Katie Grantz

Photo by Paul Miller

It might have been fate that led designer Katie Grantz to her current profession. Her mother worked with a designer, and mom’s samples became wallpaper and carpet for young Katie’s dollhouse. “Then, in high school, it all clicked, and I knew I wanted to be an interior designer,” she says. “I applied to the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in San Francisco, and thus began my love affair with design.”

Grantz says the site visits for this beach house in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, weren’t only fun, but almost therapeutic. “It was a block from the ocean and right off a street called Inspiration,” she says, “which was how I felt whenever I was there.”

Her growing firm keeps her busy with work in Denver as well as flying back and forth to California to finish multiple projects, including an 11,000-square-foot estate in Northern California. “Designing an old, historic, Spanish-style colonial home that is rich in history has been a great experience,” she says. “Melding the old structure with the new has had its challenges, but it’s all coming together in the final stages, and I am very excited about it.

Grantz says her client was open to letting the sounds, colors, smells, and setting of Carmel-by-the-Sea contribute to the design and was willing to try new things.

Grantz is also currently working on a modern farmhouse in the Denver area, which she calls “a completely new style” for her. “It is an amazing experience to use materials that I have never worked with,” she says. “We are choosing cerused oak, shiplap walls, reclaimed woods, and antique brass hardware.” She says the design process began with the purchase of dishware for the kitchen, which then informed the home’s color scheme.

Regardless of the initial spark, for Grantz, creating a client’s dream home involves listening to their needs and learning how they live. “I try my hardest to convey a design that best fits their lifestyle,” she says. “I use my design library of finish samples, shop the Denver Design District, and flip through favorite design books to begin my process.” She then hand-draws her burgeoning design. “I use sketches and samples to produce an Olioboard, a digital material board, as a starting point to present my concepts to my clients—then we go from there!”

Grantz was hired to design a home from the ground up for a family of eight in Northern California. Grantz's client, a large-and growing-family, trusted her vision, and it turned into a wonderful family home that represents them perfectly, she says.