We’re big fans of British design, and Kate Abt’s work is no exception. Her work evokes feelings of a mix of British chic and California cool, and we couldn’t be any more obsessed. Hear more about Kate’s beginnings, how she forged her path in design, and her best advice for aspiring designers. So take a seat, scroll on down, and don’t forget to follow Kate on IG for more inspo!
Tell us about your design journey. How did you get started and how did you get to where you are now?
Getting established on my own. I had worked for a large design firm where relationships with trades and vendors were already there for me. Starting on your own takes time to find all those people that will represent you well and that you can build long term relationships with.
Just how much work goes on behind the pretty stuff! I’m also amazed at how little people know about the scope of design work. You really wear many hats…some things you do better than others, and that’s okay!
What inspires you?
Nature — just looking at my surroundings – the colors, textures and tones. I’m always inspired by travel, particularly in England and Europe… I love looking at the architecture there. I’m lucky I get to go back to England twice a year and it’s my grounding place and inspires me endlessly. I absorb so much whilst I am there.
I grew up surrounded by history and old architecture, historical homes, and antiques, and it all greatly influences me now. Living in California showed me an aspect of relaxed coastal design: clean, simple, and modern. I absolutely love the juxtaposition of the two. Old and new really resonates with me. I love authentic design that has meaning to my clients, not trendy but classic and timeless, fresh and welcoming. A home needs soul and should be a sanctuary for us — my aim is to create that for my clients.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get started in design, but doesn’t know where to begin?
Absorb as much as you can. Do design projects for friends and family and your own home to start and build your portfolio. Take some classes to see if it’s what you really want to do, find a design firm (large or small), and start from the bottom and work hard. Experience is vital and schooling is important, particularly for CAD drawing, but not everything. The concept of design is that it’s all glamorous, shopping and picking paints and fabrics all day, but a lot of what we do is behind the scenes and entails many jobs. True talent shines through and client recommendations are the best way to grow. It takes time to build your business — be prepared for long hours and hard work. Clients will go with you for your own unique style and your portfolio.