RA at Home: Kate Hamilton Gray

Posted by: Rebecca Atwood

I met Kate, of Hamilton Gray Studio, in college when we both attended Rhode Island School of Design. She grew up in a small coastal New England town, just like me, but near Newport, RI. She studied furniture design, and I still remember this beautiful wooden stool she hand-carved. I was in awe that she could create that—especially after my own failed attempts at woodworking freshman year, where I ended up with some odd bean-shaped pieces of wood. I can’t remember what the project was that prompted my “beans”, but I remember really struggling with them.

Kate went on to work as an interior designer, and we reconnected when we were both living in New York. Before she started her own business she worked for a boutique firm here in NYC. She even let me photograph one of our early collections in an apartment that she worked on. I had never been in a space like that before. Everything was so well designed, and not just the aesthetics and the details, which were plentiful—she had even hand screen printed some tile for the kitchen backsplash—but how you flowed through the space. Everything felt intuitively where it should be in the kitchen. What could have been an odd extra space was transformed into a perfect guest bed area.

When I decided to open our showroom, I worked with Kate to create the space. I showed her a little overhead drawing (not to scale) of how I thought we could use the space. She laughed a little, and I knew I needed her help. Our space would not be even half of what it is without her. While I love color, details, and materials, I’ll admit I can still be confounded on how to make the most of a space—and frankly had no idea what I was in for when it came to construction.

When Kate moved upstairs, I’ll admit I was pretty thrilled. With a small baby it’s pretty hard to get out of the house in the evenings—so having one of your best friends upstairs makes up immensely for the fact that we don’t have a second bedroom. I also loved seeing how she transformed the space and figured out how to use what could be an odd layout. The apartment is quirky, with sloping floors and uneven steps, but now it is charming.

The kitchen went through the biggest transformation. The cabinets were old and while they were a little charming, they weren’t very functional and made the small space feel smaller. They were torn out and a pre-fabricated cabinet base was put in. The counter was something saved from an old project. Instead of bulky upper cabinets, Kate opted for a long plywood shelf that feels airy. Since she didn’t need as much storage and loves ceramics, it offered a nice way to display her pieces. The new layout also draws your eye up—to that tin ceiling detail.  She chose our recently debuted Dotted Leaves wallpaper. I love that it’s neutral and coordinates with the other colors in the kitchen but also mimics the shapes of her ever-growing plant collection. The result is a space that feels fresh and airy. 

Next to the kitchen, the apartment has what could feel like an L-shaped hallway, but she’s divided it into a few spaces that make it feel bigger and much more useful. She built a simple plywood seat along the wall to create a little dining area. Paired with a white table and vintage chair, it’s perfect for her morning coffee but can also accommodate guests. Painted works on paper are framed on the wall by our mutual friend Charlotte Hallberg. It really feels like an indoor garden here. 

Throughout the apartment are also watercolors (as well as a charcoal drawing over the sofa) by Kate—most are of the landscape on a small island off the coast of Maine where she spends time each summer. All around the apartment you’ll see small personal touches that inspire. One of my favorite things is Kate’s collection of heart-shaped rocks. 

The hallway houses a desk where Kate works when she’s not out at client meetings or at The Wing. While her dining area feels like an indoor garden, her small living room is all about earthy neutrals. Her sofa is upholstered in our Grass fabric in Natural/Black, which brings in just a bit of pattern. Our Striped Garden pillow in taupe is mixed in with textured neutrals and soft sage green. A basket of yarn is always nearby as Kate is an excellent knitter.

In her bedroom, she’s created a cozy vibe for a space that feels like the perfect gray day. She used our Ocean wallpaper in Fog Gray, and it creates quiet but impactful interest. It completely transforms the space, giving it a mood. On the bed relaxed linen is mixed with cotton percale—our Crescent Moon pillowcases—and a printed pillow by Eskayel. For a bit of extra storage, Kate hung shaker peg racks and painted them a soft gray as she had the trim of the room too. It creates a nice moment to display personal pieces or hang clothes from the day before bed.

For more interiors inspiration, but sure to follow her on Instagram.


  • I have really enjoyed your work

    Robert J Conlin on

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