Interview

Getting the Look: Soulful Home Design tips from Katie Scott, interior designer

Tips from Katie Scott, Interior Designer

When Katie Scott luxuriates in the peaceful warmth of her Houston studio, she’s amazed at where she is in life, by her improbable, unorthodox path. With a natural gift and an eye for color, Katie is a skilled designer whose work strikes a chord. After founding her own business, she crafted the tagline “Style Your Soul,” a motto she lives by when designing interiors to tell clients’ stories, and reflect their individuality.

But Katie has her own story to tell. She credits her natural talent – and a spiritual awakening – for her success in such a competitive field. Unlike many of her contemporaries, she attended no elite schools, and had no formal training.

After opening a studio in 2005, her career quickly skyrocketed. By 2008, she was called one of the nation’s top interior designers (domino magazine). Her work has since been featured in Elle Decor, Modern Luxury Interiors, Southern Living, Country French, and Luxe.

Katie granted us entry into her beautiful world, sharing her inspiration and some golden decorating tips.

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What are the latest interior design trends: color, textures, designs?

In the past, French and Italian antiques were such a big trend. But people are now gravitating towards modern homes and decors; they want a more updated look. At the same time, I’m fascinated by the tension created when you pair two opposing periods.

There’s also a big interest in using metals. I use a lot of metals in my designs. Juxtaposing two different materials is so interesting. It’s all about mixing velvets, wood, linen, and acrylic. For example, if you use linen on a sofa, use velvet on a chair. Or, in the case of a wooden cocktail table, there’s nothing more beautiful than using metal on the bases so that you have that natural warmth juxtaposed against colder metal. When those techniques are polished, it makes the greatest statement.

If you’re on a budget, a less expensive alternative to brass is Formica… it has the metal look.

As for color, before we were seeing monochromatic color palettes – a lot of beige, white, and gray. But that’s going out now, and I’m seeing people starting to use more color, like green, yellow, and navy blue. Color used in a beautiful way adds so much life to a home.

What recommendations do you have for designing family living spaces?

I have a large family with four kids, so I speak from personal experience. One piece of advice I give my clients is not to live in such a way that you’re afraid things will get messed up. The family room should be livable. Just as it’s okay to wear blue jeans, razors, and stilettos almost anywhere, a family room should be the same: dressy casual. Keep yourself surrounded by beautiful things, but also make wise choices like using outdoor fabrics and lots of rich color; that way you don’t have to worry about spills on the sofa.

If your home needs a “refresh” or “update,” rather than a complete makeover, what is the most practical way to update the look?

Accessorize.

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You can add blankets, pillows, colorful accessories, boxes, books on a coffee table, fresh flowers. It’s so easy to change the way things look using accessories. Re-upholster a chair or sofa in a neutral or fun color and accessorize on top of that.

White is your favorite color – but it shows dirt easily. How practical is that for a family?

I love white. I ground things against white a lot; it speaks to my soul. There’s really nothing to fear about using white in furniture and fabric. You can use bleach and treat stains.

What’s your advice for the eco-conscious, for those interested in sustainable design?

I definitely see this as a trend with staying power. There are a lot of eco-conscious furniture, rugs and fabrics available. I recommend using fabric and rug protection.

How do fashion, art, and international design trends inspire you as a designer?

Art makes me want to step outside the box. It’s a subtle reminder to live fearlessly. It inspires me to be more courageous, to use great wild colors. The more different something is, the more interesting the piece. Art is also a design element. If you have interesting art in a room, let that be the focus, and do less with the rest of the space.

European fashion and interior designers are the true fashionistas. They’ve had an enormous influence on American designers.

Typical client?

My typical client is not just ready for a change; they’re looking to start over.

Your mentors?

Vicente Wolf. He’s one of the world’s top designers, and has won every conceivable award. When I saw his work in Architectural Digest I was floored. He has an incredible gift. I often buy furniture from his showroom.

I got to meet Vicente a few years ago in New York and was so impressed. He’s not only supremely gifted, but he’s also this amazingly kind, humble being. We decided to collaborate on a jewelry design collection that will come out this month. It’s amazing how you can manifest your dreams.

Creative inspirations?

My perfect formula is meditating every morning. I’ve meditated for years; it’s a practice that keeps me grounded, my mind clear and open to new things. Meditation inspires my best ideas.

My creativity thrives on sensory stimulation. Lighting is key; I have to be in bright light or sunshine. Sometimes I light a candle with a beautiful scent and put on music. I love listening to Chris Bodie; he’s amazing.

So is Katie, I might add!

For more information on Katie and her business, visit her online (www.katiescottdesign.com)

Lisa Stahl

Lisa Stahl, a native New Yorker, has authored many articles that graced the cover pages of magazines and websites. She’s the author of two distance-learning courses on fashion and has contributed substantial research and content on politics and foreign policy to three books by a political analyst and adviser to Hillary Clinton. Lisa’s achievements include an MA in English with honors from Columbia University. She also studied piano at Juilliard.

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