When you talk about interior design on Instagram, there are few accounts bigger than @the_real_houses_of_ig. Full of inspiring yet accessible images of homes around the world, the account celebrates the world of design, from blockbuster projects to small, independent firms. The person behind the page had been a secret until now, and with over 700,000 followers and counting, it was a question on the minds of a lot of editors and fans alike. Dering Hall is excited to exclusively reveal the identity of the design pro behind the Instagram project that became a full-time career: Kate Rumson. We sat down with Kate to talk about her account, how Instagram became such a huge part of her life, and how designers can make the most of their time on social media.
Q: When did you first know you had a passion for interior design?
A: I remember being 12 years old and rearranging furniture around our family home... buying flowers, vases, changing window treatments. It's interesting because it came out of absolutely nowhere; no one in my family was particularly interested in interior design. When I first moved out in my early twenties, I took decorating my first apartment very seriously. I cringe now when I think of the design choices I made decorating my first place, but I vividly remember how particular I was in addressing every inch of that apartment.
Q: How would you describe your personal aesthetic?
A: I think that my page does a pretty good job capturing my personal style. I would say that I like a simple, clean, neutral design but with a dose of something special, something unexpected, something interesting.
A: I always take screen shots of anything that inspires me or pretty much anything that I see myself wanting to revisit again. I was simply running out of storage on my iPhone and decided to start a separate page on Instagram where I would be able to store all of the interior design images that caught my eye. I also thought the page would be a very helpful resource when working with clients. I often have a clear vision of what I'm trying to accomplish with design but a client might have a difficult time visualizing my idea. It helps knowing that I can always go to my page, find a photo that will show any specific design element and know it will be executed in a way I agree with—because I chose every photo myself. It can be something as small as the starting point of a herringbone pattern with tile, or crown/wall molding design—it always helps when you have a visual aid when explaining your ideas.
Q: Why haven't you associated your name with @the_real_houses_of_ig before? What has inspired you to reveal your identity now?
A: When I started the page two years ago, I had no idea it was going to become what it is today. I never even thought about associating my identity with it, because I didn't see the need for it. As the page was growing, many of my followers started reaching out to me and I began to develop relationships within the interior design community on Instagram. These days I'm receiving hundreds of emails every single week. The more I get to know my followers, the more I feel like this is the time to put a face to a name—so they know who they're talking to! So many followers of the page open up their homes and lives to the entire community providing so much support and inspiration, it's only fair that I do the same.
Q: How has Instagram impacted your career path?
A: I've been doing interior design for over 10 years... simultaneously with a highly demanding full-time career in finance. I'm a very creative person; I always feel the need to transform and enhance my surroundings, and my mind never stops racing with ideas and various design concepts. But at the same time I'm a very practical person—I always thought that I'm supposed to have a stable job in a corporate environment working for a big, reputable company with good health benefits and a 401k plan. Through my page, I was extremely fortunate to meet many people in different creative fields who managed to truly find that balance between stability and creative fulfillment. Their support and insight gave me the push I needed to resign from my job in finance and concentrate on design within my own business structure.
Q: How does Instagram inspire your design work?
A: In so many ways! There's so much exposure to so many things on Instagram, not only interior design-wise, but just about anything: travel, food, fashion, nature, people. I find inspiration in pretty much everything and Instagram connects me to users from all over the world: real people, sharing real experiences in their own unique way through pictures. I customize it to my interests and it opens this whole new world that I wouldn't have seen otherwise.
Q: If you had one tip for interior designers on Instagram what would it be?
A: Thirty relevant hashtags under every picture of their work! There is so much unique talent on Instagram. So many incredibly gifted designers and design enthusiasts from all over the world. Designers that no one would know about had they not posted a photo of their work with hashtag #interiordesign! Not only do hashtags help designers gain exposure but they also help the entire community looking for inspiration and ideas.
Q: Are you working on any interior design projects?
A: Yes, I'm working on four large scale projects at the moment and look forward to sharing them with my followers in the very near future!