Ten Minutes With Katie Brown
A home-makeover maven
Katie Brown has been providing creative DIY tips for the home for some twenty years—first for Lifetime’s “Next Door With Katie Brown,” then PBS’s “Katie Brown Workshop,” and most recently for Yahoo Makers. She has published numerous books about cooking, gardening, and decorating: Katie Brown Decorates, Katie Brown Entertains, Katie Brown Weekends, and Katie Brown Celebrates, among others. A native of Michigan she lives in Ridgefield with husband Bill Corbin and two daughters.
Professionally speaking, what takes up your time right now?
Social media—the monster that you can’t stop feeding. And I’m searching for my second act, so I’m pitching shows.
I’m thinking about going back to Michigan: Buying, redecorating, and flipping houses for a PBS TV show.
Do you like those house-flipping shows?
No, I am not a fan. But I like “Life of a Chef.” It takes place in North Carolina, and North Carolina is a character. My content gets shaped by my life in Connecticut, which is what I’d like my show to be. If I could do a little good for Michigan, that would be a success.
You grew up in Michigan, wanted to live in California. How’d you end up in Ridgefield?
Bill was working in Norwalk, and we were living in Brooklyn. Ridgefield reminds me of my hometown in Michigan—lots of community spirit. My kids needed a backyard. Made me less homesick.
Where did you meet your husband?
I had a show on A&E. I always do running jokes on the set. One regular was “I am wife waiting to happen”—that is: I’m teaching other women how to run a home, but I didn’t have one myself. One day, people at work said, “We have your husband. His name is Bill Corbin.” They faked a meeting to get him there, and sure enough, there was this really foxy guy at the table. I said, “What are the chances?” We got married seven months later.
And then came Prentiss?
Yes, she will be an eighth-grader at East Ridge. And we adopted beautiful Meredith. She’s eight and is at Branchville and loves it.
What makes Katie Brown Katie Brown?
Obsession, compulsion. I had my first show on Lifetime, and it went from weekly to every day. People said I would run out of ideas. That was a foreign concept. It’s what I do: I still fall asleep looking at Pinterest and thinking about how I can come up with shortcuts to make life easier.
Where did that come from?
I have 32 first cousins and 13 aunts and uncles. All of them are so talented. When we turned 11, the gift was to decorate your room. So I picked out shag carpeting and watermelon wallpaper. It was so fun. When we go out for dinner, we don’t discuss current events. We discuss the décor of the restaurant.
Has anything at your daughters’ schools inspired a show segment?
Yes, quite a few. I’m always trying to come up with ways to pack school lunches. I would say that what I’ve learned from Branchville and East Ridge makeup 20 percent of the content that I produce.
Wow, that’s amazing.
For sure. My house is a great incubator.