Katie Kime's Colorful House in Austin Is Everything
The interiors and fashion designer proves that more is more in her eclectic Austin, Texas home.
Whether at home or in her travels, Katie Kime sees the world in color. She loves bright Moroccan poufs, Otomi embroidery, and Turkish kilims. In Rwanda, she was dazzled by the rows of fabric and baskets piled high in local markets. “Color in these countries is so bright and bold and fearless: pink with orange, red with pink,” says Kime, an artist and designer. “There just aren't so many rules about color in most of the places I've traveled.” Kime translates that exuberance for a more subdued American palette in her eponymous brand, which began as an interiors website in 2013, and has now expanded to a brick-and-mortar showroom in Austin, Texas, that’s filled with patterned dresses, throw pillows, and wallpaper. The resulting designs are eclectic to say the least: preppy and fun, with tribal motifs, whimsical artwork, and repeating prints that have a distinct point-of-view.
Nowhere is this aesthetic more evident than in her home. Secluded on three wooded acres just two miles from downtown Austin, the house is a study in approachable mixed prints. Kime, who grew up in North Carolina, was drawn to the property’s limestone architecture, a reminder of the classic Southern homes of her childhood. It also helped that the 1990’s structure had been recently renovated. “[It] was updated and didn’t feel like a giant project,” she says. “But enough needed to be done that in my design world that seemed fun.” The house already had a comfortable layout perfect for entertaining, with the kitchen flowing into the living room and screened-in porch, but Kime replaced the travertine tile with hardwood flooring for a warmer, more inviting feel. She also infused her personality throughout, incorporating her own black-and-white spotted wallpaper in the breakfast nook, a fuchsia rug in the dining room, and an ebullient mum motif in a powder room. “I’m very eclectic,” she says. “For me, it’s whatever works in the space.”
For her master suite, Kime envisioned a retreat from daily life—“We have three kids. It’s crazy,” she says—so she reconfigured the original bedroom and an adjacent foyer and study into a space that now serves as the master wing, with dark walls contrasting the sun-filled area, a small library, and a large closet that she swathed in a tropical banana-leaf print. “With a closet you can be a little more daring because everyone doesn’t have to see it, it can be kind of your fun space. That’s why I went big in there.” Sliding barn doors, made by a local woodworker, separate the suite from the main living room. “The canopy bed feels like you’re in a hotel, the dark navy walls feel warm,” she says. “We just tried to make it as tucked away as possible.”
The opposite is true of her children’s rooms, for which Kime enlisted help from a friend, interior designer Sarah Wittenbraker. “[She’s] really the only designer I would trust,” she says. To start, Wittenbraker started with a lighter color scheme and chose a cool mix of art, lighting, and furniture that each of Kime’s three children could grow into, including a chic bentwood pendant from Design Within Reach and a graphic John Robshaw quilt. In her daughter’s girly sleeping quarters, Kime pinned and taped faux-silk flowers to the wall to create a romantic gallery-like installation. “The tough thing was getting the right palette, an unpredictable mix of corals and whites and pinks,” she says.
For the main living areas, “I knew I wanted everything to be glossy white with bright pops of color,” Kime says. In the family room, a sophisticated black-and-white backdrop provides a sense of drama that allows each accent to shine, from cubist gold table lamps to classic blue-and-white chinoiserie vases. Upstairs, a neutral grasscloth-clad hallway is enlivened with teal chevrons on a ceiling, and gold-infused acrylic pieces complete the high-low mix. “I think it’s a sign of good design when things aren’t so cookie cutter or predictable,” she says. Kime’s house proves that it’s chic to flout convention.