with Kate O’Hara

Check out all of the Designer’s Take series HERE.

First impressions on Boutique Living?

It’s accurate, particularly in outdoor spaces and owner’s suites. We’re seeing retreats, places that feel like vacations. I want to close the door and feel like I’ve transported somewhere else. I think this nails that aspect.

(Left to Right) Abbott Sofa by Cameron Collection, Michael – Cleary; Make It Yours by Vanguard Furniture, J. Marshall Design; Caravaggio Cocktail Table, Ebanista

Comments on the color palette?

I’m seeing blues, which are complementary to the creamy tones. I’m seeing more blues than grays here.

(Left to Right) McGuire Lashed Lounge Chair, Baker Furniture; 48” Dual Fuel Steam Range – Contemporary, Dacor Kitchen Theater; Luxury Alpaca Duvets and Pillows, Designers Linen Source

What words come to mind on viewing Boutique Living?




We are looking for peace at home, with more function than ever before.

(Left to Right) KALLISTA Juxtapose Collection, de Guilio kitchen design; Atmosphere Wide Width Sheers, Thibaut Wallcoverings, Fabrics and Fine Furniture; Sealine, DEDON; Brooke Spot Table, Hickory Chair

What does 2021 look like?

Peoples’ relationships with their homes are evolving. Over the past 20 years, we’ve seen people wanting to open their homes up. It’s been ubiquitous coast to coast regardless of home style. We were seeing less diversity in design aesthetic.

Right now, people still want the openness, but they also want to have distinct functional zones. We hear people talking about this being the area that the kids will do schoolwork, this is for guests or this is for home office. We are seeing spaces being more defined. We used to hear about adding a desk to a kitchen – and who ever uses that? It’s the mail drop off area! Now that we need dedicated offices. It’s becoming more important to have multiple gathering spaces in homes. Lower levels and bonus rooms, family rooms and more than one place to retreat. Outdoor living has become more important than ever, too. It’s what we’ll continue to see, whether people go back to school and work. They’ve learned a lot this year about spaces serving purposes.

Tell us about yourself, Martha, the firm.

Martha was an accountant before she was a designer. She always wanted to run a business. Her father was an entrepreneur and she wanted to follow in his footsteps. After a series of family moves, she realized that she had a passion for interior design. She’d had success moving from one house to the next. She decided that was how she wanted to combine her passion and business acumen. She started the firm out of the basement of her home when I was 10 years old. We grew over time to an office space, then a larger stand-alone building, and now too two locations – one in Minneapolis and in Austin.

Along that journey, about 15 years ago, I joined the business. My role began in marketing. I got us online and we found ourselves working with clients across the country, which led us to Austin and new projects. Almost two years ago, I stepped into role of CEO and took over running the business. This allows Martha to focus on what she loves to do. Our firm is 18 employees with staff in both Minneapolis and Austin.

Do you have a favorite space at home? Or one that needs a dramatic change?

Yes to all! I think my favorite place is outside. I think that office spaces are what people are rethinking. So many have turned dining spaces into offices. It may work for them, but not the other members of their family. Offices, home schooling areas, some kind of laundry room. People are trying to get more utility. That’s how I feel too.

About Kate: Kate joined Martha O’Hara Interiors in 2006, establishing her mother’s already successful Minneapolis studio into a nationally-recognized firm.  She is now the company’s CEO + Creative Director. When she isn’t traveling between the company’s two offices and getting to know prospective clients, Kate can be found speaking at design conferences across the country.

Kate O’Hara

Martha O’Hara Interiors