Designer breathes life into bold, unique spaces
By Olivia McClure
For Katie Stix, being an interior designer entails more than just finding the right color scheme — it’s a means of designing one’s own life. The daughter of an artist, she grew up drawing and painting, and considers interior design as functional art.
“You can live in it, like live in art,” Stix says. “It really is functional art.”
Since moving to Nashville from Maryland in 2010, Stix has dominated the city’s design scene. And during the five years that Stix has worked for Kathy Anderson Design, she has helped create some of Nashville’s most iconic spaces, such as the ultra-chic Sinema Restaurant, historic RCA Studio A, the Hotel Preston, and the backstage dressing rooms at the Ryman Auditorium.
And because of her background, art is always an important factor in her spaces.
“I think art is icing on the cake. It makes the space,” she says. “Sometimes we design around it. We like to pick cool pieces that are unique, that we know the artists or that are commissioned for the room. Something that’s a little off. A little unique and funky.”
In terms of her personal design style, Stix says it can’t be singularly defined. Rather, it’s a blend of different styles she loves that comes off in a way she describes as ‘grandma chic.’
“I love a little bit of everything,” Stix says. “I love the classic clean lines, minimalistic, mid-century modern. But then I’m really drawn to a ‘70s look. I also love pattern mixing and colorful florals. I love to pull from the historic part. I was always really fascinated by the history of interiors.”
For those who love to travel, spaces often become filled with collected items and memorabilia. In Stix’s mind, people should showcase such things, regardless of whether they “fit” together.
“Each little piece can remind you of something special,” Stix says. “I really think it’s important to collect those things. It’s like a lifetime of collecting things along the way. Things that make you happy … It doesn’t have to go, necessarily, but if it makes you happy, and you love it, and you don’t even know why, get it … It’s a representation of what you love.”
For Stix, when it comes to home design, spaces should evoke the happiness and inspirations that define one’s life.
“You spend a lot of your time at home, and your home is your family and your safe space and your comfort zone,” Stix says. “It needs to be comfortable, and it needs to be a reflection of you … Life is so short. That’s why we just have to live to the maximum and do what makes us happy and surround ourselves with things that make us happy and inspire us. Makes us excited to seize the day.”
But when it comes to any design, Stix lives by one rule: Never, ever be boring.
“I think people … they’re scared to go bold with colors,” Stix says. “They want to do what’s trendy because in case they sell their house or whatever, and they want everyone to like it. We try and push the bar. We try and push people a little bit past their comfort zone.”