Boston-based designer Katie Rosenfeld’s work can be seen as a series of dichotomies: sophisticated and elegant and quirky and ironic, colorful and bold and soothing and peaceful. Yet, these elements all feel at home with one another in her designs. Designing for all aspects of a life well-lived is a critical component of Katie’s goal when working with a space, and as a result, her work has been described as “happy, family-friendly and approachable.”
We checked in with the designer to get her take on what it means for a home to be both elegant and quirky, the mistake most people make when designing their home, and the color that is currently bringing her joy.
Katie Rosenfeld has made a name for herself as an in-demand designer, but her love of style can be traced back to her childhood growing up in Florida with a pair of eccentric parents for whom style was second nature. “My mom was sort of a hobby decorator- she was immensely and still is amazingly talented, quirky, and creative. Mom was always dragging us to vintage shops and exposed me from an early age to decorating, art and music- not in a heady way but more in an artsy way. She really is what you think of as a “decorator,” but in those days women didn’t often work outside the home. My father was a doctor and an artist, and his mother was also a prolific and very eccentric artist.” As a young person, she learned to take inspiration from those around her, a technique that has served her well as a designer and is also what she names when asked to describe her favorite part of her job: “meeting all kinds of people.”
Meeting people and helping them by creating a home that they can live in joyfully with all members of the household, young and old alike, is where Katie shines. “I decorate for real people who have children, animals, spills, accidents, and who live life hard in their homes! We try to make smart durable choices and advise clients on where to spend and where to save- to create a mix of high medium and low that serves their lifestyle.” Often, helping her clients with proportion is at the top of her list as this is the most common issue that she encounters. “Scale and proportions are all over the place in furniture, millwork and almost everything.” Once this critical element of design is addressed, she can get to work making the space feel “like a warm hug.”
This is often accomplished with the careful selection of pieces including vintage and antiques. “For me personally this is so important to creating a soul in the home. I love it when things are a bit imperfect, crusty, patinated, and hewn. If things look too perfect, it feels forced to me. This is where vintage and antiques come in.” This design philosophy can be seen in her own home as well. “I am a design schizophrenic. I like so many things and try to be versatile and mix things from genres, vintages, and styles. No rules. But I always try to stay true to the backdrop or history/architecture of the house and right now I am in Tudor/Medieval phase!”
5 Questions with Designer Katie Rosenfeld
TLV: What advice would you give someone looking to add color to their home?
KR: I love all colors, but go through phases. I am currently in a brown phase!
TLV: Where do you look for inspiration when you are feeling blocked?
KR: When I feel blocked I don’t search for inspiration! I let it go!
TLV: Favorite travel destination?
KR: My house
TLV: Currently reading or watching?
KR: Any documentary that is compelling. I don’t read except the Daily Mail.
TLV: Most loved era for design?
KR: I love right now in design. I try to not get too “influenced”-I know this sounds counterintuitive, but I literally go with the flow and let the creative process happen I don’t have any preconceptions ever
Images by Read McKendree / Text by Liana Hayles Newton