Finding Balance

On any given week, Katie Grantz of Katie Grantz Interior Design can be found jetsetting up and down California and then on to Colorado. This dynamic, in-demand designer splits her time between the Rockies and the Coast, infusing her projects with a fresh sophistication.

  • Category
    Homes, People
  • Written and photographed by
    Heidi Lancaster

As the ninth of 12 children, Katie Grantz truly understands the value of a space to call your own. She recalls being drawn to interior design as a child decorating her dollhouse again and again. She later earned a BFA in Interior Design from the University of San Francisco and studied at the Fashion Institute of Design Merchandising, but credits critical years working at Ralph Lauren Home and the award-winning Catherine Macfee Interior Design firm in Orinda and Lake Tahoe for honing her skills.

Gentry HOME caught up with Grantz to discover how she develops memorable spaces.

What is inspiring your designs most these days?

It always starts with the architecture of the home. I feel the interior needs to speak to the way the exterior looks and feels. There needs to be some sort of connection between the two. My clients also drive the inspiration. I like to get to know them and make sure that the home truly reflects them.

What fun projects are you working on now?

I’m in the early phases of the design process on a historic 1906 Victorian home on Hyde Street in San Francisco. Learning the history behind this home and keeping the integrity of the original look and feel, as well as making it conducive to a modern way of living, has been fun and exciting.

What is your favorite element of design? And how do you like to use it in your work? 

Color has always been my favorite element. The psychology behind color and what it does to a space is so important. When considering the color palette of a room, I first think about what the room will be used for and the activities that will occur in that space. We live in a very colorful world and to bring that into the spaces we live in is important. I personally live in a space with a lot of blues and green that evokes calmness.

Tell us about the project on these pages.

This wonderful family home is alive with saturated blues and whites. There is a formality and symmetry to the design, but it’s welcoming and anything but stuffy. Wonderful French doors enable sunlight to pour in during the winter and open widely to make for a seamless indoor/outdoor transition in warm weather. We even brought woven chairs into the mix with upholstered ones at the kitchen table. I love that it’s an unexpected element, but so perfect for a Bay Area home.

In the library we added a rich navy grass cloth to give the space depth and lacquered the bookcases in the same shade. Throughout the project you’ll notice a lot of pattern, whether it’s the Chinosierie ginger jars, garden stools, and vases, or the multiple mixed prints on pillows carpets and upholstery. The key to making a simple color scheme like blue and white contemporary is energizing it with a bold combination of fabrics. I particularly love the Ikat prints on the living room pillows and the oversized geometric on the living room armchairs.

Art plays a strong role in your work, too.

Living in Florence to study, years ago, gave me a true appreciation for classicism and the timelessness of great architecture. I like to think I merge that sense of order and line with a contemporary sensibility.

As for artists, a longtime favorite for me is Roy Lichtenstein. I’m always drawn to his use of color and the complexity of his different styles—and, of course, his pop art pieces.

Recently a Hillsborough client introduced me to a local artist from Mexico that I also really like; her name is Tere Casas. Her style and use of color and mixed media is really intriguing.

If you could spend one day with a designer, who would that be?

Kathryn M. Ireland. Not only is her style brilliant and colorful, but she’s fun and never takes herself too seriously. It really comes across in her work, and she also loves to drink good wine and is a great curator of antiques and has her own line of beautiful textiles.

You work with clients all over the West Coast.

My projects are primarily in California and Colorado. After spending a decade with Catherine Macfee as her Senior Designer and working on homes all over Northern California, I opened my own firm in the Denver area, but my clientele in California has continued to grow steadily. I feel very fortunate to be able to travel and experience different cities and so many wonderful styles of homes.

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