Haute Design Expert Lester Katz Reveals Design Inspirations

Lester Katz

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LK Design is an Omaha-based interior design firm celebrated for their residential and hospitality projects that feature unparalleled contemporary aesthetics and cutting-edge design concepts.

Photo Credit: Philip Daubman Photography 

Founder and Principal designer of LK Design, Lester Katz, recently spoke to Haute Design about his design philosophy and inspirations.


Haute Design: Tell us about your path from your first interior design project until today, including launching Willow & Albert Home?

Lester Katz: I opened my current interior design office, LK Design, in Omaha, Nebraska in April of 2010 when my husband became the executive director of the Joslyn Art Museum here. The community in Omaha has been very welcoming and I have been able to build a very successful interior design business. My style satisfied a desire for more up to date, contemporary design that seemed to be lacking in Omaha.

About two years ago, I launched Willow & Albert Home, an upscale online furniture store based on years of research. Our specialty is modern and contemporary furniture, lighting, rugs and accessories. We provide customers with access to high-end modern furniture that is made to order from furniture makers such as Laskasas. Customers can review multiple finishes on each piece of furniture so that they can select the best options for their homes. We provide full service including white glove delivery to residential customers.

HD: What drives your design decisions? What are some of your biggest inspirations?

LK: I have a keen ability to listen to my clients, allowing me to fully perceive their taste, style and desires. I know that if a client chooses my firm for their design project, they like my overall aesthetic approach to design. My charge is to create a unique, livable and beautiful environment that expresses my customers’ soul.

My inspirations are vast. Nature is, of course, the highest form of inspiration. From green moss on a northern hillside to the multi-color explosion of fall in the northern mountains, nature creates the most profane guidance for design as well as how to live a good life. Architecture gives us a way to live within the natural world and great architecture has always been a very important source of inspiration for me. Alhambra in Granada, Spain, the Pantheon in Rome, Falling Waters by Frank Lloyd Wright, and Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois are a few examples of architecture that have affected me greatly. Art, furniture and objects are so influential in my work as well. Some examples include Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg’s De Stijl movement, Bauhaus designers Marcel Breuer and Walter Gropius, William Morris’s textile designs, Christopher Dresser’s industrial design, and many others. The designers and their objects make me think about what design is and how to use design to do the most good in the world.

Photo Credit: Philip Daubman Photography

HD: How do you know when interior design is "good?"

LK: Good design needs to reflect a sense of balance, rhythm and cadence. This requires use of symmetry/asymmetry, repetition of shapes, tones, textures and/or colors and a balance between that repetition and areas of calm. One’s eyes should be able to move through a space easily while finding areas of interest and areas of rest. The design should represent how the space functions, whether it is a kitchen, living room or any other room in a home or business. When I see a space that uses these principles, I find it easy to be in or look at; I understand how I am supposed to use the space. In other words, feel the intention of the designer and the client.

Photo Credit: Philip Daubman Photography

HD: What's the strangest request you've gotten for a job?

LK: Every client has unique requests that we accommodate. I have been asked to put a pair of swings in a living room, design a moat/canal around part of a house, have a special ceiling treatment in almost every room of a home while other rooms receive special wall treatments; but mostly, I have been asked to create beautiful spaces that the clients love, fit their taste, function well, and in which everybody feels comfortable.

HD: Do you have a favorite project, or maybe a favorite story related to one of your projects?

LK: One of my favorite projects was working with an existing customer on a house that they purchased at my suggestion, as I felt it fit the two of them perfectly. Unfortunately, the husband was dying from terminal cancer, so I had to make sure that they could get in the house to enjoy it for a while before he passed away. I worked hard to get the design done and implemented quickly, all the while not compromising on the design. I became very close to both the husband and wife during the process and was able to make special accommodations for them to make sure they were perfectly settled into their new, beautiful home.

Photo Credit: Philip Daubman Photography

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