Designer Crush: Katie Storey

1. How did you get your start in design?

I left my job on Wall Street and moved to Argentina to explore design. I wanted to be free to be creative, and found such inspiration walking the streets, looking at the architecture, seeing how people enjoyed public spaces. I began taking interior design courses in Buenos Aires and loved them. After about a year there, I decided to move to San Francisco and enroll full-time in a design program.

2. You’ve always been fascinated by creating space — can you talk about what “space” really means to you?

To me, space is an expression of human experience. One of the greatest joys is taking the time to craft a living, breathing extension of someone. I believe space is more than just a place where you lay your head or create your product. If designed well, it has the power to motivate you to come to work, help you take deeper breaths, or put you back together again after a tough day. I strive to create these experiences for people in their spaces.

3. How do you get to know your clients?

By listening and watching. By observing their patterns and their movements. Oftentimes, clients call wanting a house exactly like one they saw in some magazine, or one that’s completely free of clutter (don’t we all!). But, they have two dogs and ten surfboards! So, what they’re asking for is the opposite of how they live. My goal is to design the best version of how people actually live. I’m not interested in changing who people are. I’m interested in teaching them about design and the power of the process. I love seeing clients evolve and start to become their own stylists after working together.

4. Your team is really tight-knit - how do you foster that familial feel and why do you feel it’s important to creating better work?

Communication, transparency, respect, and fairness. I intentionally keep my team small-ish so that everybody feels integrated and essential, and nobody feels left out or unimportant. Every member feels empowered to design well. I’ve had jobs where I felt my boss was making up stuff for me to do. I don’t want that kind of environment, I want all my team members to feel worthwhile and well respected by me and our clients.

5. You’ve said that travel inspires you - what are some of the places you’ve visited that have influenced your work the most and why?

South America. I love the continent, the language, the people, the textiles. My husband and I are actually headed to Chile for the month of November. I prefer to save my vacation and go for an extended travel experience. That way I can really be somewhere, rather than feel rushed to cram every foreign experience into a one week adventure. I like to integrate as much as possible, and slow down to see how people exist in other parts of the world. That’s the biggest learning opportunity.

6. Describe a musical artist or album that’s played a pivotal role in your life.

Joni Mitchell Blue. When I was 22 I splurged and bought a front row ticket to see her live in concert. None of my friends were into her, so I went alone. I remember that night so vividly. I was so happy.

Lightning round!

7. Favorite ice cream flavor?

I don’t really like ice cream. Can I have a large bag of Casa Sanchez Crispy Tortilla Chips instead?

8. Movie popcorn or movie candy?

Popcorn, with extra salt and butter

9. Skydive: yay or nay?

Absolutely.

10. Astrology: into it or not a believer?

I’ll pass.