Kate Wannemacher is a Columbus designer who was long ago bitten by the travel bug. An interior designer, Wannemacher has transformed the style of many central Ohio homes using items that hold meaning to the homeowner, and bring a sense of style and personality to each interior she touches. The Canton-to-Clintonville transplant is an active member of the Columbus Museum of Art Women’s Board. Wannemacher grew up immersed in the arts, be it ballet, historic homes, music, or museums. She is one of the lucky few who have married their passion to their paycheck. (614) caught Wannemacher between makeovers to ask her a bit about her process.
You draw a lot of inspiration from your travels. Tell us how this has affected your process and taste.
I’ve really been fascinated with how older countries live with antiques and historic architecture. They do it in such a modern way, it feels so effortless.
Unlike some other designers, you focus on using items that clients already have. Can you tell us about some challenges and advantages of this process?
I really try to encourage my clients to start a collection of good pieces that they can build on throughout their life, rather than spreading the budget out thinly and replacing everything. Other times I like to use things a client owns because it gives the home a sense of history.
What advice do you have for people who are combining households with different styles, who have different style sensibilities?
Figure out why you like what you like. As in what does Mr. Smith like about Mid-Century Modern and what does Mrs. Smith like about French Country style? Maybe Mr. Smith likes the simple unfussy profiles of the Mid-Century furniture and Mr. Smith likes the relaxed feel of French Country style. I would guide them to use Mid-Century furniture with a few simple French Country pieces and do a weathered finish for the flooring or walls with casual linen drapes.
Do you have a “golden rule” of home design?
I always want my client’s guests to feel, “Wow, this person is stylish” rather than “They must have hired a designer.” I really want their home to look like them. I don’t think people realize how much more their homes can do for them. Most homes I visit are operating at 60 percent at best. You really need to look at your individual lifestyle. Unless you’ve painstakingly built or remodeled your home to customize your every need, chances are you’re living in a home that was built either for someone else, or by a builder to appeal to whatever the trends were at the time.
A lot of people might like to consult an interior designer, but don’t have the budget. What advice can you offer them?
Design blogs are a great resource for ideas and advice. Some of my favorites are Remodelista, Design Sponge, and Dustjacket Attic.
What are some interesting challenges you have encountered in designing for clients? Family and friends?
Challenges are usually budget and timelines. HGTV and Pinterest really give unrealistic budgets and timelines for projects. A lot of designers can be booked out for a month or two and it breaks my heart when I have to turn down a potential client because they would need me to start immediately.
What is the coolest design project you’ve ever gotten to embark on?
The projects I’m the most proud of are the ones where I was included in the very beginning of building a house to the end of the process. Things like lighting plans and ceiling and window heights are so important and not easy to change after the fact.
What are some simple things people can do to improve or update their space without spending any money? Or spending very little?
Plants or flowers make such an impact. Go outside and cut a piece of wild ivy or whatever is in your garden and put it in a vase.