Creative Genius Podcast

Season 9 Episode 9

Find Your Unique Voice (Kati Curtis)

Find Your Unique Voice (Kati Curtis)

Who are you designing for, yourself or your clients? Of course, you have a desire and an obligation to deliver the best design outcome for your clients. But they can choose from any number of designers. Rather than try to morph to accommodate the tastes of each individual client, be your authentic self and find the clients who want what you have to offer.

In this episode, Gail talks with Kati Curtis, founder and principal designer, Kati Curtis Design in New York, New York. Regarded as one of NYC’s top designers, Kati and her team of six do both residential and commercial projects. Kati is an active member of a number of interior design-related organizations and has volunteered her talents for the Kips Bay Show House and for DIFFA’s Dining by Design fundraiser.

Kati said she is driven by a desire to develop a unique style and vision. “I want what nobody else can have,” she said. For her, design is about being who you are authentically. “When a client says, ‘I want what you have to offer’, that’s when we have the most successful projects.”

Looking back on her career up to this point, the one thing Kati said she would have done differently would have been to tout her own style more in the beginning and to not have been reluctant to push it as much as possible. Her advice to designers just starting their businesses is, “Find your own voice and scream it as loud as you can as early as can.”

Kati comes from a built environment background. And although she loves what she does, she acknowledges that interior design is hard work. “I say to people, we make at least 450 decisions a day.” Projects can take a long time to complete, and along the way the clients and others involved can begin to run out of steam and lose focus. Part of her job, as she sees it, is to remind them, her team, and even herself sometimes of the goal, which is the amazing finished project. Her mantra? “Remember the magic.”

Several years ago, Kati’s husband, Simon, who has a background in tech, joined the firm as chief operating officer. She talked about the adjustments that both of them had to make. The arrangement has been working well so far. Still, Kati cautioned anyone considering going into business with their spouse. “Think very hard before you work with your spouse. It can be the greatest thing and the hardest thing at the same time.”

Kati also spoke on her experience doing the Kips Bay Show House, what she has learned about running a business, and what inspires her as a designer. For all that and more, listen to the entire podcast.

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Mentioned in This Podcast

To learn more about Kati and work, go to the firm’s website at

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