“Insights Into Design” is a Riggs series on local designers highlighting the process, style, and inspiration that drives impactful design. Each post will feature a local designer and their designs to gain an inside perspective into the work and imagination of their kitchen projects. This edition features the designer Katy Smith, of Honsador Lumber.
Tell us a little about your background. What factors contributed to you becoming a designer? How did you decide to become a designer?
Growing up I was surrounded by the rich architecture around Milwaukee and Chicago, constantly inspired by art and beauty. I studied art at UW Milwaukee, then apprenticed in interior design. Having fun, along with great success, I built homes with my brother and a friend, which lead me to further my training and specialized in kitchens. Helping people create living spaces that truly fits their needs and desires elevates me. Maui called me permanently in 2007 and I’ve been fortunate to engage in a diverse community and explore new creative elements of fun and design.
What is your process like when you approach new projects?
Every new project is unique and personal. I ask questions about the family and who’s cooking, and how will the kitchen be utilized. Then most importantly—listening and learning as much as I can about their vision allows me to take an intuitive approach to design the perfect environment fitting their life and style.
What would you like new clients to know about your design process?
“This is all about you! There is no right or wrong. Let’s have fun and explore the possibilities.” My job is to help them discover what they truly want and need to enjoy the functionally of their new environment.
How does living in the West Coast affect your design practice and your design thinking?
From the moment I touched down here 20 years ago the magical awe-inspiring beauty and the spiritual culture of the Hawaiian Islands continues to ignite all my senses. I love weaving these many aspects and elements into my designs.
Tell us about your Sub-Zero and Wolf kitchen design. How did the addition of Sub-Zero and Wolf enhance the design?
Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove are the high-water marks of our industry. My client wanted comfortable elegance; a working kitchen for multiple chefs. Plenty day to day family activities, gatherings, and entertaining were the focus. The Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove products provided flexibility along with the beauty desired for the multi-tasking this kitchen enjoys.
If you were to give your younger self advice in regards to a career in design, what would it be?
I’d tell my younger self to travel more, see more, and use this vast playground in all walks of life. It opens doors, minds, and possibilities. To always be me and not let others influence my decisions if it doesn’t truly resonate. This life is an adventure… so- explore, laugh more and enjoy the ride!
Tell us something fun about yourself: Any hobbies about with you are passionate? A most recent book that you finished reading? Up next on the Netflix queue?
I paddle Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe and it’s been a life-changing lifestyle for me. We voyage from island to island, race in regattas and this is my seventh year serving on the board of directors for my local canoe club in Maui. Dancing, Hiking adventures, and my yoga practice are other loves of mine. I’m currently reading Becoming By. Michelle Obama and started Watching Gracie & Frankie on Netflix.