It takes a lot to stand out in a sea of good designers and one of the things that sets apart a good designer from a great one is personality. When a designer has created a beautiful room or has an amazing spread in a magazine, the kiss that seals the deal is the designer's joie de vivre. This is where Katja van der Loo comes in.
We had the pleasure of meeting Katja at the 2012 Mansion in May in one of our favorite designed rooms: the Greenery. The room was a breath of fresh air in a very serious house and the effervescence of Katja made us want to sit down and stay awhile. Katja is Dutch and has spent time in both Europe and NYC honing in on her design aesthetic that a "space should live, evolving and growing with one’s travels, art, photography and meaningful treasury of life experiences." We think her work translates well into a space that you don't want to leave.
We sat down to talk to Katja to see what inspires her and how she works best with her clients.
What inspires you as an designer?
Absolutely everything!! From restaurants to flowers to museums. I love to really look at things and find that everything I see really has an influence. I especially love to travel to different countries to see how the different "light" appears in different places.
What does a typical workday like for you?
Because I work for myself, every day is different. It is therefore never boring. Sometimes I meet with clients or I work on design concepts. Since I also have a shop, I create new displays or search for new products to carry. I am thankful for a balance of right and left brain abilities, so the paperwork aspect of the business, which tends to be less interesting, is actually fun also.
This living room pairs dark wood finishes with deep blues and black, all lightened with a few choice crystal and mirror touches. The mud room in this barn project flows directly into the dining area or this open floor plan home.
What’s one thing you will always splurge on?
Travel... I keep on learning from new experiences.
Who's your design icon and/or muse?
There are MANY designers that I admire. I do not have a favorite. I like anything that is done well.
How would you describe your personal style?
Classic with a twist. I love mixing everything together. My interiors do not date....they are timeless.
What is your most prized possession?
My health. Without it, nothing else matters.
Examples of Katja's work in bathrooms, kitchens and dining rooms.
What's your best advice for a homeowner looking to work with an interior designer?
Make sure that you get along. We are in your lives for quite some time and great communication skills are key. Ask lots of questions... the more you convey your desires and wishes, the better the final product.
What are your favorite books & resources on art, style and/or design?
European magazines. Also Vogue Australia, any art books, restaurant and hotel interiors, everything and anything really.
List 3 blogs (or online resources) you frequent and are inspired by?
Houzz.com, European magazines online, etc.
What is up next for you? What can we expect to see in the next year?
Lots of new projects including another barn. I welcome new and exciting challenges, especially in exotic places!! (hint hint)
Design is, after all, in the details.
Creating spaces that stand the test of time is Kaja's specialty and her work definitely speaks to that. We look forward to seeing her newest exotic project!
All images courtesy of Katja van der Loo.