We peek inside the creative mind of Kate Keros, founder of Studio Keros. With a passion for curating well-designed spaces, a touch of intention, and an eye for aesthetics, Kate surely knows how to set the stage for meaningful experiences that bring people together. If you’re looking to zhuzh up your home with intention, read on!
Q: Please introduce yourself!
A: Hello! My name is Kate Keros and I am an interior designer and creative living in Laguna Beach, California. I founded Studio Keros with passion in my heart to create beautifully personalized atmospheres that amplify the physical & mental spaces we occupy.
For me, creating an ambiance has been my pride & joy for as long as I can remember. The biggest motivating factor for me in my business is to cultivate experiences that elevate the senses and create a positive impact. Be it through dance, fashion, art, or cooking, I have always felt the need to express my individuality.
Through interior design I have found the marriage of creativity & analytics, where I can manifest my artistry and utilize my meticulous & social personality to develop connections with people around me, improve their physical environment, and therefore their lives.
Q: What does creating an intentional space mean to you?
A: To me, creating intentional spaces implies cultivating environments dedicated to the art of living. An intentional space is a controlled setting that threads together the balance between artistic expression & safety. When an environment is well-designed & mindfully executed, an elevated product ensues which inspires those that encounter it. I believe good design produces a result that is timeless in style, built to last, and enhances the user’s experience of the space which in turn enriches their well-being. An intentional place is that which is void of clutter, where every piece is thoughtfully placed so its occupants can enjoy the artistry of their environment and allow themselves the freedom to wander within themselves.
An intentional space is a controlled setting that threads together the balance between artistic expression & safety.
Q: How do you curate an intentional space? What can you do to a space to reveal its intention?
A: Design is an expressive practice that I believe should improve the look and function of a space. I practice a holistic design sensibility and work to nourish all aspects of a space’s inhabitants, starting with the physical world around them. I begin each project by asking what impact the clients want to create & what emotions they want to feel when they are in their environment. Empathizing with the people most affected by the space is the most determinative inspiration for the project. Once I understand the intended impact, I look for creative possibilities to translate the intentions for the space into a shared vision. I find that before any selections are made, it’s important to get super clear on what the vision is, exercise restraint, and only place pieces that are imbued with character so that they may serve as a personal reflection of its users.
In my personal space, I want to feel comfortable, clear-headed, and inspired so I execute on these goals by enriching my environment with soothing tones, warm textures, and functional organization. With intention, I carefully place a variety of artful objects that express my individuality & make it feel mine. I aim for a balanced ambiance, decorated with objects of meaning, that inspires tranquility within me and reminds me of who I am. I like to develop a backdrop, unscored by earthy textures & muted tones, and then supplement it with stimulating details that carry weight. Something poetic & purposeful ensues when the ideal equilibrium is achieved.
Q: What is your central motivating factor with the creation of Studio Keros?
A: Design is a practice in which the goal is to amplify settings to their highest potential. As sensory beings, humans are products of their environments; we operate better with clean, cohesive spaces. Be it sensations of chaos or serenity, combinations of textures, furnishings, color palettes, and lighting affect our feelings. When we are able to combine surfaces that compliment each other, it lends a naturally balanced setting that evokes peace & inspiration within us. There is something so powerfully impactful when you walk into a space and it just feels right. This positive impact achieved by design well-done is my aspiration with & the purpose of Studio Keros.
Q: What are some of your most treasured rooms and areas you have curated? Why?
A: The areas I’ve designed & cherish most are those that feel truly unique & cohesive. A few spaces that stand out to me are the Shady Canyon Residential Office, Willbo Library Lounge, and Flicker Luxury Studio. All these spaces are truly so different from each other so I’ll break down my favorite things about them separately…
Shady Canyon Residential Office: At our Shady Canyon residential remodel, there was a large, unenclosed space with no obvious use along the long hallway from the bedrooms to the garage. Since the home already had a living room, a media room, and 4 bedrooms, this space was an extra area that we wanted to give purpose to & create a captivating scene. We developed the design of a u-shaped desk with open cubby shelving, flanking tower cabinets for concealed storage, and integrated light coves that highlight organized accessories in each cubby. To add aesthetic interest, we opted for a green/grey cabinet color, oversized pill shaped marble hardware, and neutral wallpaper with abstract bird pattern that offers a soft & sophisticated allure. We lived in the details with this design to create an unexpected moment that is functional, soothing, and simply beautiful. Our intention was to create an elevated, serene atmosphere that promotes clarity and allows creativity to flow.
Willbo Library Lounge: The design of Willbo’s Library lounge is one of spirit & eclecticism. This cozy lounge space artfully juxtaposes rich textures, bold patterns, and heirloom accessories that invite curiosity & tell the story of adventure. Our intention with this space was to create a cozy living room nook that draws guests in & bids them to stay a while. We wanted to give this area its own identity by separating it from the main retail & dining spaces with a checkered step-down pony wall that creates just enough division for the lounge to feel private. In this space, I’m proud to admit that we blended many styles together that collectively result in a cohesive look that exudes warmth & character.
Flicker Luxury Studio: I had the challenge of converting the garage of a large single family residence to a stand-alone guest room. We had the limitation of only 450 square-feet of space to fabricate a bedroom, living area, kitchenette, closet, and bathroom. To maximize the space, we incorporated a hotel guest room layout where the headboard of the bed also serves as the wall that the bathroom vanity sits up against, open on each end for wrap-around circulation throughout the studio. We also added a Juliette balcony to one side and lage windows to 2 of the 3 walls to open up the space. On the remaining enclosed walls, we developed an enclosed water closet for privacy, shower, closet + storage with sliding doors opposite the vanity, and a kitchenette equipped with a mini fridge, microwave, coffee maker, and open shelving so a guest has everything they need in their detached guest suite. The resulting product is the perfect transitional, luxury guest room that combines functionality & comfort.
Q: Are there any significant items and pieces in your spaces that hold particular meaning or fondness?
A: Oh boy, where do I start!? Almost all pieces in my space hold sentimental value to me.
I have an heirloom walnut coffee table from my dad, my mom’s japandi table lamp, an earthy painting of a forest-lined path, a map hanging above our bed that I got during my travels abroad, a 1980’s raw edge travertine dining table I won from an auction, antique vessels from my mother-in-law in celebration of my engagement, coffee table books that were gifts from friends, a pillow case from my first visit to the MoMa, a thrifted vintage credenza hand-painted in Nihonga motifs, and all our bedroom and office furniture fabricated with love by my multi-talented fiancé, Garrett.
There are items like the solid iron sculpture of a mini italian greyhound that are silly & overtly inessential but I keep because it is delicately crafted & just makes me smile. Then there is a gold-flaked rose that Garrett found on the street & bought me on Valentine’s Day many moons ago, saying it would last longer than real flowers.
To me, a well-curated home is one whose independent parts hold meaning and combine to create a space that is reminiscent of the past, the love we are surrounded by, and feels like a reflection of our personalities.
In many ways, design is a storytelling practice that gives its users the opportunity to celebrate their personal journey & express themselves.
A masterpiece is made up of the little treasures we hold onto that remind us of a life well-lived.
Q: Do you think our external environments affect our inner world?
A: There is no question in my mind that our external environments affect our inner worlds.
Our surrounding environments impact the emotions we feel in the space, and therefore our internal dialogue & inner world. When spaces are elevated to their purest & most outstanding form, it nourishes its users & evokes positivity. I often find that when you improve someone’s physical surroundings, which in turn, improves their overall well-being, they will also bring that inner peace into their outer world in how they treat others and their outlook on life. If our spaces are not only beautiful, but also feel like a reflection of ourselves, it gives us a place in this large world & makes us feel at ease.
Q: What has been one change that you’ve made in your home or workspace that has impacted your physical, mental, or spiritual health?
A: One of the most impactful choices that I have made in our home is to put a daybed on our balcony. While this furniture piece is nothing fancy, it has plush seat & back cushions and multi-functional arms that can be adjusted in 3 positions (90 degrees, 45 degrees, and a flat 180 degrees), offering different use styles. With a perched-up view out towards the ocean, this humble sofa is one of the most inviting zones in our home. On most mornings, Garrett & I enjoy our coffees sitting here, checking in with each other & our to-do lists. Although cheap & ordinary, this furniture piece holds the stage to sacred rituals for our mental health. I am a sun-loving creature and it’s the first place I like to lay to relish in the rays. This modest daybed compels me to get outside, take a moment to reflect, and reminds me of the beautiful surroundings we are so lucky to live within.
Q: How do you find creating a space for your business different from creating a space solely for yourself?
A: In both situations, creating the right space is all about the client & what their desires are. When I am designing for a client, I have to dive deep into their personalities and the vibe that they want to create in order to develop strategies to reach their intended goals. I ask questions like what kind of emotions they hope to evoke & request inspiration images to understand their aesthetic inclinations, and then build upon what I learn about them to create an innovative design uniquely their own.
When I design a space solely for myself, I have no boundaries. Oftentimes in our homes, opportunities for design arise from desires for efficiency & best use of space. Since I am the main user, I understand the end goal very well and can develop an outcome utilizing the space to the highest value. Instead of meeting the accepted boundaries of what my client’s desire, I have the freedom to go into unoccupied territory to develop a breakthrough design solution that reflects my own desires & personal expression.
Q: You recently designed Laguna’s latest lifestyle shop, WILLBO, tell us about that process.
A: The development of Willbo’s Basecamp was a positive journey of creative collaboration between us as the designers, the vision of Willbo’s multi-membered team, and the builder (who also happens to be my Fiance, Garrett). Developing a retail space, kitchen, bar area, library lounge, cafe seating area, dressing room, various merchandising displays, and storage for it all within the constraints of a small 1,500 sqft space, a tight timeline, and modest budget was challenging, but pushed us to come up with our most creative solutions & design elements to date.
The mission was to develop an exceptional yet accessible space that embodied the adventure & spirit of Willbo’s brand, enabling visitors to feel part of something bigger than just themselves. The pursuit of our designs were instilled in the individuality of Willbo vision for a holistic meeting space that functions as ‘an extension of your living room.’ We worked to create unique identities for each separate space that together form a multi-sensory shopping experience, inviting guests to poke around, strike up a conversation, pick up the guitar, and stay a while. The design intent was not only to showcase the clothing for sale, but to bring to the community a communal space that fosters connectedness, and celebrates life & play.
Kate Keros is a design-obsessed entrepreneur with creative tendencies that seeks to create beauty & a positive impact in the world. She uses interior architecture & design to dive deeper into her sense of creativity to develop spatial storytelling for her clients. A lady of many passions, she enjoys combining textures & pattern plays to create versatile looks both unique to each project and its beholders. She has an instinctive design sensibility that is deliberate & thoughtful. As a resourceful creator, she fuses eclectic styles in expressive arrangements that depict a rich sense of history, evoke emotion, and tell the story of a well curated life. Follow along Studio Keros on the ‘gram or reach out to her directly if your space is in need of some TLC!