On a recent trip to Texas, Katie DeStefano brought home the unexpected: an old taxidermic pheasant. “When I go to another city, I love picking through flea markets,” enthuses the Baltimore designer, who says she might combine the vintage specimen with a 17th-century tapestry, an English upholstered piece, and an Oushak rug for a timeless look.
“I’m into green design,” says DeStefano, who contends that 90 percent of the furnishings consumers are looking for is “out in the world”—and she intends to find them. “I like to hunt down old pieces and learn their history,” she says. “Clients love having a story to tell.”
The Annapolis native first honed her skills at the University of Alabama, where she studied interior design with a minor in art history. “I’m a traditionalist at heart,” she says. Following stints with Dream House Studios, Mona Hajj, and the late Amanda Austin, she launched her eponymous design practice and Curiosity, an eclectic home-furnishings boutique in Baltimore’s Federal Hill, at the age of 25. Seven years later, she runs her shop—now in tony Harbor East—and has completed homes for clients ranging from a 25-year-old bachelor to a retired couple in their 70s.
DeStefano starts each project by divining a homeowner’s innate style. “There’s always room to grow,” she says. “I want clients to contribute when they’re traveling or when they have a beautiful epiphany. It’s a very organic process.”
Interior Design: Katie DeStefano, Katie DeStefano Design, Baltimore, Maryland.