Kate Alexander is not only one of the founders of Endemicworld, she is also a successful graphic and interior designer.
Just this year, she embarked on an awesome new career as a home stylist, helping people make their houses feel more like homes, and staging homes for sale. Kate’s business – Place & Graces – also has an object library with treasures both vintage and modern for hire and sale.
A corner of Places & Graces’ Object Library / Kate in her own home
Kate, you recently launched Places & Graces after many years as a Graphic Designer and a senior manager of a successful studio… why did you make the switch?
With a three and five year old it was time to switch to a career that was flexible and could be managed part time.
I also had a desire to be creatively ‘hands on’, less time using a computer and more time using my hands!
I had no fixed plans for what would come next when I made the move. Places & Graces has evolved from my own personal passions.
What has been your favourite Places & Graces project so far?
Staging an empty Art deco home for sale. The developer had done the house up with colour advice from the local Devonport Resene shop, and it wasn’t the usual white on white.
I really enjoy the challenge of making a home feel loved and lived in within the constraints of existing wall colours, light fittings and drapes. So much can be achieved through choice of furniture, placement of items, colours of soft furnishings, art, and vignettes of objects.
So far I have styled a wide variety of architectural styles – villas, bungalows, art deco, new builds – which has been excellent for building up a broad collection of home items.
An old villa gets a beautiful new lease on life with Kate’s gorgeous styling
What is one key ingredient to a stylish, unique home?
Being in love with it. Your passion, or lack of, will come through in what you select and how you place items in your home.
If you don’t have time, or it doesn’t interest you, work with a professional stylist who does.
Often my home staging clients buy the items I place in their home becuase once I remove them, they realize how much enjoyment they got from being surrounded by nice things. Something as simple as a hand-dyed tablecloth or a large art print can transform a room from feeling neglected to loved.
Adding art, flowers and favourite items can transform a space
If you could re-decorate any room in your own home (money being no object), what room would you choose and what would you do in it?
Can I bend the question and choose an outdoor room?
I would surround our home with connected multi-level decks and a boardwalk. Vintage glass bi-fold doors on our garage to let the light in. A smooth level driveway (for the kids, to make high-speed biking safer!). Paint the exterior weatherboards dark grey with moss green trim. Fill the garden with plants that are either edible or pickable. And continue our indoor theme of new mixed with vintage into an outdoor lounge.
Spaces both elegant and fun in Kate’s own home
Speaking of your own home, what furniture or homeware product is most on your wishlist right now?
It changes daily! But I am always dreaming of a designer rug, probably by Dinosaur Designs.
Who or what visually inspires you?
Nature. Junk shops. Old books and graphic paraphernalia
Kate has a huge collection of vintage items, for hire and for sale