Designer Crush: Katrina Stumbos
1. Describe​ ​the​ ​journey​ ​from​ ​the​ ​beginning​ ​of​ ​your​ ​design​ ​career​ ​to​ ​the​ ​founding​ ​of​ ​your​ ​own​ ​firm.

After​ ​a​ ​few​ ​years​ ​in​ ​college​ ​with​ ​not​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​direction,​ ​I​ ​moved​ ​back​ ​to​ ​my​ ​parents​ ​home​ ​and started​ ​design​ ​school.​ ​After​ ​three​ ​years​ ​of​ ​formal​ ​design​ ​training,​ ​I​ ​started​ ​my​ ​career​ ​working​ ​for local​ ​designers.​ ​It​ ​was​ ​at​ ​the​ ​last​ ​place​ ​I​ ​worked​ ​that​ ​I​ ​realized​ ​I​ ​would​ ​never​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​reach my​ ​potential​ ​working​ ​for​ ​someone​ ​else.​ ​At​ ​the​ ​age​ ​of​ ​24,​ ​with​ ​not​ ​a​ ​clue​ ​what​ ​I​ ​was​ ​doing,​ ​I opened​ ​my​ ​business​ ​with​ ​one​ ​client​ ​—​ ​a​ ​$20k​ ​window​ ​covering​ ​job​ ​that​ ​seemed​ ​like​ ​the​ ​biggest job​ ​in​ ​the​ ​world​ ​at​ ​the​ ​time.​ ​From​ ​that​ ​moment​ ​it​ ​was​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​trial​ ​and​ ​error,​ ​supportive​ ​friends and​ ​family,​ ​and​ ​patient​ ​clients​ ​who​ ​have​ ​shaped​ ​the​ ​way​ ​for​ ​me​ ​to​ ​be​ ​doing​ ​what​ ​I​ ​do​ ​now.​ ​I wish​ ​I​ ​could​ ​say​ ​there​ ​is​ ​one​ ​way​ ​to​ ​do​ ​things​ ​but​ ​what​ ​I​ ​have​ ​learned​ ​is​ ​every​ ​designer​ ​and every​ ​design​ ​firm​ ​works​ ​differently.​ ​Some​ ​of​ ​my​ ​best​ ​friends​ ​are​ ​designers,​ ​and​ ​not​ ​one​ ​of​ ​us runs​ ​our​ ​business​ ​the​ ​same.​ ​I​ ​like​ ​a​ ​small​ ​team​ ​(only​ ​5​ ​of​ ​us)​ ​where​ ​we​ ​balance​ ​multiple​ ​roles. No​ ​task​ ​is​ ​too​ ​small​ ​for​ ​any​ ​of​ ​us​ ​—​ ​often​ ​days​ ​that​ ​means​ ​I​ ​am​ ​rocking​ ​my​ ​Nikes​ ​and​ ​moving sofas​ ​and​ ​area​ ​rugs​ ​for​ ​my​ ​clients.

2. How​ ​has​ ​being​ ​a​ ​California​ ​native​ ​influenced​ ​your​ ​aesthetic?

It​ ​has​ ​shaped​ ​so​ ​much​ ​of​ ​how​ ​I​ ​design,​ ​and​ ​I​ ​often​ ​reference​ ​that​ ​“California​ ​Living”​ ​in​ ​speaking with​ ​clients.​ ​I​ ​have​ ​an​ ​immense​ ​appreciation​ ​for​ ​architecture,​ ​sprawling​ ​spaces,​ ​inside/outside living​ ​and​ ​a​ ​neutral​ ​color​ ​palette.​ ​I​ ​get​ ​to​ ​design​ ​spaces​ ​overlooking​ ​cities,​ ​in​ ​the​ ​mountains, oceanside​ ​or​ ​with​ ​a​ ​river​ ​in​ ​the​ ​backyard​ ​and​ ​I​ ​always​ ​ensure​ ​there​ ​is​ ​an​ ​effortless​ ​marriage between​ ​the​ ​outside​ ​landscape​ ​and​ ​the​ ​interior​ ​design​ ​of​ ​my​ ​homes.

3. You’ve​ ​worked​ ​on​ ​both​ ​small​ ​and​ ​large​ ​scale​ ​projects​ ​-​ ​how​ ​does​ ​the​ ​creative​ ​process​ ​differ​ ​in each​ ​instance?

My​ ​creative​ ​process​ ​is​ ​the​ ​same​ ​for​ ​both,​ ​what​ ​varies​ ​is​ ​the​ ​execution/construction​ ​process.​ ​My first​ ​step​ ​is​ ​always​ ​to​ ​get​ ​to​ ​know​ ​my​ ​clients,​ ​how​ ​they​ ​live,​ ​what​ ​they​ ​love​ ​and​ ​pull​ ​their​ ​best style​ ​out​ ​of​ ​them.​ ​Whether​ ​it​ ​be​ ​a​ ​living​ ​room​ ​overhaul​ ​or​ ​new​ ​construction​ ​this​ ​part​ ​of​ ​my process​ ​remains​ ​the​ ​same.​ ​After​ ​I​ ​feel​ ​I​ ​have​ ​a​ ​true​ ​grasp​ ​on​ ​what​ ​the​ ​design​ ​aesthetic​ ​will​ ​be for​ ​the​ ​project,​ ​I​ ​get​ ​to​ ​designing​ ​followed​ ​by​ ​my​ ​initial​ ​design​ ​meetings.​ ​I​ ​find​ ​that​ ​keeping​ ​those initial​ ​design​ ​steps​ ​consistent​ ​works​ ​best​ ​no​ ​matter​ ​the​ ​project​ ​scope.

4. How​ ​do​ ​you​ ​get​ ​to​ ​know​ ​your​ ​clients​ ​and​ ​foster​ ​relationships​ ​that​ ​“transcend​ ​‘the​ ​work’​ ​into long-lasting​ ​and​ ​genuine​ ​friendships”?

This​ ​is​ ​the​ ​easiest​ ​part​ ​of​ ​my​ ​job​ ​and​ ​one​ ​that​ ​comes​ ​naturally​ ​to​ ​me.​ ​I​ ​truly​ ​just​ ​have​ ​a​ ​fun​ ​time with​ ​my​ ​clients​ ​—​ ​even​ ​what​ ​we​ ​would​ ​call​ ​the​ ​“difficult”​ ​ones​ ​—​ ​don’t​ ​bother​ ​me​ ​much.​ ​My clients​ ​are​ ​letting​ ​me​ ​into​ ​a​ ​part​ ​of​ ​their​ ​lives​ ​that​ ​often​ ​their​ ​families​ ​don’t​ ​see,​ ​so​ ​I​ ​make​ ​sure​ ​to treasure​ ​that​ ​and​ ​also​ ​create​ ​a​ ​space​ ​where​ ​they​ ​feel​ ​comfortable,​ ​listened​ ​to​ ​and​ ​inspired.​ ​So far,​ ​so​ ​good​ ​as​ ​I​ ​just​ ​came​ ​back​ ​from​ ​a​ ​one-week​ ​Mexican​ ​vacation​ ​with​ ​one​ ​of​ ​my​ ​clients!

5. If​ ​you​ ​could​ ​design​ ​the​ ​set​ ​of​ ​any​ ​movie​ ​or​ ​play,​ ​which​ ​would​ ​it​ ​be​ ​and​ ​why?

The​ ​Holiday.​ ​I​ ​love​ ​Cameron​ ​Diaz​ ​and​ ​the​ ​stark​ ​contrast​ ​of​ ​the​ ​two​ ​homes​ ​in​ ​the​ ​movie.​ ​The quaint​ ​English​ ​cottage​ ​and​ ​the​ ​sprawling​ ​LA​ ​mansion​ ​—​ ​what​ ​could​ ​be​ ​better?!

6. What’s​ ​your​ ​favorite​ ​travel​ ​destination​ ​and​ ​what​ ​makes​ ​it​ ​so​ ​special?

I​ ​will​ ​travel​ ​anywhere.​ ​Whenever​ ​my​ ​friends​ ​need​ ​someone​ ​to​ ​travel​ ​with​ ​—​ ​they​ ​know​ ​I​ ​am​ ​their gal!​ ​But​ ​Cambria,​ ​CA​ ​continues​ ​to​ ​be​ ​somewhere​ ​I​ ​love​ ​to​ ​get​ ​away.​ ​The​ ​only​ ​way​ ​to​ ​get​ ​there is​ ​to​ ​drive​ ​the​ ​5+​ ​hour​ ​drive,​ ​the​ ​cell​ ​service​ ​is​ ​awful,​ ​and​ ​they​ ​don’t​ ​have​ ​the​ ​most​ ​amazing restaurants,​ ​but​ ​what​ ​it​ ​lacks​ ​in​ ​amenities​ ​it​ ​makes​ ​up​ ​for​ ​in​ ​views​ ​and​ ​charm.​ ​I​ ​completed​ ​a project​ ​there​ ​towards​ ​the​ ​beginning​ ​of​ ​my​ ​career,​ ​and​ ​since​ ​then​ ​the​ ​town​ ​has​ ​held​ ​a​ ​special place​ ​in​ ​my​ ​heart.​ ​There​ ​is​ ​a​ ​slow​ ​pace​ ​of​ ​life,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​coastal​ ​views​ ​are​ ​enough​ ​to​ ​recharge me.

7. Describe​ ​your​ ​ideal​ ​Sunday.

I​ ​love​ ​to​ ​spend​ ​Sundays​ ​at​ ​home​ ​if​ ​at​ ​all​ ​possible.​ ​They​ ​are​ ​my​ ​day​ ​to​ ​reset,​ ​prepare​ ​for​ ​the week​ ​ahead​ ​and​ ​spend​ ​time​ ​with​ ​my​ ​family,​ ​friends,​ ​and​ ​puppies.​ ​Sleeping​ ​in,​ ​grabbing​ ​brunch with​ ​friends,​ ​silly​ ​errands​ ​I​ ​have​ ​forgotten​ ​throughout​ ​the​ ​week​ ​and​ ​the​ ​dog​ ​park​ ​for​ ​my​ ​dogs.​ ​I love​ ​to​ ​end​ ​the​ ​week​ ​with​ ​a​ ​glass​ ​of​ ​Champagne,​ ​so​ ​I​ ​usually​ ​make​ ​sure​ ​there​ ​is​ ​time​ ​for​ ​that​ ​in there​ ​too!

Lightning​ ​round!

8.​ ​Hot​ ​coffee​ ​or​ ​cold​ ​brew?​ ​

Hot​ ​coffee​ ​every​ ​time!

9.​ ​Heels​ ​or​ ​sneakers?​

​Heels.​ ​The​ ​higher​ ​the​ ​heel,​ ​the​ ​closer​ ​to​ ​God.

10.​ ​Pancakes​ ​or​ ​waffles?​ ​

Pancakes.

11.​ ​Karaoke​ ​queen​ ​or​ ​dance​ ​machine?​ ​

My​ ​friends​ ​would​ ​say​ ​neither,​ ​I​ ​say​ ​both.

12.​ ​Action​ ​or​ ​rom-com?​ ​

Rom-com.