Katie Hackworth is a walking lesson on following your passions. Katie says she found her “passion for interior design and architecture in a rather organic way. It began with a remodel/addition of a 1950s cottage-style home 10 years back, and grew from there. I realized how important my surroundings were and how they affect my emotions and state of mind. People began taking notice of the homes and interiors I was creating, and in 2013, I took a leap of faith and created my own boutique-style, full-service design and build company. My client base has grown quickly and I’m grateful every single day.”
Katie's interior design build company grew so quickly that measures had to be made in order to keep up. “I recently partnered with a larger local contractor, Dovetail General Contractors, whose work I have admired for some time. They appreciate and pay close attention to the details that make my work unique,” she says, and we can’t wait to see what comes next because we’re already fans.
We sat down with the busy mother of two girls—plus a handful of rescue dogs and a hedgehog—to hear how a Seattle-based designer sees Southern style, and how she approaches trends.
Alyssa Rosenheck: Tell me about yourself.
Katie Hackworth: First, I’m a mom to my two girls, who have me wrapped around their little fingers. I’m an extroverted introvert and an Aries through and through. I’ve always been an observer, and from that I think I’ve learned a lot about people and myself and what we respond to. I prefer things to look effortless, but it never is (and you normally won’t hear me say that). And I’m entirely too sensitive for my own good. That’s me in a tiny nutshell.
AR: How are you modernizing Southern style when you design?
KH: I focus on pulling together timeless elements that are (hopefully) unexpected. Southern style is timeless. It’s about family, history, and tradition. All core themes that should run throughout a home and never feel outdated. You can take two somewhat traditional components and combine them in a new way, or contrast them with something completely paired down. The new balance created is what modernizes the overall design.
AR: What innovative trends are you seeing with Southern design across the country?
KH: I don’t pay much attention to trends; great design is beyond that. It’s something people respond to innately, regardless of what is trending in the moment.
AR: What are your favorite Seattle design boutiques?
AR: Favorite shade of white and black paint color?
KH: I have two favorite shades of white. "Simply White" by Benjamin Moore is my go-to, and for a slightly more historical feel, I warm it up a bit with "Crisp Linen,” also from Benjamin Moore. My favorite shade of black is just that, “Black" by Benjamin Moore.
AR: What’s your life motto?
KH: I can’t do anything half way. I’m either in 100 percent, or out. I know there is a phrase about that somewhere…all or nothing! Yes. That’s it.
AR: What’s the one shade the changes everything?
KH: Forest green. The hue reads so much to me. Fancy, rich, and deep, along with natural, authentic, and true. The tone demands attention, but in a very understated way.
AR: The place you go to get inspired?
KH: The architecture and interiors of Paris, Berlin, London, Istanbul, Rome, Amsterdam… all viewed via Pinterest. Of course, in person would be even better.
AR: The key to making a house a home?
KH: A home should never read as a picture-perfect page from a catalog. A home needs character and layers describing the people that live within it through artwork, books, collections, family heirlooms, curious knick-knacks, and then some.
AR: What’s a piece of life advice you’ve gotten that made all the difference?
KH: All of my drive comes from within, and it goes back to that all or nothing motto. Give something your everything, and it will happen. I don’t know who said that, but I keep repeating it.
AR: What about design advice?
KH: Stick with your gut. Trust your instincts. If you love it, buy it…. all true!
AR: What’s the best piece of business advice you could provide for creative entrepreneurs starting out?
KH: Having a successful business is nothing short of exhausting. You must love what you do. It’s the only thing that will make it all worth it. And in the end, you'll only remember the good stuff.
AR: Who are some of your favorite artists?
KH: Kai Samuals Davis easily stands out as a favorite artist of this era. His pieces are very tactile and real with a massive jolt of emotion. I've tried to dissect his brushstrokes and his process just seems to be genius. In addition, I love collecting the artwork of my talented friends: Drie Chapek, Megumi Shauna Arai, Michelle Armas, Lydia Bassis, Dorothee Brand, Valeria Spring, Jenny Vorwaller, Deb Achak, to name a few. I think knowing the artist personally adds another layer to the piece and it’s an honor to have them placed throughout my home.
AR: How to mix old with new?
KH: Staying timeless is the best advice anyone can give you. Whether it’s a timeless piece from this decade or decades back, you can’t go wrong.
AR: Fill in the blank, “my momma always said…”
KH: “Always be kind and good.” I do my best. That’s all I need to say about that.
AR: Go-to housewarming gift?
KH: Coffee table books are a great gift and a perfect component for layering a home with personal character. My current favorites are John Derian’s John Derian Picture Book and Malene Birger’s Life and Work.
AR: Design book you’ll always have on your own shelf?
KH: A Frame for Life by Isle Crawford. Everything she does is unexpected perfection.
AR: Tell us something we probably don’t know.
KH: In my previous life, I thought I would go into medicine. I took a few extra marine biology classes, and landed myself a zoology degree from The University of Washington.
AR: What’s your dream project?
KH: The palette and materials I gravitate toward reflect what I see in nature. Living in the Pacific Northwest and growing up surrounded by water will do that to you. It leads me to say that my dream project would be a small, authentic home placed on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. If it was my own, even better. I guess that makes me my dream client. I know what I like, which makes working for myself quite easy!
AR: The greatest color combination that ever existed?
KH: A warm, crisp white alongside raw white oak.