Interview with Kate Marker

Happy Patriots Day! If you have no idea what I'm talking about it's because only a tiny handful of states actually celebrate Patriots Day, and Massachusetts is one of them. We Bay Staters are also watching the Boston Marathon today...from our couches...because it's 35 degrees with freezing rain. I mean have you ever encountered a more selfish, controlling season?!!!! MOVE ON WINTER. Good luck to the runners - we have a few important people running today and we know they'll get it done.

And now, onto Kate Marker Interiors. If, like Patriots Day, you no idea what I'm talking about then you're in for a treat. Kate Marker began her interior design firm in 2007 and moved to a brick and mortar space in 2012. In that short time, she has produced more than a little show stopping work. Exhibit A.

She, and her team, are based out of Illinois. They create clean, upscale spaces that fall into the sweet spot that's mostly transitional with sprinkles of farmhouse, industrial and modern stylings. We so admire her use of built-ins and millwork - the custom stuff that takes a room from beautiful to jaw-dropping awesome. 


Our favorite (non-design related) thing about Kate Marker Interiors, is Kate's sense of humor. The personalized hashtag she uses for each project reminds us of how Friends episodes are titled ("The one with..."). If you follow her on Instagram, you know what I'm talking about. There's #bestfriendclient and #sweetrepeatclient and (our personal fav) #yesifitswhiteclient. How great is that?

As with our previous interviews, we were basically stunned when Kate Marker agreed to letting us pick her brain about what inspires her and how she creates such effortless, gorgeous spaces. So, before she changed her mind, we got to it. Here's what she shared:

Gray Oak Studio - Let’s start by talking about your Grey Oak Project!!! I could we resist? (Fabulous name for a project) The palette is mostly soft and neutral, thanks to that grey oak, but the office and powder room feature some gorgeous, color saturated walls. We find that our clients often want to go bold with paint color, but get a little nervous. What are your tips and tricks for using dark and deeply saturated paint colors?

Kate Marker - Use them deliberately! I use them to add drama to a smaller space or really set a room apart from the rest of the house. If you use them, go all in for maximum impact!

Gray Oak Studio - We love mixing metals and we can’t help but notice that you do so flawlessly. Do you have a favorite combo? Anything you stay away from?

Kate Marker - We usually mix 2 within a room, with Polished Nickel as our "neutral" for plumbing and we feel both matte black or brass mix nicely with this when incorporating lighting. Also love Brass with Bronze if done well.

Gray Oak Studio - So much of a design is dictated by room layout...and so much of a room layout is dictated by the location of doors and windows. The general rule has always been to leave windows unobstructed. But, lately, we’ve been really taken by designs that work with windows rather than around them. Your Grant Project, where you placed open shelving in front of a window, is a great example of that. What is one of your favorite “break the rules” trends in layout and design?

Kate Marker - Ceilings don't need to be white and trim does not have to be white. We do so many light neutral wall colors that it is very cohesive to make the trim the same color as the walls. 


Gray Oak Studio - Speaking of favorite trends, there are so many to love right now - graphic cement tiles, vintage Persian rugs, painted interior name a few - what are some of your favorites?

Kate Marker - We love using furniture pieces as vanities, plaster range hoods in kitchens, well-placed wood beams, open shelving, scullery kitchens and steel doors where the design (and climate) allow!

Gray Oak Studio - What is the most frustrating aspect of your job as a designer? And the most rewarding one?  

Kate Marker - Juggling both design and managerial responsibilities...Design is my passion so that is the most rewarding!

Gray Oak Studio - Your work is a huge inspiration to I’m sure you’ve gathered by now! What are your favorite design books or websites or instagram feeds? Who inspires you?

Kate Marker - My style icon would be Aerin favorite place for inspiration these days is the architecturally fascinating white stucco collection of homes in Alys Beach, Florida.  I love following Nicole Davis Interiors and Kate Lester Home; for fashion, I really like Jacey Duprie of Damsel in Dior.

Gray Oak Studio - Last and favorite question: what is your dream project?

Kate Marker - A beach home!

Thank you so much to Kate Marker

If you love designer interviews as much as we do, be sure to check out our previous interviews with Marie Flanigan Interiors, CC and Mike Creative, Bria Hammel Interiors and a whole bunch of awe-inspiring designers giving us their prediction for 2018 interior design trends.


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