With her namesake retail store, Katie Kime has made her signature prints a must-have for interiors across town.
Katie Kime lives in a color dream. In both her West Lake Hills home and her eponymous boutique downtown, the designer surrounds herself with whimsical, rhythmic prints in bright, bold colors, all with a global flair. In between home and work, you’ll find her driving around Austin in her cherry-red 1975 Ford Bronco jeep. All in all, she has created a lifestyle brand that’s unapologetically celebratory—and one that’s all hers.
“As an interior designer, I couldn’t find fabrics that I liked that much,” Kime says. “So I designed my own prints.” She has built her home and fashion retail business around these designs, featured on everything from wallpaper, furniture, and stationery to clothing, pillows, and cocktail napkins. Kime’s signature collection features eight “classic” prints, such as the Dalmatian-inspired Seeing Spots; Drawn Lines, with wavy, irregular vertical stripes; and the Greek-inspired Ginger Jars, especially popular on notecards. She supplements these with new prints each spring and fall as well as a resort clothing line. For Austin Fashion Week in mid-April, she created one-of-a-kind pieces with handmade rosettes and intricate hand-embroidery.
The North Carolina native and Duke University graduate lived in Atlanta before coming to Austin. Her Southeastern sensibility comes through in her prints—“My dad wore seersucker suits all the time,” she says—and the pineapples and lemons on her pillows and full skirts are undoubtedly rooted in that prep aesthetic, but there’s a bohemian edge to it all. “My aesthetic—it’s not Lilly Pulitzer,” she says with a laugh. “Through my patterns I wanted to appeal to a wide clientele.”
Kime launched her retail website in 2013, and over the next two years, she expanded her line from furniture and textiles to include all manner of décor accessories as well as clothing. It was all a lead-up to last fall, when she opened Katie Kime on Lamar Boulevard and Fifth Street, a prime location to showcase her print and design options and offer gifts and accessories; a small section is also devoted to finds like artisan rugs and pillows from her frequent travels around the world.
Kime also got married last year and settled into a spacious manse in West Lake Hills with her husband and three children, now aged 10, 8, and 5.
To walk into Kime’s home is to see her world of prints come to life in a controlled explosion of color and pattern, and watch it come together with well-appointed furniture and eclectic artwork, including photographs from Slim Aarons and Max Wenger, who shot her Aspen wedding. Unexpected textures like faux boxwood over her bathtub and silk flowers attached to the wall of her stepdaughter’s bedroom add elements of surprise.
“I go bolder and I get a little crazier in smaller, contained spaces like powder rooms,” she says as she enters her converted walk-in closet, which is covered in her wallpaper pattern with big green leaves, creating a Key West feel. Her guesthouse off the pool area is a case study in contrasts, with lemon-print wallpaper, leopard pillows against black-and-white-striped accent chairs, a green tufted parlor sofa, and a curated bar cart in the sitting room. It’s the perfect getaway for Kime’s lucky friends. These more intimate spaces are ideal for taking risks and exploring new ways to use patterns; if it doesn’t work, she simply takes off the removable wallpaper and tries something else.
For customers concerned about going bold, she recommends prints in muted shades, especially for furniture and larger walls. “The less color you see, the longer it lasts,” she advises. Despite her whirlwind schedule, Kime still takes on about one to two clients a year for full-scale interior design projects, but she first brings them into her home to envelop them in her aesthetic. “It’s important clients understand my style, and coming to my home is the best way to do that.” 500 N. Lamar Blvd., Ste. 150, 512-358-4478