Kate Walker has designed some amazing spaces! Now, for design lovers on a budget, Kate has launched her sister website KWD & Co because ‘everyone deserves the opportunity to have a beautifully designed home they can be proud of.’ This is the most addictive online renovation and design tool we’ve seen in ages! Kate explains her design influence and how KWD&Co was born…
Kate, how did you discover your passion for design?
My passion for design came from early years when I shared a bedroom with two of my sisters. We were
always arguing over who could have the best position in the room, so every month or so we had to redesign
our bedroom. We moved beds around, swapped doona covers, changed the layout of the furniture – and
every single time we redesigned the room together we loved it.
I understand your design business was founded on specifying hard surfaces. Do you offer full interior decorating services as well?
We offer a full design service, from space planning to joinery design to hard finish specification /documentation and soft furnishings. We’re very passionate about creating one-off pieces so we work with local manufacturers to create a truly individual decor for our clients. We also work closely with some fabulous fabric houses, and we love texture which we favour over colour and pattern.
You’ve recently launched KWD & Co. How/why did that come about?
I’ve always had a goal to make interior design accessible to everyone, not just to those clients who can afford bespoke design. Whilst I absolutely adore the custom projects that we work on at KWD, I believe everyone deserves the opportunity to have a beautifully designed home they can be proud of. Hence KWD & Co was born.
We LOVE how at KWD & Co. you’ve created 8 mood boards. Do you have a personal favourite?
I honestly don’t have a personal favourite aesthetic. When it comes to design, it’s the house itself, the land, the area and the aspect that determines the design style we recommend for a home. For my home, Beechwood, I chose a Modern Farmhouse feel that was based on bringing the outdoors in. It was the size of the land and the roofline that formed that decision, and it was the perfect aesthetic for my home. We are working on two new aesthetics at the moment which we will be adding to the KWD & Co portfolio. One is Lake House which brings in more of an American design influence and is a combination of Hamptons style and Modern Farmhouse. I’m also very inspired by European design, so we will be introducing a Belgian aesthetic which shows a very considered restraint, with raw muted materials and an understated palette to create beautiful, restful spaces.
Above: (top) Kate’s ‘Beechwood’ home and (below) the 8 mood boards on KWD&Co with two more coming soon.
Two Design Lovers tip:
Have a play with the incredibly addictive flat lay tool on KWD&Co. Drag in tile, stone, carpet and wood elements and see what works together.
On your KWD & Co. page, you say “we believe great design should be accessible to everybody, regardless of budget and time constraints”. We couldn’t agree more! How do you envisage people will use this offering and what sort of cost benefits can they get?
With KWD Access, you can get inside the brain of the KWD design team at a fraction of the price that it would cost for a bespoke design service. Essentially we ask you to complete a detailed questionnaire so we can get a real feel for the room/area you need assistance with, and we ask you to send us floor plans, links to any Pinterest/Houzz links you have and any images of look you are hoping to achieve. We also love to get an idea of the occupants of your home and of your lifestyle so we can help you create the perfect look for you, that suits your budget. And if you’re not sure of the look you should have, we help you drill down to find the perfect solution for you. Whilst it’s a one hour consultation on the phone, the KWD design team puts in lots of work behind the scenes, making the design process easy. At the end of your consultation we’ll get to work on creating your very own flat lay and we’ll provide a schedule of colours and finishes created just for you and your project – paint colours, tiles, timber, carpet, rugs, benchtops, natural stone, splash back looks, tapware and door hardware joinery styles, wallpaper swatches, lighting ideas and furniture suggestions. By choosing a KWD Access consultation, there’s no longer the trepidation of second guessing design choices. We help home-owners make the hard decisions that they can feel confident with.
Do you have any tips or advice for people who are renovating and decorating on a budget?
Select your style and stick to it, and make sure you work on areas where you get the biggest bang for your buck. One of the most cost-effective ways to redecorate is to paint – changing exterior or interior wall colours or painting kitchen doors. You can also update a kitchen splashback or bathroom with budget conscious tiles without compromising on the look. With tile technology today you can get really beautiful tiles that look like handmade Spanish tiles that are made in China for a fraction of the cost. Provided they are laid with the right intent by a professional, once they’re on the wall you may not be able to tell the difference.
Are there any particular people or places that have influenced your style?
Travel really influences my style – in particular North America. I get a lot of inspiration from contemporary and more traditional American design, and one of my newest sources of inspiration is New Zealand architecture – I love the materiality. In terms of a designer, Kelly Wearstler is one of my biggest influences. Mother Nature delivers in spades daily too.
What do you see as the key to creating a beautiful interior?
Settling on your design aesthetic and then showing considered restraint. Often it’s the things you leave out that are the best decisions.
We are excited by what you’re offering because we believe great design is enduring. When design is not well considered, or is trend following, it can have a short life and ultimately lead to waste. Do you have any comments in that regard?
The life cycle of a kitchen and bathroom is seven to ten years, so we don’t really believe in trends. We believe in strong, long-lasting design, and the use of technology. You can bring in the trend element in soft furnishings which are relatively disposable. For example, if pink is on trend, rather than using pink tiles in a bathroom simply add pink towels and accessories to achieve the latest look. When that trend is gone you can easily replace the decorator items.
We believe it is really important to teach our children to be conscious consumers and appreciate good design and quality. What lessons are important that you pass on?
We work with manufacturers who share our environmental position. For example, the KWD & Co. timber flooring collection only uses sustainable timber with the lowest VOCs
If you had to literally paint the town, what colour would it be?
Green. Green is soothing, serene and calming and reflects Mother Nature.
Where do you go for design inspiration?
I get design inspiration every day, everywhere I look. From nature, from shop fit-outs, from other designers, from Pinterest and Houzz, and from fashion which interiors quite often take their cues from. Fashion trends can last for six or maybe 12 months, so they are more transient than interior trends so we have to be conscious to apply trends in a more considered way that isn’t quite as bold.
Do you have a dream project?
A dream project for me is one where our clients truly trust our design direction. And when our clients are planned and prepared and give us a design brief that we can elevate well beyond their expectations.
Do you have a favourite piece of furniture in your home?
What are you loving on Two Design Lovers?
The Antique Chinese Cabinet. It evokes British Colonial style. It’s affordable but looks expensive, which makes it a perfect choice as a statement piece when decorating on a budget.
Images have been printed with the permission of Kate Walker Design