"Your home should be your sanctuary. A calm place that makes you happy, relaxed, and gives you the ability to recharge," says Pacific Northwest-based interior and architectural designer Katie Hackworth. After seeing images of her projects across the Seattle area you'll see why she considers home to be a sanctuary. Katie is known for her quality craftsmanship, attention to restoration, and timeless design. She talked with us about how to add interest and character to a space, her take on trends, and what she loves most about living in the PNW.
Tell us a little bit about Katie Hackworth Design and how you got started.
It really began with the purchase of my first home in 2006. It was a simple cottage-style home built in the 1950s. Over the course of a couple of years, we gutted the home and added a large addition, paying close attention to detail and the home’s original integrity. At this time in my life, I was a full-time mom and graphic designer. The experience taught me how important my surroundings were and how much I had to say on the matter, but even more significant was learning how to use an architectural ruler!
Shortly after completing the renovation, we sold and purchased another lot, and I set forth designing the next. During construction this second time around, I took a leap of faith and started a boutique-style design-build company… and that is where it all began.
Since 2013, my client base has grown quickly, with my current focus being on designing new homes from the ground up. I love each and every phase, from creating the initial schematic forms and exterior elevations to placing the last piece of artwork. I’m forever grateful for the opportunity my clients give me. Their trust means everything.
What are a few of your favorite things about living in the Pacific Northwest?
From snow-topped mountains to lush evergreen forests and deep blue lakes (all of which are seen on my commute)… the Northwest has a calming effect and you can’t help but be inspired by its natural palette and textures.
How does living in the PNW influence your design?
Unfortunately, we do have a number of gray days here in Seattle. Bringing as much natural light into your home as possible is so important. I pay close attention to this as a new home or space is being developed. Your home should be your sanctuary. A calm place that makes you happy, and relaxed, and gives you the ability to recharge.
Your designs have an eclectic yet classic feel to them. How do you achieve a balanced mix of styles?
There is definitely a balance to it all, as you said, but I think the balancing and mixing of styles originate out of curiosity, with the final decision (more often than not) being based on a gut feeling. Every era has its good and bad moments. Honing in the best of each and mixing them in a new and exciting way is what drives me.
What are some decor faux-pas you see all too often?
Following trends too closely.
The design world moves so fast and trends come and go so quickly. How do you design a home that feels timeless but still gives a nod to current trends?
I really try not to think about trends. If I see a new trend that catches my eye, I might tuck it in the back of my head somewhere, but by the time it makes its way out, it has usually morphed into something else.
You are both an architectural and interior designer. What is your favorite type of space to design?
I suppose I’m a bit of a control freak when it comes to architecture and interiors. I think most artists are, and I would argue that you wouldn’t want anything less! For that reason, I like to get a hold of a project from its very initial phases and work alongside my client until completion. This process also allows for the most streamlined, cost-efficient, and ultimately successful projects.
What are a few of your best tips or tricks for someone designing a space of their own to add character and interest?
Start with good bones, layer with authentic materials, and remember that less is usually more. Don’t be scared to try something new, as long as it is something you love.
Have you ever had a project that you weren’t sure was ever going to come to fruition? How did you work through those challenges?
This has happened a couple of times, unfortunately, and I didn’t see it coming until it was too late. I’ve learned so much along my career path. Building a home has many components. If one component is weak, the project is at risk. Know your team; general contractors, subcontractors, architects, etc., and make sure to hold each other accountable for their role throughout its entirety.
It’s important to have a space that is both aesthetically pleasing but also functional and comfortable. How do you find that balance?
It can be done and should be done. No excuses! I think it helps to remind yourself that a home should be lived in. There is no reason for things to stay “perfect”. Aging and everyday use add unique character to your space. That said, purchase what you love and embrace it!
Outside of work, where do you like to spend your time the most?
I'm a homebody through and through. I love cooking for friends and family, watching movies in bed, gardening, and decorating (and re-decorating).
What’s next for you and your business?
I’m currently working on 3 new homes for 3 lovely families and a couple on the horizon. The lengthy process takes 2-3 years, but I am keeping myself at bay with a handful of smaller remodel projects with much shorter timelines. I don’t see my business getting much larger, but rather more selective. Definitely quality over quantity mentality for me. I thoroughly love the process and I don’t think that will ever change!Photos by Belathee Photography and Aran Goyoaga