Katie Winnington of C&E Furniture discusses her design inspirations, family life, the future of beach style and more
Interview by Jonathan Westman / Portrait by Meghan Shupe
In many ways, the steady ascension of C&E Furniture into a sophisticated, boutique home-enhancement company is a direct reflection of principal designer/buyer Katie Winnington herself. A member of the American Society of Interior Designers with more than 10 years’ experience, Winnington has successfully and consistently used her extensive training and creative vision to propel the third-generation family-owned business into a multi-award-winning furnishings showroom and state-of-the-art design center.
C&E Furniture has evolved from a furnishings showroom to now include a full-service interior-design component. How did this come about, and what services do you offer?
It really was a natural evolution that we should start offering full home-design services. So many of our projects are new construction, and as our projects became larger and more involved, it just made sense that we should be there with our clients from the very beginning. In the last four years, we have expanded to include a full-service design division to our company.
How would you describe your style?
I love mixing organic and modern elements while combining textures and adding small nods to the coast.
Do you have any rules?
I like to design by the rule of balance. Symmetry is so important, and it’s really how a room reaches its maximum potential. I like to apply it to every aspect of what I do, whether it’s scale, color or texture, I think having a balance is really what makes a great design.
How do you combine beauty and function?
The best part of being an interior designer is finding that perfect balance between the two. My job is about finding out how people live and function in a space. The part I love is how I can make it beautiful, too. It can happen in so many different ways, but when it just clicks, and the pieces fall in place, that is definitely the best part!
What inspires you today?
I’m a sponge; I soak up ideas and inspiration from so many different places. There are so many talented interior designers out there, who are doing some really amazing work, to the people I work with and my family and being able to live where we do. I don’t ever feel like I have a shortage of inspiring ideas.
Were you artistic as a child?
I was. Pablo Picasso has a famous quote that “Every child is an artist. The problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” I think about that a lot, and I think about how lucky I am to be able to spend my days working in a profession that allows me to be creative every day.
Tell us how your family, including your son, play a role in C&E Furniture.
Having my family, especially my son in my life, a new baby on the horizon, and being able to add that layer to everything I do is so incredible. It makes everything worth it. When I’m at work, I’m totally focused on what I’m doing. When I get home in the evenings, I turn my phone off, and I stop checking emails, so I can be totally devoted to my family. I believe having the separation between work and family is incredibly important and helps me stay focused on what’s in front of me.
What projects are you working on at the moment?
I’m really lucky to be working on some really amazing projects right now. There are some new construction projects that are really close to being completed, that I’ve been involved with for almost a year, all the way to some accessory and staging projects. What I love is that they are all so different, and the mix of having them all at the same time makes for some really creative designs.
What is your favorite room of the house to design and why?
The kitchen is my favorite room. It’s where everyone comes together; it’s where you entertain; it’s where you make meals for your family; it’s where life happens. A lot of functionality goes into the design of a kitchen; being able to add unique design elements on top of that definitely makes it my favorite room in a home.
If you had to choose 3 words to describe your ideal client, what would they be?
Trusting. Excited. Open.
Do you have any morning routines or rituals that help start your day?
Having a 2-year-old means I’m game for anything in the morning, but it usually involves making breakfast and a couple episodes of Paw Patrol.
Where do you go to relax with your family during the summer months? Where do you escape to in the winter?
We’re beach people. Any opportunity we have to spend a couple hours there, we’ll take.
What’s the future hold for styles at the beach?
I think the future of beach style is really open. I am definitely seeing a transition into more monochromatic spaces, whereas in the past they utilized color; now it’s more textures. But I do I think anything is on the table, which I love!