“Kitchens are truly the epicenters of the home,” says Katrina Porter, principal designer of Katrina Porter Designs. “We entertain guests, care for our families and experience many of life’s events in the kitchen! It’s where stories are shared and memories are made for years.” The Auburn University Interior Design grad and experienced kitchen-and-bath designer has spent 23 years in the industry, working for an interior designer, multiple cabinet companies and builders before launching her own firm in 2016. Katrina creates gorgeous, highly functional spaces that are tailored to meet the practical needs and exude the personal style of each client. We are pleased to introduce our latest Interior Designer Crush, Katrina Porter! We asked her to describe her design aesthetic, let us in on some tricks of the trade and give us a glimpse of her stunning portfolio. We hope you enjoy!
What is your design aesthetic and how do you translate that to a client’s kitchen?
My design aesthetic focuses on clean lines combined with a creative, well thought out, functional layout. Functionality is key in kitchen design. A kitchen must meet the needs of the cook as well as the lifestyle of the family.
RELATED: High-Style Living on Lake Tuscaloosa
What drew you to kitchens and baths specifically?
I had a class at Auburn specifically geared toward kitchen and bathroom design. I loved the technical aspect of space planning. During my first job out of school, many of our projects were major remodels that started in the kitchen. The opportunity to create spaces where many of life’s memories are made had me hooked. Kitchen and bath design is defined by appliances, clearances and code, making it a bit more challenging.
Are there any trends you’re loving at the moment, and, alternately, any timeless aspects of design that you cling to?
I am loving the resurgence of color in the kitchen. Injecting color in the forms of cabinets is a fantastic way to showcase the homeowner’s personality and create a unique space. As for timeless aspects that I cling to, I love incorporating natural materials such as stone, beautiful woods and metals.
What has been your most challenging project to date and why? How did it help you grow as a designer?
All projects have their challenges. Managing client’s expectations, as well as communicating with vendors, subcontractors and builders, is constantly at the forefront of each project’s success. Construction is not perfect; it gets messy. However, I am learning from each project about how to best serve the homeowners. Processes change and get better with each challenge.
What brings you the most professional joy?
Cliché, I know, but happy clients who enjoy their homes more once their renovation is complete brings me the most joy. Hearing “I did not know my space could look like this!” never gets old. In most cases, I’m rearranging walls and flow of the kitchen and adjacent spaces, providing the homeowner more usable space. Many of us have rooms and square footage that we never use! After I’m finished, many find they are using more of their homes in ways they’ve always wanted.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Right now, Instagram is a huge source of inspiration for me. Being able to follow a massive community of designers at the click of a button has exposed me to talented designers across the world.
Where do you take chances in design?
Creatives like to express their creativity without restraint. Clients who allow that expression end up having my favorite results. Custom designed hoods would be where I like to take my biggest risks. They are focal points, the art in the room!
Who have been your industry mentors and role models and how have they inspired you?
My first boss was a talented designer and a tough boss. I attribute my ability to work from concept to completion on major renovations to her. As far as cabinetry and custom kitchens go, I also had the privilege to work with Gary Sasnett on some amazing kitchens early in my career. We were pushing the envelope with every kitchen we worked on.
Who are your personal interior designer crushes?
Share one designer secret with us regular folk.
Each decision affects another.
What three kitchen decor items can you not live without?
Custom hoods, comfortable banquettes and statement chandeliers.
Hypothetical: You have to choose only three colors to use throughout your home. What are the three colors?
GREEN, GREEN and GREEN! I may design using a neutral palette in the spaces I create for other homes; however, anytime I can use color, this is the one I gravitate toward. As I collect images and inspiration for my own home renovation, it’s the images with green that always catch my attention.
If you could squeeze your design philosophy into five words, what would they be?
Clean, functional, honest, authentic, welcoming
Thank you, Katrina, for sharing your insights, inspirations and impressive design portfolio. To learn more about Katrina’s work, visit katrinaporterdesigns.com.
All images, unless otherwise noted, are courtesy of Paula Coldiron.
Want to see more interior designers from Birmingham? Click HERE!