Interior designer Kathryn Mellinger sits in her own home

“When a guest enters your home, I want them to say, ‘Your home is beautiful. You have great taste.’ Not, ‘Who did you work with?’”

Each home is unique, and each design should be as well—the goal is to reflect someone’s personality, not whatever might be trendy at the time. Collaboration is key to creating a welcoming, comfortable, and beautiful space that a person will love.

Katie Mellinger’s process starts with the client and the things that bring them joy. She wants to know what’s important. Maybe it’s an antique desk or a new tufted rug. Perhaps it's old china passed down through the family, a kid’s artwork from school, or an emphasis on natural light. The point is to find the details and enhance them in a way that complements both the client’s personal taste and their home.

Katie has a degree in Interior Design from Michigan State and more than 20 years of experience in the business. She worked in residential design on Chicago’s North Shore, and then downtown at Studio Spicuzza in the Merchandise Mart. She now designs homes throughout the country while living in Kansas City with her husband and two kids. She credits her creative father and two aunts for encouraging a lifelong passion for design, all the way back to rearranging her bedroom furniture as a little girl (and the living rooms of her friends’ homes).

“When a guest enters your home, I want them to say, ‘Your home is beautiful. You have great taste.’ Not, ‘Who did you work with?’”

Katie’s style is built for the long-term. The proof is in the clients who’ve hired her, enjoyed her work, and re-hired her more than a decade later. That’s what happens when you think beyond the bend of the moment.

“Focus on what’s going to make your home look the best, and not necessarily what’s trendy,” says Katie. “Let’s identify your home’s best assets, and highlight those unique architectural details. Don’t make it look like everything else.”

This means welcoming each project with a clear mind and a focus on both the intimate and the grand. A tiny nook can make as big an impression as a grand staircase.

One of Katie’s favorite parts of the job are the unique opportunities that come with each project. When a client didn’t know what to do with some beautiful Asian fabrics she had collected, Katie floated them in frames for a one-of-a-kind wall display that reminded the client of her travels every time she walked by.

Those are the details that make a home special.

“The biggest compliment is when people come to your home and see your personal taste, and want to stay,” she said. “I want your home to feel inviting and comfortable, and that it’s yours and only yours."