The Ivey home, a divinely fetching space with the feel of a country cottage, has Southern roots. Kathryn Ivey received her B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and, upon settling in a town just north of Virgina, began her own design business. Okay, so Washington D.C. isn’t exactly a small town (and certainly isn’t located that far south), but Kathryn’s home, which she shares with her husband, Ron, and their Schnauzer, Max, is an acutely soulful and utterly charming space evoking a certain simple prepossession—a breath of fresh air on Capitol Hill.
Haddon Interiors, Kathryn’s design firm, is said to provide a balancing act between luxury and comfort. Kathryn’s own home, detailed with cherry-red bar stools and blue cruisers adorned with front-loading baskets, is no exception (the cruiser is seen next to a six-person dining table). Not one inch of the Ivey household feels stuffy. In fact, as shoe trees have been known to moonlight as coat hangers in the front corridor, there is even room for a bit of quirk and whimsy. It goes without saying that with all these delightful touches, we were absolutely smitten with Kathryn’s D.C. abode. But enough from us. Let’s hear from the woman who made it all happen.
Name: Kathryn Ivey
Location: Washington, DC
Current title/company: Owner, Haddon Interiors
Educational background: B.A. in Journalism with a concentration in Visual Communications
Tell us about the process of finding your home.
Real estate in DC is not cheap, and my husband and I always longed to be able to find an older home that we could renovate. However, we weren’t confident we could find something in DC that fit the bill -figuratively and literally. However, after a few months of house hunting, we found a gem with great bones for the right price on Capitol Hill. The house had been neglected and had severe mold issues. However, we spent 3 months getting the house healthy and in move-in condition. We’ve continued to “renovate” over the past couple years, and my list of to-dos keep growing! We absolutely love our neighborhood and continue to enjoy making changes to the house.
What are your favorite/least favorite things about your home?
My least favorite thing is that we have one bathroom. We have an English basement with a full bath and kitchen, but we are currently renting it out. I’m sure we’ll eventually take over that space one day so we can have two bathrooms! Although, having one bathroom with one sink definitely “grows” your marriage. My favorite thing is our fireplace. It was completely covered over with plaster when we bought the house, but having a working fireplace was a must on our wish list. We keep it burning from September to March!
How would you describe your decorating style? Where do you look for inspiration? My decorating style could be defined as classic yet eclectic. I despise matching sets of furniture. I feel a house should have a soul and filling a home with pieces that you love or that have a story provide that soul. My inspiration comes from travel. I love finding pieces that feel like they were plucked from a fabulous flea market in Europe!
What is your advice to someone looking to decorate on a budget?
The thrill is in the hunt! Take your time to find those special pieces. Flea markets, Craigslist and secondhand stores can provide some amazing, unique treasures if you are willing to be patient and have persistence. You never know where you’ll find that next treasure!
Tell us about the decorating process for your home. How long has it taken to get your home to look the way it does now?
My house is not nearly done, and I don’t believe it will ever be “done!” Because we live in a 100-year-old row house, our space is small, and I have to be intentional about every piece of furniture I put in our house. It’s taken me 2-and-a-half years to get it where it is now, but I’m still on the hunt for replacing our Ikea sofas, having built-in bookcases installed, getting a mantle for our fireplace, and don’t get me started on the master bedroom… it hasn’t been touched since we moved in! The list goes on, but it’s a fun process!
How did you save money when decorating your house?
I saved money by scouring flea markets, Craigslist and antique stores. However, I don’t just see it as saving money but finding unique pieces that you won’t see in other people’s homes. I also invest in pieces that will be heavily used (i.e. upholstery) but save on accessories such as pillows or dinnerware.
What is your favorite budget-friendly piece in your home and why?
My bar cabinet has to be one of my prized pieces. I found it on Craigslist for $300, and the seller was actually an decorative arts dealer. I love the large rosettes around the knobs! I’m considering gold-leafing the rosettes to add a little more punch to the piece.
What are your current career aspirations? Where would you like to see yourself in five years?
I worked as a design assistant for a few other design firms for several years, and then decided to go out on my own three years ago. I would love to continue to see my firm grow but keep it boutique-sized. My husband and I would like to start a family soon, and I’d like to keep working but also be available to be a mother, so bringing on a few more employees would be key. In five years, I’d love to have some of my work published in a national shelter magazine and have a few select national and international projects under my belt. I love to travel and would like to find a way to incorporate that passion into my work.
What advice would you give your 23-year-old self?
I’d tell my 23-year-old self that you don’t have to have it all figured out. Your twenties are about exploring your interests and passions. A great piece of advice I heard was that your twenties were like sailing—you tack back and forth until you find your route.