drinking With Chickens blog in March 2016, Kate Richards has become a lifestyle and Instagram celebrity, offering cocktail recipes and dispensing wit from her vibrant, colorful home base; a 100-year-old L.A. farmhouse. This third-generation Angeleno lives with her husband, urban chickens and a passel of other cute pets, and delights readers with her nonpareil sense of style and wicked sense of humor. Along the way Richards has become an advocate for the pleasures of growing your own food, enjoying a well-curated cocktail and simply putting your feet up and savoring the richness of the good life which includes gardening, family, friends, design and beloved pets.
Avocation and vocation: Cocktail Content-Creator, Writer, and Chicken-Wrangler-in-Chief at Drinking with Chickens.
How would you describe your home’s vibe? Farmhouse quirk, is what I like to call it.
Who lives here? Myself and my husband, Jonathon, our two dogs, a couple of cats, an African Grey parrot, and a small mixed flock of sassy chickens.
Red is a big part of your design. Is it your favorite color? I would say my favorite colors tend to fall in the coral or red-orange zone, but yes! Pretty much!
It’s the weekend and you don’t have big plans. What’s your favorite thing to do at home? Put my feet up and drink with my chickens (maybe after a long day of digging in the garden).
Favorite room in the house and what it says about you? Is it weird to say that it’s our teeny, tiny powder room? (That we refer to as The Terlit). It’s only about 16 square feet or so, but I went full Crazy Bird Lady on it and wallpapered it with a really loud bird-patterned paper. And I love it. I’m not sure what that says about me...
5 favorite design elements in your home (that aren’t animals or human). Go!
- Our farmhouse sink. It is very big. I like big sinks.
- Our cupola. Cupolas are a very underrated exterior design element. When I first saw this house in all its 110-year-old dilapidated glory, I knew it needed a cupola and weathervane, and we only just got around to installing it about two years ago. No regrets.
- The wallpaper in The Terlit. It is a removable variety from Spoonflower.com designed by Rebecca Reck Art.
- The gorgeous, ginormous chicken painting over our stairs made by Emily Reid. For prints and similar paintings, go to her site.
- Speaking of the stairs, I love our built-in bookshelves tucked into the otherwise useless wall along the stairs. We have limited storage in this old house and I get a kick out of tucking some in where it doesn’t belong.
How is your space different from the home you grew up in? This is gonna surprise everyone, but I grew up in a house with a ton of pets. In fact, we had every type of domesticated animal throughout my childhood—except chickens. I have no clue why. And I always, always wanted them. So it was kind of a no-brainer that as soon as I had a place where I could keep them, I’d get them. I blame this all on my parents.
That chifferobe-slash-bar is killing it. I’m seeing some very esoteric booze there. What’s in our collection? a.k.a.: The Barmoire. It is my childhood bedroom TV cabinet (complete with Lazy Susan, and plenty of VHS tape-shaped storage drawers), that we upcycled into a bar. The Lazy Susan now sports a pull-out, pivoting cutting board and the VHS tape drawers are the perfect size for bar tools. As for the bottle collection—it’s an ever-evolving situation full of too many beautiful goodies to even begin to single out. One of the perks of being a cocktail content creator: you get a lot of boozemail. And I’m definitely not complaining.
Go-to cocktail after a hard day of work: A classic Champagne Cocktail or a freshly-made Mai Tai.
In a nutshell: why are chickens awesome? They are funny, funny little creatures. The entire origin of “Drinking with Chickens” is that chicken owners often wind up spending a lot of time sitting and watching their chickens just chickening around. My husband and I always incorporated this into happy hour. There is just something wonderfully entertaining about sitting in the garden with a nice, fresh cocktail and watching the birds be their ridiculous little selves. Plus…yanno…fresh eggs everyday.
Which came first? The egg white cocktail.
Judging by your collection, books on chickens and gardening are favorites. Any unexpected reading material maybe people wouldn’t peg you for? Chickens, gardens, cocktails, and also cocktails. There’s a few design books and random quirky dog books peppered in there, too.
Your parrot looks like she has a lot on her mind. Does she know any words you can repeat? They say African Grey parrots have the brain capacity of a human toddler. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but she is definitely inclined to grab onto the words and noises that elicit some sort of reaction from her audience, whether good or bad, it doesn’t matter. If she gets a reaction, she loves it. Does she swear like a sailor? Yes. Does she belch and then sigh in contentment? Yes and yes. Do I have any idea where she got that from? Not a clue.
Your kitchen is beyond cozy. What’s your favorite thing to whip up when you have time? I like to say that I only cook cocktails. Because it’s true.
Is your design scheme chicken-inspired? I can’t help but see something semi-fowl in the colors and patterns that make me think of their gorgeous feathers and crowns: I definitely have a tendency to gravitate towards artwork, objects and patterns that are a little..shall we say: Crazy Chicken Lady-flavored? Sure, let’s go with that. I clearly have a type.
Loving your chicken-themed line of barware. Where can people buy it? Over at the shop on my website: drinkingwithchickens.com
Everything about your house says fun and festive. How can people create that same sense of energy and creativity in their own home? I definitely wind up filling my house with colors, patterns and things that make me smile. I really think that’s the bottom line. I sort of cling to one specific Behr brand red-coral color (called, coincidentally, Farmhouse Red)—it is the color of the exterior doors on the house, and I have a tendency to paint a lot of random pieces of furniture that same color (when in doubt, paint it Farmhouse Red). It makes me happy, so I repeat it ad-nauseum throughout the space, and then make sure that any other colors or patterns that I bring into the house either include it or complement it.
What’s that cocktail you’re making? We did this shoot on National Whiskey Sour Day…so it was a Meyer Lemon Whiskey Sour (Made with whiskey, lemon juice, Meyer lemon simple syrup, and egg whites).
You’re a crafty gardener, it looks like you take advantage of limited growing space with some vertical planters. Any other small-space growing advice? Pack it in. Grow things up walls, in pots, on tables—wherever you can eke out a little (or a lot of) space and have some sunshine, stick a plant in it. I think people get worried about cluttering, but I personally think that plants bring a lot of life and texture to a small space. So clutter away.