Social Life Magazine | Luxury Publication for the Hamptons
ArticlesReal Estate

Designer Spotlight – Katie White

We all value good advice about design. But it’s hard to find good designers who provide great design and will give full focus to your project. Social Life set out to find a true up-and-comer in the interior design field. We discovered Katie White, a respected designer who has successfully parlayed a love of interior design into a successful career. This began when Katie relocated her family from Manhattan to the Hamptons a few years ago, and transformed her new home into a comfortable yet beautiful space for her family. Her creativity and innovative approach to kid- and pet-proofing her home was admired by friends and visitors and before she knew it, she had a roster of clients asking her to do the same for them. 

Social Life sat down with Katie to learn more about what inspires her and how it reflects in her work. 

What inspired you to pursue interior design?

I spent my twenties living in small apartments in the city that didn’t require much more than a bed and a desk. When my husband and I bought our first home on the East End, we spent our first weekend there sitting on lawn chairs in the living room and sleeping on the floor. The big empty rooms were waiting to be filled, and I soon found myself immersed in the design and renovation process, obsessing over the details. I realized I had found a passion in design.

Is there a particular style that reflects your own personality?

My style is reflective of all of the people who surround me. As I sit here, we have seven adults, four kids, two dogs, and a turtle in our house, and the space needs to be stylish, functional, and comfortable for all.

We all want our homes to be clean and elegant. How do you manage to help clients who have kids and dogs running around?

In the photograph of the great room you can see two dogs coming out of the pool to drop their ball on the couch and shake on the furniture. A toddler will follow with his melting orange ice pop to make a fort with the cushions. Kids will be kids, dogs will be dogs, and spills will happen. For high-traffic areas I like to use durable rugs and performance fabrics that look great, but also clean up easily. 

Can you tell us more about performance fabrics?

The technology and quality of synthetic fabrics have come a long way over the past few years, along with an increase in options. There is now an abundance of durable, UV-resistant, stain repellent fabrics to choose from. They look and feel just like traditional velvet, chenille, suede, linen, you name it. They can be more expensive, but the investment may be well worth it as they won’t fade or stain.

How would you describe your design approach?

I listen carefully to what clients tell me about their needs. I design according to each client’s taste and style to make a space that fits them. 

What advice do you have for people who have no background in design and want to make their home beautiful? 

There are so many elements that go into good design, from proper lighting and furniture placement to fabric choices, color palette, and fixture options. Start by looking for inspiration to define your style. Design magazines, Pinterest, and Instagram are great sources for inspiration. When you find a room you are drawn to, focus on the details: lighting, colors, materials, textures, layout. Then make a plan of action for your space. A good designer can help with this next step to tie everything together in your style to make your home look beautiful and cohesive. 

Do you have a favorite interior in the Hamptons? A restaurant or shop perhaps?

I love the interiors of Baron’s Cove in Sag Harbor. Like the town, it is nautical and cozy, with some unexpected fun details, like the pineapple wallpaper. 

We love your clean and modern yet comfortable style. Can you tell us more about this?

Comfort is integral. I love clean, modern lines, and I incorporate textures, paints, wallpapers, and fabrics that work together to create a warm space. I also find that mixing wood and metal finishes helps add depth and interest to a space. 

Katie White