Resource Magazine is taking a peek inside the interiors of Brooklyn-based prop stylist Katherine Hammond. Katherine, one of The Prop Stylist’s newest members, with her usual southern hospitality, invited us to take a closer look at her work. Born and raised in the South, Katherine grew up in a family of strong, resourceful women. She was obsessed at an early age with making things. Guided by her grandmother, who struggled through the Great Depression, she was taught how to make something out of nothing—a tablecloth becomes a napkin, a napkin becomes a handkerchief, a handkerchief becomes a rag.
Katherine’s break into styling began as an assistant to Karen Sherwood, also a member of The Prop Stylist. “Karen is an old-school stylist,” says Hammond. “She always wears her scissors like jewels around her neck, a double-stick tape bangle, and of course, never takes a bathroom break.” Assisting, Katherine learned the ins-and-outs of photo shoots as well as many tricks-of-the-trade. Katherine’s hard work and perseverance quickly paid off as she began to get clients of her own.
Fifteen years later, Katherine is recognized for her well-honed ability to listen and understand her clients. She is able to collaborate with photographers to create a framework including all of the necessary constraints, such as budget, from which they can then freely expand upon creatively. She creates inspiration booklets to illustrate her creative concepts or to simply nail the creative vision from the art director/client. This is an excellent way to explore new ideas or combinations, as well as assure that everyone is on the same page.
With a degree in Marketing and studies in Fine Art, Katherine’s styling approach blends her knowledge of branding, art and interior design to avoid the formulaic. Instead, she approaches each project with a fresh perspective, crossing lines with a diverse sensibility. Always paying close attention to the message that is being translated to the ultimate viewer. “Essentially, what I do is combine seemingly different elements, images or objects, and try to find a new way for them to be together. I want it to be unexpected. I want to create something with everyday things but somehow show them differently.”
Katherine’s clients include photographers, interior designers, architects, private clients and ad agencies. Her projects range from two-dimensional to three-dimensional spaces, and from the real to the conceptual. Her work includes advertising, portraits, book covers, trade show booths and events. More permanent installations include showrooms or residential interiors. Katherine’s work appears under the featured stylist list at The Prop Stylist. Whether building a provocative “voyeuristic” tradeshow booth, which becomes a signature Vera Wang, juxta-positioning uber contemporary furnishings within the historical context of a Georgian Revival, or creating a humorous dialog for a new Lucky Brand showroom, Katherine never ceases to surprise. She will take an all too familiar dark paneled mantel at a country estate and add George Washington andirons, a floral looped rug and fill the cabinet with vintage toys to create a bit of humor, a bit of interest. She gives you a reason to look a little more closely. When asked what design trend she loves at the moment, Katherine says, ”Nordic pastels with neon for walls, Tifenn Python’s paintings, anything BDDW, Mexican Catrinas (can’t keep my hands off them) and Francesca Woodman’s wonderfully haunting photographs.” “I find my inspiration anywhere and everywhere. I have been known to build a whole room around a particular vase or rug.” Her dream interiors include Hutton Wilkinson’s house in Beverly Hills, Mercer’s Fonthill in Doylestown, PA, and Betty Blake’s Salon in Dallas, just to name a few. Her artistry has helped create strong visual brands for Champion, L’Oreal, Ivory, Wonderbra, Hanes and Donna Karen, and many more. Her styling and interior design work has been published in Interior Design Magazine, New York Magazine, Apartment Therapy and The Sweeten. “I love styling because it’s ‘play’ for me,” says Hammond. “I’m amazed to this day that I can get paid to do it. I can’t believe that tomorrow I go on a site visit for a new project in Garrison, NY, and it is a contemporary tree house. Yes, I am looking for the perfect furnishings for a tree house! How fun is that?”