After 15 years working in the tile industry, the Mornington Peninsula’s Kate Walker launched her own design company KWD in 2013, initially specialising in hard finishes. “The reason why I’m so passionate about hard finishes is that they form the foundation of the design aesthetic for any project,” says Kate of her passion for tiles, timber flooring, natural stone, carpet and stone masonry.
But now, six years on, the KWD business has grown into a full-service design studio where Kate employs a team of design professionals who help bring her visions to life. “As KWD has grown and matured, we have been able to offer a higher-level design service and we are now an end-to-end interior design business,” says Kate.
Reluctant to label her personal design aesthetic, I think it’s safe to say that there’s more than a touch of Hamptons in the mix but it’s not as simple as that. “Travel really influences my style – in particular North America. I get a lot of inspiration from contemporary and more traditional American design, and one of my newest sources of inspiration is New Zealand architecture – I love the materiality,” says Kate who regularly looks to mother nature for inspiration too; texture is another design hallmark.
Longtime readers may remember that we have profiled Kate’s own home before – its traditional American meets Chinoiserie style made it one of our most clicked-on posts of 2017. While popular with readers, it also remains one of Kate’s most beloved projects. “I’d have to say my own home renovation, Beechwood, was one of my favourite projects. To become a KWD client gave me such an insight into how the KWD team functions, and what we are capable of.”
Kate’s work on Beechwood also earnt her a coveted finalist place in the 2019 Dulux Colour Awards. “I have been fortunate enough to win a number of awards, but that one was the most significant this year. I love working with colour so to be acknowledged in this way encouraged me to continue incorporating beautiful colours into our designs, in interesting and innovative ways,” says Kate.
And as for recent business developments, Kate has just launched a sister brand to KWD, called KWD & Co, which is designed to make interior design more accessible.
“Whilst I absolutely adore the custom projects that we work on, I believe everyone deserves the opportunity to have a beautifully designed home they can be proud of,” says Kate. The new business arm provides clients with a carefully curated collection of hard finishes, grouped into popular design styles, with discounts should they purchase the materials.
“The next step up is KWD Access where clients can book a one-hour, one-on-one consultation with the KWD design team at a fraction of the cost of our full design service.”
Photography: Armelle Habib