Take a peek inside the creative world of Katherine Kelly Rhudy, owner and principal designer of Reed & Acanthus, in this edition of the Love Happens Design Questionnaire.
Working out of New Orleans, Katherine leads her team in creating highly livable, strikingly elegant, modern interiors. With an M.A. in The History of Decorative Arts from Cooper Hewitt/Parsons, Appraisal Studies at NYU, and Interior Design studies at Fairfield University, her diverse background in art, antiques, and design provides a keen eye for timeless interiors.
Read on and learn more about her unique approach to design, favorite projects, and more!
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
My happy place is relaxing with our family on the beach or over a home-cooked meal (we’re foodies) or having drinks, dinner, and dancing with family and friends. But ultimately, happiness is a well-lived life balancing work and play and never saying “would have, should have, could have…”
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Personally: A long marriage and three amazing, self-reliant, successful children.
Professionally: Being able to pivot and grow my business with changing times. After working at Sotheby’s New York, I started Reed & Acanthus Antiques and Interiors. I absolutely loved buying trips and purchasing at auctions, but as tastes changed in the early 2000s, I began focusing more on interior design. Twenty years later, I have expanded into home renovations and construction.
What profession does your alter ego have?
Architect – After recently renovating our C. 1900 home in New Orleans, I very much enjoyed playing with the space arrangement needed to bring a historic home into the 21st century while still maintaining the character and architectural integrity of one of the city’s most iconic homes.
Since most of the renovation took place during and just after the pandemic, when the most basic materials were in short supply, I was forced to design and have our team produce doors, windows, moldings, iron railings, exterior columns, etc., based on design elements I found around the city which was challenging and exhilarating!
And I know a lot more than I should about HVAC systems and tankless water heaters! However, the experience encouraged me to expand our portfolio of services to include whole home renovation and contracting work.
The project you will never forget.
I will never forget the kitchen, garden, and family room renovation we did for a New Canaan, CT couple in their early 70s who interviewed several interior designers who preferred NOT to work within their traditional taste and collection of antique furniture.
Having used a professional decorator in the 90s, the home was filled with dark orientals and lots of swags and jabots so they were very hesitant to incorporate unfamiliar elements like wallpaper and more contemporary touches like a linen-wrapped coffee table.
But in the end, we created a light-filled transitional space that included three abstract paintings by modernist painter Stanley Bate and proceeded to decorate the remainder of the 8,000 sq ft house.
Your favorite business tool or resource.
A 27″ Mac Desktop – I can easily switch between tabs and screens while designing or conducting Zoom meetings.
The most timeless design.
Mixing the old and new to create well-balanced interiors filled with good quality furniture and art.
The biggest design faux pas.
Matching furniture sets. I’m not sure when this matchy-matchy phase started but, it reminds me of the impersonal, sterile feel of hotel rooms. Mixing and matching furniture of different styles allows for greater creativity and individuality in designing – not just in the bedroom, but throughout the house.
Your design motto.
There is no such thing as too much wallpaper! In the past, wallpaper has gotten a bad wrap – who doesn’t remember 1960/70’s flocked velvet? But today, there are so many great wallpaper options to choose from and it adds interest to any room, especially entrances, dining rooms, and bathrooms.