Fall Colors Judges: Kate Norman

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Kate Norman
Location: Marin County, CA
Website: www.katedesigns.com
Title: Designer & winner of last year’s Fall Color’s Contest

What’s your favorite color?

To pin this down is difficult since I range in my color preferences. When thinking about a specific color I consider it in the context of othe colors. Right now I am in love with a color palette of Ash Blue, Olive Green, and Pale Mustard. But to really answer the question and choose one single color it would have to be green, a lime green to be exact.

What’s the best use of interior color you’ve ever seen?

This is an odd answer, I know, but recently I was at The Monterey Bay Aquarium and was awed at being surrounded by huge glass walls filled with beautiful living moving aquatic color…

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Obviously this proves difficult to replicate in one’s own home (unless you’re a very wealthy Cousteau type) but it shows when in doubt for color cues and combinations go back to nature and you will find it. That aside, I feel interior designer Kelly Wearstler has an innate understanding of how to present color, whether bold or subtle, into her spaces. [Kelly’s work resonates] with my similar desire to integrate color in a variety of layered textures in my own home.


My design career grew out of interesting circumstances. I have always been creative and when I chose to create an interior design business I did so out of passion but also necessity. I attended UC Berkley and majored in Psychology and Disability Studies. After I graduated I was unfortunately hit with the post 9-11 job scarcity. Rave reviews from the designing of my own apartments lead to working for family, friends, and friends of friends.

My clients were often young individuals starting out in life or middle to low income families. Normally these individuals felt they could never afford an interior designer much less find who would work with a small budget. I am a firm believer in the idea that good design should be accessible to everyone and great interiors can be created on small budgets. As a person with a disability I have spent many hours in hospitals and in my home recuperating from medial procedures. This has enabled me to understand the importance of having a space that acts as a personal haven from a chaotic and stressful world. This idea coupled with love of design inspired me to create a non-profit interior and universal design business. The concept was to help individuals who are of low-income and/or have specific barriers, such as disability, achieve an accessible and aesthetically pleasing space to live in.

After giving this rewarding but also exhaustive non-profit gig a 5 year run I am making a career transition and am forming a new design consulting business with a close friend. Although our business is in the planning stages we will have a website in the near future. In summary, interior design is my passion but being able to change the way people think and feel about their spaces is what motivates me to continue this work.