Kate Bell is an interior designer who started her career in the UK working for large architectural firms. Kate realised she much preferred working in a smaller interior design studio, so she made a move to a smaller firm before creating her own design company. Kate feels the opportunity to work in London with people from throughout Europe was pivotal in the development of her career and it helped her realise her passion and what she really wanted to be doing.
She heads up Kate Bell Interior Architecture and Design now, where she brings simple, functional and timeless elements to her client projects. Kate puts an emphasis on the details and loves a combination of warm, inviting interiors combined with some minimalist Scandinavian-inspired design considerations. We had the chance to speak with her recently about her career and what inspires her.
1. When did you first decide to become an interior designer and stylist and how did you get started with your design business?
I completed my degree BA in Interior Design at RMIT in 1988 and headed to the UK where I first began working as a designer for large architectural firms which I hated to be honest - then progressing to smaller interior design studios which I loved & was exposed to amazing talent & projects working under people from all over Europe.
London was (and still is) such a hub of design so well & truly opened my eyes to follow this career.
I came back to Australia and continued to work for small architectural & design practices before heading out on my own. I started my own business on a part time basis so I could manage raising a family & work at the same time - taking on only small residential projects.
2. What is the most challenging part of your job?
Making absolutely sure my clients are on the same page i.e. we get on well together & have a common understanding of what is expected from the project.
Dealing with all the unforeseen problems and issues that can arise on a project due to workmanship & professionalism; therefore it is essential that there is a good team of trustworthy, easy to work with trades in place for every job.
3. Is there an interior design style you favour and do you have your own design aesthetic?
I love Belgian & Danish/Scandinavian Design/Architecture but adapted to the Australian environment - simple & classic but not too contemporary/harsh - soft & warm elements with good lighting & furniture pieces.
My style differs on every job according to the house and client - important to honour the architecture of the house whether it is traditional Victorian or a contemporary interior.
4. Who are other interior designers you admire?
International designers: Piet Boon/Victoria Hagan/Kit Kemp
Australian: Robson Rak/Madeleine Blanchfield/Arent & Pyke
5. What inspires you?
The people I work alongside & the space we share in Paddington with Adam Robinson Design (landscape designers) and his team - we are constantly workshopping ideas, concepts etc...
6. What do you think is the essential piece of furniture we should all have in our bedroom?
A Moller Bench from Great Dane Furniture hands down.
7. What key element do we all need for a chic living room?
A statement, elegant floor lamp with a strong but diffused light source so no need for a lot of other lighting (don’t like over use of downlights).
8. Do you have a favourite project or story behind a project?
Bronte House as featured in EST Magazine - wonderful clients who had waited years to re-design the property they had lived in for years & create their dream home.
They were completely trusting in what the builder, myself & the other trades wanted to create for them and we barely had an issue through the entire design & building process. Hence we achieved a beautiful result.
Let's get personal ......
1. What else are you passionate about besides your work?The Sydney Swans.
2. What is your most treasured belonging? A small beautiful painting of my mum with her dog (sadly not with us anymore) painted by my aunt.
3. What's one thing people may not know about you? I am probably a bit borderline OCD!!
4. In 10 years I'd like to be .... Spending 3 months on the Mornington Peninsula (Sorrento is where my family are from) the rest of the time in Sydney & overseas travelling - hopefully doing interior design work for myself and one or 2 projects for clients I enjoy working with. Oh and enjoying my family - my husband & 3 almost adult daughters.
5. What can't you live without? My iPad.
To see more of Kate’s work, visit her website or check out the media outlets where she’s beenfeatured including Inside Out, Awesome Home and Homes to Love.