Loyola Magazine

Superior interior

A Q&A with Kate Jordan, '06, prop and interiors stylist

Kate Jordan has always had an eye for interior style and an appreciation for aesthetics.

After graduating from Loyola in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts in Art History, Jordan worked as a stylist for Anthropologie.

The Philadelphia-based prop and interior stylist brings interior spaces, food, and soft goods to life for digital and print media. Her work has been featured in Real Simple and Martha Stewart Living and by Restoration Hardware and West Elm, among others.

We asked her to share what she sees as trending in home styling, what inspires her, and a few tips for our readers to incorporate their personal style in their homes.

What, exactly, does a prop and interiors stylist do?

Each project is a little different. I’m lucky enough to have both corporate clients whose catalogs and ad campaigns I work on, editorial clients for whom I get to work on magazine stories, and publishing clients for whom I’ve done both interiors books and cookbooks.

I work with the project’s art director in an initial pre-production meeting. From there, I’ll work with the set builder to build and bring to life the shoot’s sets.

Who are some of your clients?

I’m super thankful to work with some really incredible clients: West Elm, Target, Anthology magazine, Kinfolk magazine, The Land of Nod, the New York Times Magazine, Chronicle Books, to name a few. I thank my lucky stars a lot.

How do you apply your Loyola education in your work?

I majored in art history at Loyola, and I loved the societal influences we’d discuss in my courses, how one historical movement or event begets another, even how religion played such an enormous role in image-making. I look back and think the professors in my program really taught me to look at an image and analyze it deeply: What is the story that I’m trying to tell? What does it convey to the viewer, to the audience, to the consumer? How do the colors, shapes, lines, sense of space help tell the story?

Where do you find your inspiration for your work?

Oh, all over the place! Whenever I travel and have some downtime, I try to go to the local museum. I also think it’s part of my job to stay on top of the home and food magazines that are out there, so I have subscriptions to them all. And Instagram has become a bit of an obsession. I just love seeing the world through other people’s eyes.

What is your favorite piece of furniture or feature of your own home?

My favorite pieces are the sentimental ones. We have a rule in our house that nothing comes into the home that’s “just for now.” Everything has to be something that we want to live with forever. That, of course, means that we go without things for years until we find the right piece! But I think it’s really the way to go. Once we really fall in love with a piece, then it comes home with us.

What do you see as trending right now in terms of interior spaces and styles?

I think there’s a real movement towards making a home unique and personal. No one wants cookie-cutter or expected; everyone wants their home to reflect them. People seem to be flea-marketing or searching out the handmade and the special. Home to me is such a wonderful concept: the idea of ‘home’ is universal, but every home is so individual.

Do friends ask you for advice on how to style their own homes?

Sometimes! And I’ll definitely weigh in, but lightly. I don’t know how fair it is for me to inject my own thoughts on other people’s homes… after all, I don’t live there. A home needs to work for those who inhabit it and a space has to be one that someone wants to always be in. I’m happy to give loose opinions, but just as happy to simply be welcomed into someone’s home.

What’s the best way to incorporate some green and grey in interior design?

Grey is the perfect neutral base. Whether a moody, dark grey or a lighter, whiter tone, grey is the perfect base upon which to layer in your color. For me, I love a subtle palette with one of two great pops of color. This could come in the form of a beautiful emerald rug, or a couple of gorgeous jade pillows. I love my color in the final accent pieces. This also helps for when you need a little change and decide to switch out your throw pillows or bring home a new throw blanket—easy changes that can have big impact.

How can our readers display college memorabilia, like photos or a framed Loyola diploma, in a stylish way?

Gallery walls might be everywhere these days, but I think displaying your most treasured memories in a beautiful cluster still makes total sense. Try to mix it up a bit from the norm and hang all of your photos, art, and diploma with all frames at the same height. You can arrange the top of the frames at the same height or the center of each image at the same height. Another option is to install a long, narrow ledge upon which you can rest everything. You can mix things up more easily this way, too, when you want a change. So long as your color palette and frames are cohesive, the whole gallery will work as a whole.

See more of Jordan’s design work.

Cover photo by Nicole Franzen.