In this edition of the Designer Spotlight, we sit down with Kati Curtis, a self-professed “flower child” with an unrestrained style and eye for the refined. She gave us a little bit of insight into her life, inspiration, how to deal with design challenges, and much more.
The pull into design:
Kati’s journey toward design has practically been there her entire life – or at least since she was 10 and living in Maine. There, her father designed and built their home with his own hands. Not only did this early experience draw her to design, but it also lit the fire for her passion of handcrafted things.
“I have vivid memories of working side-by-side with him in our basement, drawing up floor plans, debating over details, and having a lot of fun. My family designed a house that was all about us: who we were, what we cared about, what our lifestyle was like up there,” Kati explained. She had her room all figured out – pretty, girly, pink and refined, but also edgy and very unrestrained, all proving that some things never change. Best of all, her floor plan included a secret passage which her father actually built!
“That house was about the culture of our family, and into it we put the things that were important to us, that we found and loved, and that we collected. So in that house, my love of crafted, cultured and collected took root.”
Choosing a profession came as naturally as taking a breath. When she looked upon that house in her memory, reflecting on how it felt to be a part of designing it, thinking about how comforting it felt to live somewhere that told her family’s story, she knew those were the exact feelings she wanted to inspire in other people.
Contrasts and color:
Kati’s main inspirations, both directly and indirectly, are easy for her to pinpoint: contrasts, which fascinate her, and color, which lets her express a point of view and define a personality. A specific palette allows her to create an interior that evokes a mood and creates a feeling unique to that space.
On challenging designs:
Strange architectural proportions can sometimes present challenges, especially since Kati’s process is rooted in the classic elements of proportion, line, and shape. When the basics are off in a space, it can be more challenging. That being said, she is always up for the challenge and embraces difficult spaces as unique design problems to solve.
Bringing vintage items back to life:
Accessories are crucial in giving a room those unique touches individual to each designer; one of Kati’s favorite uses of accessories is to use them to reinvent a room’s look. She loves mixing pieces from flea markets to antique shops to eBay and even chain stores.
“If I see a fantastic old lamp at a flea market that I know is broken, I’ll take it in a heartbeat, she said. “In my next heartbeat, I’ll bring it to my neighborhood lighting store, because they’ll re-wire it for me and I’ll have the heirloom look I love.”
On working with rugs in her designs:
Kati’s thoughts on rugs are straight-forward: a good rug grounds a project, gives it soul, and can serve as a great base for the rest of the items in a room. She begins with a client’s story, and addresses each element specifically for the part it plays. One client insisted on using antique rugs that were her own grandmother’s, which were the perfect jumping off points for the color scheme of the apartment and had meaning and relevance for the client.
When working with Stark products, Kati will often select a rug for its style or color, where it came from, and whether or not it has meaning to the project. A rug takes center stage, but at the same time blends seamlessly into the background of the room.
In her portfolio, the most unique project utilizing Stark products was a family room she designed in an Arts and Crafts home in New Jersey. The room had challenging proportions, a sunken area, and unusually high ceilings. Not only did the rug need to fit stylistically, but it also had to correct the scale of the space itself. “This particular rug did just that and we couldn’t be more thrilled at how the room looks now,” Kati said.
With decades of luxury carpet, rug, fabric, and wallcovering experience, Stark serves an expansive and creative audience of designers like Kati Curtis. With an unsurpassed commitment to quality and dedicated concierge service, Stark can meet the design needs of rooms the world over.
Explore even more of the designers that work with Stark in the Design Showcase.