We could not be more thrilled to introduce our latest Guest Curator (and Well + Wonder alum!), Katherine Bramlett! Katherine founded her full-service interior design firm in 2016 in Birmingham, Alabama. Her love for design began at an early age weaving in and out of antique stores and art galleries with her mother. Later she studied art history and architecture at both Vanderbilt and at Oxford in England. Her education coupled with her southern design roots have shaped her sophisticated and welcoming aesthetic. We are so happy to have Katherine as our November Guest Curator, so, thank you, Katherine, for allowing us to fire off our favorite Q&A’s your way and for curating your current Well + Wonder favorite pieces!
Katherine Bramlett: While its (very!) hard to choose just a couple from W&W’s wonderful selection, my eyes were quickly drawn to these four pieces. I love the common thread of the deconstructed amongst these 4. And yet despite their abstract nature, there is still a suggestion of the natural and organic. I also love the neutrals and subtle color used by these artists; their palettes are soothing. Each of these pieces invokes the imagination and create a dialogue between the object & the viewer.
Tell us about yourself.
I am an interior designer (& a sometimes artist) based in Birmingham Alabama. I founded my full-service interior design firm in 2016 in Birmingham, Alabama. My love for design began at early age weaving in and out of antique stores and art galleries with my mother. Later I studied art history and architecture at both Vanderbilt and at Oxford in England. My education coupled with my southern family design roots have shaped my style, which I’d describe as a fresh take on traditional.
Today, my team and I work long and happy days from our studio in Mountain Brook village, usually with the doors open and the music playing (loudly!). We are currently working on projects from Alabama to the mountains of North Carolina to New York City.
What is currently on your nightstand? What are you reading?
My nightstand is always piled high with books and shelter magazines. I also keep a notepad and a le Pen nearby for those last minute thoughts, lists, or doodles. And a small thing of flowers — most weeks I steal just one bloom form whatever cut flowers I have in the kitchen and put it in a small little bud vase next to my bed. The little touch of the lively makes me happy. I’m currently reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis and underlining up a storm.
What is your favorite room in your house? Describe it.
My favorite room, in any house, as well as my own, is the kitchen. I love to cook so the kitchen feels something like my laboratory — I can experiment and relax and enjoy myself on a long Sunday afternoon. I’m lucky to have a kitchen with great light so it always feels so welcoming and warm. Funny enough, unlike many of the neutral kitchens I’ve designed, for my own house, I painted the cabinets “pigeon” by Farrow and Ball. It is a warm grey green color but looks blue at certain times of the day. There is something about this color that just makes me smile and I love feeling engulfed in this space as I cook. I’ve also come to recognize that although the den is nearby, whenever I have people over, we are always gathered in the kitchen. Crammed around my small island, snacking with my favorite people, this is my favorite space to be.
It is said to look for art that "makes your heart skip a beat." What aspects of art make your heart skip?
My favorite art either shows or suggests movement. I love art that suggests rhythm in some way — whether its the brush stroke lines or the way the artist has painted in light. When the piece seems to have a life to it, I’m so drawn to it. It feels as if you are invited to participate in what you’re viewing.
When and where do you get the biggest surge of inspiration?
Simply put, I look to locals for inspiration. Whatever city I find myself in, I am constantly looking to see how people are expressing themselves both personally and professionally. And whether we know it or not, we are constantly expressing ourselves. Seeing how other people are living their story inspires me! The authenticity to which they live out their work gives me inspiration and encouragement to continue in my instinct for design. It infiltrates. The great thing about the creative world is we inform each other. We play off each other and learn from one another. Moving towards who we are and what makes us ourselves. Seeing another person’s passion is nothing but exciting, and makes me want to understand my vision better. I go to the community - where authenticity ignites inspiration and encouragement in my bones.
The key to making a house a home? What does a home need more of and less of?
I think the most “home-y” houses are those that reflect the people who live within. I see so many homes that are beautiful but they lack personality. My favorite spaces are those that reflect the whimsy of the client to some degree— whether it's their favorite color incorporated or art from their travels. I love when I can see pieces of the homeowner in their home — as if it is an extension of the person. I think those are the homes that are the most welcoming and thus the most comfortable. I encourage my clients to not be afraid to choose something they love even if it doesn’t feel completely ‘safe.’ Often, that one blue pillow or the wallpaper in the powder room is the client’s favorite part of their home.
What’s your favorite housewarming gift?
My favorite gift to give and receive are always flowers or a plant. Nothing spruces up a new space like something living. My go-to is a small myrtle topiary so that the recipient can enjoy it for a long time. A sweet friend gifted me one when I moved & I still have it sitting on my window sill in the kitchen as a happy reminder.
So, tell us a bit about your corner of the world – where do you live and what do you love about it?
I live in Birmingham, Alabama. Having been born & raised here, I’ve gotten to witness the growth of Birmingham, especially in the last few years. There is great energy and growth here— new parts of the city have come to life and it seems that new restaurants are popping up weekly. We are blessed to have a wonderful community of creatives in this Magic City — from chefs to designers and architects — we are abundant in talent. It's wonderful to live here and to get to be inspired by all that is going on. And yet, even with the growth, Birmingham remains the type place that store owners know your first name and your lunch order. There is something very kind and welcoming about this city. I’m very grateful.