The New Design E-Shop You Need To Know About
Katie Hodges is making the next step.
It’s not often that a young designer garners both great press and great clients right out of the gate — the gate being launching his or her own firm. Such is the story of Katie Hodges, who not long ago, after several years working under some of Los Angeles’ most acclaimed designers, took the leap. Hodges launched her full-service design firm with photographs of only her own boho-eclectic one-bedroom apartment, which promptly circulated the web faster than light. Soon enough, she was taking on an extensive reno of a 1920s manse in Beverly Hills, designing a bohemian home in Santa Monica, and more.
To add more fuel to her entrepreneurial fire, today Hodges launches an online shop — aptly named Shop Katie Hodges Design. The designer has taken special care to produce a collection of decorative pillows priced under $150, for those of us prone to pillow sticker shock. Each is one-of-a-kind and made with vintage textiles sourced from China, Africa, and beyond. Hodges has also designed a collection of seating, beds, ottomans, tables, and perfect-for-the-foot-of-the-bed benches.
We had a virtual sit-down with Hodges; read on to hear about her surprising former career, what trends she’s loving, and what’s on her holiday wish list.
How did you find yourself in the world of design?
"As with all of the best things in life, completely by accident! Believe it or not, I was on the career path of being in the medical field when I took on a job as a personal assistant to start saving for my master’s program. I didn’t grow up wealthy, so my exposure to the design or luxury-service industry was non-existent. I’ve always had a good eye, but never spoke about or practiced design.
In my PA role, my boss was building a house and I kept gravitating towards those conversations, often chiming in on tile samples and colors. Over time I became more and more involved in the styling of their home… and the rest is history!"
How would you describe style?
"CCC — comfortable, California, cool."
Who or what have been some of your greatest influences when it comes to interiors?
"Commune Design is by far my greatest design influencer. When I stepped into the American Trade Hotel in Panama, my life changed. They can do no wrong."
How, if at all, has living in California influenced your outlook on design?
"In L.A., there’s a casual sensibility in our lifestyles, so the design aesthetic is always comfortable, never fussy, or overdone."
What trends are you excited about lately?
"I love a bright white room just as much as the next person, but seeing a darker and moodier design aesthetic is a very welcome shift in the design world right now."
You launched your own design firm not too long ago. What inspired you to take the leap and how has it been?
"I decided to quit my full-time interior design job and started freelancing in 2013. Bold move… with absolutely no plan other than to work hard every day, and trust the universe — so LA, right?!
I have always considered my work as extension of me, so it took a year and a half to muster up the strength and put myself out there. In October 2015, I officially launched Katie Hodges Design with a feature of my own one-bedroom apartment. Nothing has ever felt more vulnerable or exciting.
Launching my own firm was the best decision I have ever made. I work extremely hard, and there’s nothing more satisfying than to build something from the ground up, brick by brick. There is no glass ceiling in my world, and if there ever was, I took a sledgehammer to it pretty early on."
Tell us about a moment in your career you’re really proud of, or a pivotal moment for you.
"The most pivotal moment in my career was when I got hired to work on a 'light remodel' in a gorgeous 1920s Beverly Hills home. I saw an opportunity to make this house even better, which involved a much more extensive project than the owners had planned for. I pitched my ideas, and two years later, we just wrapped!
I look back and realize that these incredible people trusted me — someone with almost no portfolio — with their home and hard-earned money. Even when I was overwhelmed and full of self-doubt, their trust in me was unwavering. Sometimes it takes someone else believing in you to see your own potential."
What projects are you working on as of late?
"I am wrapping a pretty amazing California Colonial Bungalow-style house in Brentwood that’s a welcome change in color palette. Lots of neutrals, olive greens, and textures — very serene and sophisticated, yet a family home that’s comfortable and accessible."
What’s inspiring you lately?
"I am planning a three-week trip to Cambodia and Laos and have been loving the boutique hotels popping up over Southeast Asia. I even pinned one as an inspiration to a client’s foyer!"
Spending v. saving: What do you recommend 20- and 30-somethings invest in and save on?
"Spending: Splurge on a good sofa, rug, and statement pillows. Saving: Save on occasional-use items, such as side tables, garden furniture, guest room pieces, and dining chairs."
You’ve just launched your online shop, congrats! What can we expect to find there? What void are you trying to fill?
"In the planning stages of the shop, I realized how intimidating the vintage pillow market has become for the average consumer. Everyone wants the look, but it’s not always possible for someone to spend $250 on a pillow. My priority was to make sure there was a mix of high and low price points, so a lot of time went into developing the '$150 and Under' section to fill that void.
As a full-time interior designer, I see firsthand what products are missing in the market. One of these gaps is the lack of benches that are appropriately sized for queen and king beds without falling short. It drove me bananas trying to source these for clients, so after hitting a major wall, I took matters into my own hands. To date, it’s the product I am asked most about on Instagram, and I am so excited to finally be able to offer them to the masses."
What are some of our favorite pieces in your shop?
"I am obsessed with the antique Chinese textile pillows. They are all one-of-a kind and the colors are like none other. The Hannah and Tim benches are by far the most functional products in the shop. My biggest pet peeve is the lack of benches that actually fit king/queen beds without falling too short.
The ottomans are multifunctional and super versatile. They’re soft enough for your tired feet at the end of a long day... or you can pop a tray on these babies and use them like a coffee table.
Because I am a full-time interior designer, I know firsthand what’s missing in the furnishings market and I am dedicated to filling those voids. One of these hard-to-find items is a round kitchen tables that’s not too heavy, or traditional. Meet Max!"
What’s on your holiday wish list?