This time of year, the changing leaves, dropping temps, and shorter days turn our thoughts to all things cozy - warm, welcoming interiors that we can hunker down in for the cold season ahead. For many, there's nothing more synonymous with cozy than a beautiful farmhouse - and when it comes to creating beautiful, modern farmhouses, Katie DeRario is a force to be reckoned with.
Katie is the founder of Hart and Lock Design, a full-service interior design firm based in Milton, Georgia. From fixtures to finishes to furnishings, Katie's knack for designing high-end, thoughtfully considered, and undeniably inviting homes for her clients is evident in everything she touches. We caught up with Katie to talk modern farmhouse design, pattern, and of course, how to add hygge to your home.
Hygge & West: You came from a fine arts background before migrating into the interior design world. How does that background influence what you do today? Are there any principles of art that apply to interiors as well?
Katie DeRario: Art has been a passion of mine since I was a kid. I always loved to draw, paint, and create. In school, it was definitely an outlet for me to express myself, and so following that into college was a no-brainer. Truly learning color, composition, texture, and pattern through my art education has sharpened my eye. Having a blank canvas or a blank room are one in the same. Just like a piece of art, a room is supposed to provoke a feeling, whether it be a sense of peacefulness with a neutral room or a vibrant eclectic style that evokes energy.
H&W: The modern farmhouse aesthetic and equine influences are a common thread through much of your work. What is it about these elements that feel like home to you?
KD: I have always admired horses. I was never a rider, even though I grew up on a farm, but the sense of strength and beauty they carry themselves with is something I appreciate. Their stature is a true statement of beauty and why I often find myself using portraits, paintings, or accessories of equestrian nature. The modern farmhouse style has become, dare I say, “trendy” over the last couple of years. For me, it's such a versatile style, with lots of character in the structural elements of the home to a fun mix of antique furnishings and funky light fixtures. Modern farmhouse definitely doesn’t have to be stuck on the farm!
H&W: Many of your interiors feature a more neutral palette with pops of color and pattern used as accents. What does pattern mean to you? How does it transform a space in ways that other elements can't?
KD: Pattern is like the icing on the cake. With a good base of neutral elements, adding a pop of pattern is what makes the room come alive, especially with living elements, like birds & flowers, which truly give the room life. Other fun patterns can add just enough dimension to keep the eye moving around the space.
H&W: What are your tips and tricks for using pattern? What are some of your go-to ways to incorporate it into a space?
KD: When adding pattern, it's all about the end feeling desired for the room. Choose calming colors and do an accent wall in a bedroom or the back of glass cabinets for just the right amount of pop without overwhelming a space. For a more fun, pass-through room, such as a laundry or powder room, bold patterns can add longevity and make more of a statement to enjoy.
H&W: You used Daydream as a fun accent wall in a client's laundry room, and as an unexpected accent on another client's coffered living room ceiling. What drew you to this pattern and why does it work in each respective space?
KD: The Daydream pattern is one of my favorites, especially with all the different available colors palettes. For the laundry room, it opens up the small space and adds a design element that otherwise could not fit into this space. On the ceiling, the subtle gold draws your eye around the whole room and gives this beautiful ceiling life.
H&W: You've also used Peonies in a beautiful modern farmhouse you designed. What was is about the pattern and colorway you chose that felt right for that space, and what do you think it adds to the room overall?
KD: The Peonies print is nostalgic with a vintage feel and perfect for the modern farmhouse. The pale blue and subtle copper played well with the soft white oak floors and creamy walls throughout the house. I added it on a long wall in one of the bedrooms, which of course became my favorite bedroom in the house!
H&W: Hygge means comfort, coziness, and finding pleasure in life's simple moments. What are your top three elements for a hygge home? How do you find or create hygge in your own world?
KD: My top three elements for a hygge home are:
1. Character - Having dimension in the elements of the room, whether it's wallpaper, a wood treatment on the ceiling, or a vintage mantle above the fireplace, adds character and gives the room life.
2. Simplicity - Too much clutter can make a room uninviting. Selecting fewer, better pieces lets those items shine rather than getting too busy.
3. Personalization - Investing in good furnishings and beautiful decor goes a long way, but adding personal touches turns your house into a home. I have pieces throughout my house from my grandparents, like an old ladder that holds blankets, a worn cowboy hat that hangs on the wall, and a vintage wingback chair I had recovered. The meaning from these items makes me feel secure and at home.