Mix and Match: Design And Career Philosophy For Toronto-Based Kat Rose

For the last 12 years, you have been looking at the work of designer Kat Rose - even if you didn’t know it! Kat is the unicorn of design professionals; she is a designer’s designer. When design shows are cranking out episodes, the truth is that the on-camera designer (the star) simply cannot do it all. Productions seek out a very special breed of designer - one with the abilities of a chameleon. They look for a 'Kat Rose'! 





Kat has executed close to 100 on-camera reveals on shows that can be seen in Canada, the US, and across international markets. Think of a designer’s designer as the ghostwriter of the factual TV design world. 

Kat says that when designing for another designer you need to do your research. She says: “Getting to know the designer you are working with is essential; their style, colour palettes they are drawn to and how they style a space. Then you use your skills to create something that coincides with their traits.” She says that when designing for TV, “there are always many challenges that present themselves. It’s a fast-paced environment, unlike the slower pace that design can be on a residential project. You have to make quick decisions. But that’s one of the things I love about it.

Kat Rose combines her TV work with her residential clients in her own firm, Kat Rose Design. Using her own style sensibility for her projects, Kat believes in mixing and matching. She has a passion for mixing old with new, soft with bold and elegant with edgy.

Kat is clearly not a designer who consistently recreates the same look over and over. In her own practice, she loves working not just for, but WITH her clients. Unlike the TV world where clients are surprised by the choices made by Kat and the on-camera designers, Kat enjoys the process of collaboration as she builds not just her own but her client’s vision. When she works with clients she describes the process as  collaborative. 





Kat has incorporated both her philosophy and TV design to showcase other areas of her design world. And hers is an impressively broad universe!

Two years ago, she and a business partner created a curated seasonal subscription box company that caters to women’s health and wellness. It features, among other things, “swoon worthy home décor”. With a career that already includes designing for residential clients and TV shows, I had to ask if this online box offering was a complete departure for her. Interestingly, Kat says all aspects of her career come down to the same thing; using her style sense and creativity to search out perfect elements for each project she puts her hand to. She often refers to design as “simply finding the perfect pieces to complete a puzzle; the pieces that will bring a space or project (like the Karma Box) to life”. 





The Karma Box Co. that Kat runs with fellow artistic mastermind Erin McDonald, is clearly the result of a caring Canadian sensibility and one with enormous style. In each offering Kat and Erin include seasonal choices from the worlds of food, health, fitness, beauty and home décor. The items are environmentally friendly, health-conscious, vegetarian or vegan so that it caters to the broadest demographic and best part? It's sustainably made.

I particularly loved the coconut bowls in a recent box. They are made from discarded coconut shells and are stunning as well as environmentally responsible. Kat and Erin clearly have a social consciousness as some of the proceeds from the sale of each box also benefit a charitable organization. Currently, they are working with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.





But, when it comes to Kat Rose, as TV infomercials always say, “...Wait, there’s more!

Kat is also celebrated for using her design skills in the areas of art direction, styling and floral design. Really, could she be any more talented?

This woman is an up-and-coming Canadian design treasure.  I have seen firsthand what this woman can do with floral design! It turns out that on top of her degree in design she also completed a floral design diploma. Of her work as a stylist Kat says, “for me styling is icing on the design cake! It’s where you get to incorporate things that the homeowner has acquired over time; a cute vase they found in an antique store, their mom’s glassware or a beautiful piece of art.  I love to mix and match the client’s pieces with the accessories that I source as a way of breathing life into the design. Honestly, it’s one of my favourite parts of the process.”





You can see Kat’s talent for mixing and matching in this shot (above) that she calls Cotton Candy. Kat says that she loves shoots like this where she collaborated with various artists, including the photographer, makeup artist and stylists who specialize in food and wardrobe.

The Canadian design world is filled with well-known names, many of them are designers who we regularly see on TV. But keep your eye out for Kat Rose, a multidimensional designer who is making waves in the Canadian design world, both on-and off-camera, with her inside and outside-of-the-box thinking. 


For more on Kat’s residential design work check out Kat Rose Design.

For some fun with Kat on Instagram visit @katrosedesign

If you are curious to see the next stylish seasonal offerings check out The Karma Box Co


For more Canadian designers with unique approaches to design, check out Jamie Wolfond, Nikki Chu and Knauf & Brown on Houseporn.ca:

 - Good Thing Collection By Canadian Designer Jamie Wolfond

 - Designer Nikki Chu Brings Colour To Cautious Canadians

 - Knauf & Brown, And Questioning Perceived Value




Theresa Kowall-Shipp is a TV producer, director and writer.  Her interest in home design grew from exposure to her family’s construction and architectural woodworking firm and producing or directing dozens of hours of design TV. 

Posted In: Ontario

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