Name: Katie Storey
Resides in: San Francisco, CA
Occupation: Interior Designer, Storey Design
Best known for: modern design with slightly rounded edges
Katie has spent the majority of her life finessing her design sensibilities. She started Storey Design with the goal of providing timeless and functional spaces that tell people’s story. With a belief that rooms can express deep truths and noble missions, Katie strives to design spaces that welcome you home. She has lived in Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Spain and naturally, her work combines a snapshot of her global ponderings with a healthy dose of comfort flairs. Most importantly, Katie is committed to designing a living, breathing extension of who you are and what you do—however quirky or sophisticated or multi-dimensional.
Antique or modern?
City or country?
Which colors do you use most?
The entire blue family, plus some warm grays and yellows.
Favorite materials or textures?
Linen and wicker, because it’s springtime!
What is your favorite interior design–related word?
Nook. I think every home should have one. I really love carving out small, cozy spaces (aka nooks) that make you want to curl up and stay for an entire day. It’s the kind of space where you put a few of your favorite trinkets and treasured items, and you return to that space for daily replenishment.
Does your home look like the one you grew up in?
Not at all! I grew up in Kentucky in a massive house situated on a couple of acres of hills. It had bedrooms and entire floors we never even used! It was full of empty objects like pictureless frames and bulbless lamps. As a result, I’m a bit of a minimalist now. I like function and proper placement with minimal waste. I live in Bernal Heights in San Francisco, which is a city neighborhood, there are no McMansions to fill. It’s ideal for me because the environment naturally inhibits sprawling collections of useless excess.
Does a room need a view?
No. What it needs is correct and appropriately placed lighting. Lighting makes all the difference, which is one reason it can be a challenge to get it right.
Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without?
Design Milk, Remodelista, SF Girl by the Bay, Anthology mag
What qualities do you most admire in a room?
Light, airiness, a feeling of being able to relax and breathe in a room.
Design rule you like to break?
I mix of lot of antiques with modern accessories. In our house for example, I’ve arranged shelves with centuries-old medieval keys with modern bud vases. You have to be willing to break design rules if you’re going to design for clients, and incorporate their stories into their homes. I like to practice what I preach.
What is your favorite room in the house?
The kitchen is my favorite, but the entryway is the most important. I’m really big on greetings – they make or break an interaction for me. I see entryways as your home’s greeting space. They say everything about the host and immediately let you know how welcomed – or unwelcomed -- you are in their home.
What is your most treasured possession?
A quilt that my brother bought for me at London’s Central Market about 8 years ago. It’s so worn and ragged at this point, but I love the bright colors and the way it’s organically pieced together. It’s travelled with me through many moves, across continents, and nowadays I use it as a beach blanket, a bed quilt, a travel blanket, anything and everything…
What are you afraid to DIY?
Painting. I absolutely despise painting to the point that I’m a bit afraid of it. I’d rather frame a house than paint a room. I tried to overcome this fear by offering to do the painting part of our recent renovation. It was a disaster and I was anxious the entire time. I cursed and complained and pouted like a little child. I always end up spilling paint on the pretty floors or getting some in my hair. Best to avoid it altogether!
Have you ever had a change of heart about an object or a style?
Yes. Brass. I used to think brass was too showy and glam for my taste. I’ve always been more into earthy materials. But, recently I started playing with it in a few of my residential projects and turns out I love it! Just the tiniest touch of it – on a mirror, vase, leg of a sofa - can add a lot of richness and warmth to a space.
What is your favorite design errand or journey?
Grabbing an afternoon coffee at Ritual inside Flora Grubb Gardens and strolling through the grounds. Everyone in SF knows that they have the most beautiful plants, but they also have a lot of textiles and home accessories from which I glean a lot of inspiration.
To which country would you move for the design?
Japan. And I’ve never actually been there! But I am pretty obsessed with the simplicity and symmetry of their design culture, the way the whole country seems to respect the meaning and use of simple objects.
What's your favorite hotel?
Home Hotel in Buenos Aires. When I lived in Argentina a few years ago this hotel was around the corner from my apartment. I would go there for breakfast (pan tostado) a few times a week and envy the other diners who were actually hotel guests. It has this great, ivy covered back patio with a dipping pool. The entire ambiance of the hotel is calming and unpretentious -- unlike a lot of Buenos Aires!
What does "sustainable design" mean to you?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. I think sustainable design should not only refer to the materials used, but also the ways in which products arrive to a location. It’s challenging when time is limited and clients want things immediately, but the way things arrive is becoming more and more important to me and my business. A lot of the furnishings I buy are shipped in an excessive amount of packaging, so I’ve started weighing the cost, time, and environmental benefits of just picking things up myself, and I try to organize my daily errands around the most efficient routes.
What is your favorite product in the Coyuchi line?
The sheets, especially the Beach House Linen pattern in your spring collection. And, I always incorporate a Striped Wool Throw into my projects. It’s such a classic. I’d like to get one of your new linen and terry bathrobes, too.
What design trend can you do without?
Chevron. Please no more!