Meet KK Harris
Katie Kelley Harris ("KK") studied both historic preservation and studio art at the College of Charleston, SC, as well as earned her Masters in brand management at VCU’s Brandcenter in Richmond, VA. She learned about the interiors business from her mother, who has managed high-end interior workrooms for more than three decades.
KK is a classically trained brand manager known for her love of color, her ability to juxtapose old and new, and her vast knowledge of historic design. Before embracing textile design and manufacturing, KK had a winding career path filled with such diverse roles as Architectural Historian on the Hurricanes Katrina and Rita disasters, a small kitchen appliance product manager, a tobacco brand manager, and a retail management professor.
She realized her love for pattern after starting her own retail operation in 2016, House of Floralie, where she designed the signature boxes, wrapping, and tissue papers. Her customers connected so intensely to the pattern aesthetic and KK felt like she could push herself to design more.
A SELF-TAUGHT TEXTILE DESIGNER
Having a strong understanding of the building and decorative arts, KK looked for ways to kickstart her understanding of pattern. She took an in-person class with Kate Zaremba in January 2016 and joined the community at Pattern Observer. By May, she had developed the pink and lavender rose pattern for House of Floralie, which opened in December of that year.
Her first interiors experiment was her son’s nursery, for which she designed the Ansonborough pattern in 2017. A physical room where she could install her own design was the perfect canvas to prove to herself that she had the chutzpah to produce textiles for the home. Along the way, she made a few mistakes and learned by doing, more than anything else. As a beginner, KK leveraged Spoonflower for her fabric and wallpaper printing needs, of which she's a huge advocate as a learning platform.
After her first foray in pattern design with her son's nursery, KK spent three years in research and development for her debut collection. She created relationships with American screen printers who specialize in traditional techniques to help with the production of her line, as well as created the original artwork, and repeats for the patterns. She studied the economy of fabric and wallpaper production, the inks used for printing, the ins and outs of engraving screens, and the varying methods of finishing fabrics. One day, she even called the manager at the vat dye plant in Georgia to ask him how to wash the fabrics after they've been printed. Needless to say, he was surprised to hear from her. KK is grateful to the many individuals who served as mentors through those years.
Pictured: The nursery at KK's former house in Richmond, Virginia.
ABOUT THE LINE
KK’s inspiration comes from many (often unpredictable) sources, though of particular interest are the design decisions made by the French during the reign of Louis XIV, the elegance of the American Revolutionary period with its Federal style, hand painted antique earthenware, the English Arts and Crafts movement, fauvism, and the studies of 18th Century female botanists. She leverages a totally unique color palette of dusty pastel tones and vibrant metallic pigments. As a result, traditional designs marry modern colors to create storied interior decor.
KK likes to joke that she has "the mind of a preservationist and the heart of a modernist." Her designs seek to reference history while embracing progress. It's the juxtaposition of old and new that continually inspires her.
Pictured: A mood board that KK created after her first round of fabric strike offs to help anchor her creative direction.
KK operates with the highest sense of integrity. She has a very specific approach, which is at the center of her design process.
A GOOD SENSE OF HUMOR NEVER GOES OUT OF STYLE
Life has many challenges. KK's designs are intended to help keep things light (hearted). She seeks to spark laughter and create joy for our home environments.
Pictured: A photo booth backdrop produced by KK for a wedding.
PRESERVATION IS PARAMOUNT
KK seeks to preserve the storied traditions of the building and decorative arts. Not only does she find immense inspiration from the past, KK actively maintains traditional historic methods of production where possible. She works with American based family-owned screen printers who bring her designs to life the good old-fashioned way (by hand). This is not the least expensive or more efficient route, but it is the most beautiful one.
THE PURSUIT OF NEIGHBORLINESS
KK is committed to being friendly and helpful. She embraces opportunities to teach and mentor. She will always do what she can for the people she loves. She prioritizes working with vendors who also hold this truth.
HOSPITALITY IS A FINE ART
KK believes entertaining is an art that someone can learn at any age or stage of life. When she invites others to her home, she gives her gifts of time, talent and energy. This act creates shared memories and a more meaningful, inclusive world.
Pictured: The wedding welcome KK designed for guests visiting the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia for her celebratory weekend. Featured in the Summer 2015 issue of Martha Stewart Weddings, and here online. Katie Stoops Photography.