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20 Questions for Kathleen Matthews

Kathleen Matthews, Interior Designer Photo by Loren Doughty

Today we continue our Meet the Experts series on the blog. Throughout this series, you will get to know Savvy’s design team: what they love in the world of design, decorating tips and tricks, and favorite things. Kathleen Matthews has been with Savvy for three years, but she has been a designer for more than 25. Her versatile aesthetic, expert design chops and sparkling personality has made her a sought-after designer in St. Louis.

1. Who is your favorite design icon? Kelly Wearstler. Kelly Wearstler is a rock star. She takes bold design chances and always wins. I love that she can mix design styles, colors, and patterns to make interiors that wow, and I love the 80s vibe that finds its way into so many of her spaces. Kelly’s designs are unexpected. You can never be quite sure what Kelly will decide to do with a room, but you can always be sure it will be great.

Kelly Wearstler designed this showstopping master bath for a couple on Mercer Island, Washington. The walls are covered in onyx fantastico, and the flooring is marble and onyx; the sconces are vintage. Photo of Wearstler (Into the Gloss) Photo of Bath (Elle Decor)

2. What is your favorite space to design? I don’t have a favorite space to design. I enjoy all design challenges. I guess you could say my favorite is the one I’m working on at any particular moment.

3. How would you describe your decorating style in 5 words? Layered. Unexpected. Atypical. Colorful. Playful.

4. What inspires you most? I am most inspired by the beauty found in nature, the lifestyles of my clients, colors of all kinds, and of course, Instagram!

5. What is your dream project? I would love to re-imagine the design of a classic older home with wonderful architectural details, tall ceilings and a homeowner with a healthy budget so we could add tailored modern design statements.


6. What are your favorite interior design trends right now? White walls, tribal prints as accents, gold, pops of color, and the resurgence of red. I love Benjamin Moore’s 2018 Color of the Year, Caliente!

(clockwise from left) white walls are fresh and elegant; tribal accents add a global view to a space; brightly colored silk pillows add a pop of color to a sofa, chair or bed; gold accessories such as these beautiful vases are striking in any room; Benjamin Moore’s 2018 Color of the Year “Caliente,” is a bold and sumptuous color choice. (Gold vases and select silk pillows available at Savvy).

7. What is your favorite movie or TV show interior? I love any movie set designed by Nancy Meyers. The interior she designed for Something’s Gotta Give is probably my favorite.

(Hooked on Houses)

8. What are your top three “go-to” paint colors? All three of my favorites are pretty classic, and all are by Benjamin Moore: “Newbury Port Blue,” “Wrought Iron,” and “White Dove.”

9. Wallpaper? Yes or No? And if yes, do you have a favorite? YES!!!! I love grasscloth!


10. Where do you like to brunch on a lazy Sunday? Half & Half in Clayton is so delicious! That would have to be my pick for a leisurely Sunday brunch.

Half & Half

11. If money were no object, what would you most like to buy for your own home? Oh, gosh, with two teenage girls, we could always use more room. An addition to our living space would be amazing!

12. What do you consider first when designing a space? When designing a space, I consider three things first: Function, how the client will be using the space and how he or she wants to feel there; Budget, how much the client is comfortably able to spend and how I can best make use of those dollars; and Personality, how I can bring the uniqueness of my client’s personality into the space.

13. What fashion trend are you crushing on right now? I am really into the boho chic clothing and accessories of Johnny Was. It’s such a fun, happy, easy to wear brand.

(Johnny Was)

14. What is the secret to a cohesive design scheme? The key is successfully combining color, texture and personal style to create a certain vibe. And it’s always about blending, not matching.

15. If I weren’t a designer, I would be . . . A florist. I have always loved flowers, plants and working in my garden. As a designer, I love incorporating flowers and all natural materials into my tablescapes. Here’s a garden party I put together for Savvy’s June segment on Show Me St. Louis! We used lots of colorful flowers, and of course, succulents, which are really trending now.

Photo by Loren Doughty

16. What is one of your favorite projects? I loved designing the 2016 St. Jude’s showhouse dining room. This space really reflects my design aesthetic: blending styles, fabrics, textures and finishes to create a sophisticated and interesting room. Plus, I loved that Savvy was able to support this awesome charity. It was a win-win to me!

St. Jude’s 2016 Showhouse
Photo by Michael Jacob

17. Where do you like to vacation? Well, that’s a sad one, now, actually, because I’ve always loved going to Napa Valley. The recent fires there have devastated what I considered one of the most beautiful places to visit, especially in the fall.

Napa Valley (Visit California)

18. What is one of your best decorating tips or tricks? I think a combination of overhead, ambient, task and accent lighting is very important to the success of a space. Lighting in general should not be an afterthought. It should be central to your design plan.

19. When designing a room, where should someone splurge and where should they save? Splurge on a good sofa and artwork that makes you happy. Save on case goods or non-upholstered pieces, such as dressers, armoires, desks, and tables.

20. Great design to me is . . . Functional and aesthetically pleasing. Great design reflects the homeowner’s personality and lifestyle. Great design is relaxing and tranquil when it needs to be and visually stimulating and energizing when that’s what needs to happen. Most of all, great design is design that makes the homeowner happy. That is truly what matters most.

If you’d like Kathleen to help you transform your space, give us a call and set up an appointment to meet with her or any one of our designers or click here to contact us.


Author: judy uelk

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