James Swan

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Episode 197: Ellie Cullman

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“Ellie Cullman’s elegant interiors – impeccably sourced antiques, rich colors, textured finishes and embellished trim all speak to a sensibility steeped in tradition” (Architectural Digest, January 2014).  And that tradition has endured and flourished at Cullman & Kravis, the firm she founded with late partner Hedi Kravis 30 years ago – a milestone in the interior design industry.


Ellie Cullman’s career has been distinguished by a number of equally impressive achievements.  Since 2000, Ellie has been listed in the definitive “AD 100” Architectural Digest’s designated best designers and architects. Additionally, she was included in the AD list of “The Deans of American Design” in January 2005, and was the recipient of the “Stars of Design” award at NYC’s D&D building in October 2009.


Ellie has co-authored “Decorating Master Class: The Cullman Kravis Way” (NY: Harry Abrams, 2008) and “The Detailed Interior: Decorating Up Close with Cullman & Kravis” (NY: The Monacelli Press, 2013) with longtime colleague Tracey Pruzan.  She has chaired a number of important antique shows including the Metro Show, Park Avenue Antiques Show, and the American Patrons Committee for Masterpiece in London.


A strong proponent of the arts, Ellie worked as an exhibition assistant at the Japan House Gallery and as a guest curator at The Museum of American Folk Art. She also co-curated two exhibitions at the museum: “Andy Warhol’s Folk and Funk” (co-writing the accompanying catalogue) and “Small Folk: A Celebration of Childhood in America” (co-writing the accompanying book which was published by E.P. Dutton.) In addition, she is currently a member of the Museum of Modern Art’s Contemporary council and the Metropolitan Museum’s Visiting Committee on Objects and Conservation. She also sits on the boards of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Friends of Florence.


As a New York City based interior design firm Cullman & Kravis has a significant track record of commitment to its urban community.  The firm has completed pro bono projects for such organizations as Safe Horizon, the city’s leading provider of domestic violence shelter services; the New York Restoration Project’s Garden of Hope and a medical intensive care unit waiting room at Mt. Sinai Hospital


Born and raised in Brooklyn, where her family owns the renowned Peter Luger steak house, Ellie graduated Phi Beta Kappa magna cum laude from Barnard College and pursued East Asian Studies at Columbia Graduate School.


Ellie lives in New York City and Connecticut with her husband, Edgar, a business executive. She has three children: Trip – a theater director, Sam – an Academy Award nominee documentary filmmaker, and Georgina – a PhD in environmental studies.


Explore Ellie’s Website here


Pick-up copies of Ellie’s books The Detailed Interior and Decorating Master Class at our Design Library


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