Kate Walker grew up in Geelong with her parents and six siblings, before moving to Melbourne where she spent her University days and the first years of her career. Kate's parents have had a holiday home base in Mt Martha for many years, so they often had family gatherings on the Mornington Peninsula. Kate fell in love with the area, and made Mt Martha her home in 2008.
“I feel at home near the water, so being so close to the beautiful bay is very special. The familiarity of the area and the community aspect is incredible. I feel a part of a village where there’s always someone looking out for you or to have a chat with. And we feel 100% safe – my children walk down to Mt Martha Village on their own with no issue. I love the character, age and history of some of the special properties in Mt Martha. I have deep roots in the area with family close by and visiting all the time. Moving to Mt Martha was the best thing I have done for my family, for my business and for me,” says Kate.
Kate established KWD in 2013 when she identified a gap in the design market. "So many people I spoke to found it really difficult to pull a whole look together for their kitchen, bathrooms, laundry flooring, joinery and outdoor areas," explains Kate. "I knew I could offer them guidance across the whole spectrum of hard finishes. I also saw a unique opportunity to launch a business on the Mornington Peninsula offering complete hard finish design solutions to the local area. With the contacts I had with importers and manufacturers in Melbourne, around Australia and around the world, I could give my Mornington Peninsula clients access to best products available."
Initially working from her dining room table, Kate soon realised the potential of her business concept and decided to set up a studio on her property so she could work from home whilst looking after her two young children. However the business growth necessitated a move to larger premises, so last year Kate created a custom-made studio at Mt Martha Village. It was a real turning point for KWD and she now has a team of 15 working out of the space she created, designed by Mt Martha based Romanin Design.
Explains Kate, “The core of our business is hard finishes, where we specify, source and supply materials from tiles and timber flooring to paving and pool tiles. Our offering has now expanded to include bespoke joinery, CAD drawing, custom-made furniture and rugs, and soft furnishings. We work closely with home owners, architects, builders and developers who engage KWD to take their property to the next level.”
While KWD works on properties all around Australia, from Darwin to Hobart and from the Gold Coast to the west coast, their focus is predominantly on the Mornington Peninsula. With the majority of Kate’s staff based in Mt Martha, Mt Eliza, Mornington and Rye, her team understands the local area from the coast to the hinterland. They know the real estate market and what buyers are looking for in a permanent or holiday home, and have an innate feel for the typography of the land, and how the light and the sea air affects the projects they work on.
“There is a great deal of investment happening in both the residential and commercial markets on the Mornington Peninsula. Home owners are putting time, effort and funds into their homes and they understand that great interiors add value to their properties and that houses with excellent finishes will gain strong sale prices. There’s also a lot of investment in local business," explains Kate.
"Mt Martha Village has become a design hub, and it was always my vision to see the area become a destination for great design. Along with KWD, the Village is home to incredibly talented design professionals from landscape designers and builders to drafting and architects. It is extraordinary to be a part of a movement where the area is now filled with businesses of such a high calibre.”
“We have such a talent pool on the Mornington Peninsula, and my team is made up of hard working, dedicated professionals who have so much to offer. It is exciting and rewarding to be able to employ locals who are experts in their field and who are so loyal and supportive. It is also encouraging that we now receive job applications from designers and drafts-people based in Melbourne who are willing to travel to work in Mt Martha because of what we have created here."
"I am really proud of the team I have built, of the incredible portfolio of projects we work on, and of the community as a whole. It’s so exciting to be a part of such a dynamic growth corridor where the very best is being created in terms of home design and interiors.”
For more information about the design services on offer at KWD or to talk to the KWD team, phone 5974 1800.
Images: Brent Lukey