Kate Walker’s life has always been about design. Growing up in a well known Melbourne family, her father is one of Australia’s most successful ceramic tile merchants and her mother is a much loved Interior Designer. With colour, texture and design flair in her bones, Kate’s talents were first put to use as a little girl in her family home, where her passion for design saw her constantly updating and rearranging her childhood bedroom.
Working with her father for over 15 years, Kate learnt about the family business from the ground up. She became proficient in all facets of the tile and stone industry and was trained in every aspect of the business from the retail floor and showroom design to working with major domestic builders, managing architectural and commercial sales and handling procurement. Proudly, Kate credits her father for instilling in her an unwavering work ethic and encouraging in her an interest in and in-depth knowledge of the design industry.
Design, service and attention to detail
Kate Walker Design (KWD) was launched in 2013 and has grown to dizzy heights with an expanding team of professionals and hundreds of design jobs completed to perfection. KWD is all about design, service and attention to detail, and as experts in the industry they specify, source and supply all hard finishes. Providing a streamlined and solution based service, the KWD team links clients with leading building contractors and suppliers and oversees design projects from concept to completion. The access KWD has to the very best importers of hard finishes is unrivalled, and the relationship they have with leaders in the industry ensures the best possible prices and service. They work closely with architects, interior designers, developers, builders and contractors so that the project process is streamlined and efficient.
With Kate Walker at the helm of a dynamic and professional team, clients can be assured of a comprehensive and consultative collaboration. Specialising in a wide range of projects including low and multi-density residential projects, hotel refurbishments, multi-national corporate refits and high-end residential projects (from Melbourne to Portsea and beyond), Kate and her team deliver on promise.
Latest trends and innovations
As well as establishing an enviable relationship with hundreds of contacts in the architectural and interior design industry, Kate has immersed herself in all things design. Keeping abreast of the latest trends comes naturally, as does her innate sense of style. While she has her own personal design ethos. she loves working with all manner of design schemes, from the ultra modern to coastal chic, and from chinoiserie to all things Hamptons – and everything in between. Kate listens to experts in the field and constantly researches forecast trends so she is always up to date with the latest industry news. colour creations and product innovations.
A specialist in natural stone, Terrazzo, porcelain, ceramic, mosaic, glass and timber, Kate has an in-depth understanding of the technical elements of the manufacturing process of both stone and tiles. She also has direct access to some of the best technical advisors when it comes to laying and maintaining the materials she supplies. The hard finishes she works with includes tiles, natural stone, paving, bench tops, cabinetry, carpet timber flooring, sanitary ware, tap ware, bath ware, rugs and increasingly furniture, lighting and soft furnishings.
Design is a way of life
Kate has travelled the world attending trade fairs and visiting manufacturing sites so that she understands the materials she works with. She knows the source of every tile and stone available in the marketplace from Europe, America or Asia, and can also spec match materials, making sourcing a simple and smooth process. Importantly, Kate builds relationships – with her clients, her contacts and her associates. Collaboration is important to Kate and her team, as is the world of design. For Kate design isn’t what she does, it’s her way of life.
Naturally, we wanted to know how Kate managed to run a demanding business whilst raising two children as a single mum.
Really very poorly! It’s not easy trying to be everything you need to be and it can be a real struggle physically and emotionally. But I do what I can with the help of a great team. Most of my team are working mothers and because I know what it’s like to be a working mum and all the demands that there are, I provide a lot of flexibility. They can work school friendly hours, and part time, and be involved in their kids lives while still working and creating a life for themselves. And in turn they offer assistance to me whenever they can, every day. If I’m losing it with the kids they step in and lighten my load, and if I’m in meetings or working late they are always there to help me out. I also have a nanny who helps with the kids a few days a week and family who live close by who are a great support. You need to be able to ask for help when you need it, and give back whenever you can.
My kids have been to their fair share of consultations with me as well, and are great note takers! They understand the importance of our family business and take it all in their stride. They love driving past projects that I have worked on, and they feel so proud when they can see the work I have done.
Why have you chosen the Mornington Peninsula as home?
Kate lives in her favourite part of the world on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria with her two beautiful children – Charlie (12) and Jemima (10) – their puppy Pierre and two little rabbits. Audrey and Artie.
The reasons are endless! I am very blessed to live very close to the beach down a dirt road, which is quintessential Mt Martha. I have family members living nearby and there is such a community spirit. There’s an old fashioned sweet shop down the road, and I feel safe to let the kids run down the street with some change in their back pocket to go and buy themselves some sweets as a treat. While I adore the city and all of its temptations, I love nothing more than driving in to Mt Martha village and seeing the beautiful bay and breathing in the smell of the sea. My heart rate slows down, my body relaxes and I feel at ease. And it’s only 55 minutes to the city, with not one traffic light. I enjoy the simplicity of living on the Mornington Peninsula. I get to live the life that others see as a vacation.
Photo Credits: Brent Lukey @brentlukey.