Step into Kristi Patterson’s Wayzata shop, Grace Hill, and soak in the crisp colors, bright patterns and fun accessories. The vibe here is fresh, welcoming and casually gracious — a reflection of her style and her interior design work.
It’s no surprise that her shop and work communicate so clearly. Patterson began her career in the ad business, where she honed her skills in branding and marketing. After 15 years, she refocused on her own creative abilities, channeling them into decor — first in her own home and eventually in others’ as well.
“People started asking me to help them when they were working with builders,”she explains. “And builders liked that I had that business background and could put together a process for all the selections that go into a home.” All of this inspired Grace Hill, which she and Store Manager/Buying Director Amy McKee opened 11 years ago. The design studio shares the Wayzata storefront, and the two enterprises have a synergistic relationship.
“When we’re presenting fabrics and finishes to clients, we also pull in a ginger jar or a rattan box from the store,” says Patterson. “That way they can visualize the room down to the last detail. They’re not just making decisions about the furniture, but about how they want the whole room to feel.” Her favorite things reflect her love of the gracious, welcoming home.
She deems her style “updated traditional with a Southern influence.” She explains: “In the South, they love to entertain and really want their homes to be functional for that. That’s an influence that affects my work a lot.” She loves to work with a mix of colors and patterns that creates a personal connection for homeowners and also welcomes visitors. “Clients want a home that brings them joy and tells their story,” she adds, “not what they’ve already seen on Pinterest or Instagram.” Layering in accessories, artwork, family photos, wall coverings and window treatments makes a home feel comfortable and inviting.
Charleston, South Carolina. In keeping with her love for Southern hospitality, she relishes the historic homes, colorful exteriors and beautiful courtyards — not to mention the fantastic shopping and dining. A couple of her favorite haunts: Charleston Place hotel and Anson Restaurant.
Patterson considers blue and white a neutral palette: It’s timeless, plays well with others and doesn’t lock you into a specific accent color. She specializes in crisp, bright colors: pink, orange, red, yellow and green. “Rooms with color are more approachable; it just welcomes you in,” she shares. White is also an important player in her designs and adds a sense of airiness and energy.
Space to Design
The living room, where everyone gathers for multiple functions. It requires a lot of ingenuity, including a great floor plan with flow and flexibility, as well as ultra comfortable family-friendly furniture and fabrics. The room’s window treatments, rugs, pillows, ottomans and benches also draw on her talent for selecting striking patterns and textiles. Then comes lighting: “I layer in overhead lights, sconces and lamps to create a cozy ambiance,” she notes.
This casual dining area, looking out at the nearby lake, was originally meant for family meals. Then it became a work-from-home zone. The client wanted a sunny, inspiring work area with a pleasing Zoom backdrop. Patterson delivered with this personality-packed space. The table, with its distressed finish, has a grounding effect. Upholstered chairs — covered in indoor/outdoor fabric and trimmed with a bold watermelon color — provide comfortable seating. No window treatments block the view, but she chose a grasscloth patterned with flowering branches to create interest (not to mention a delightful Zoom background).
Trays. “I use them in every single room,” she says. On the coffee table, she uses a tray to make a collection out of a stack of books, a plant and some candlesticks. On the island, to contain clutter. On a nightstand, to corral the remote, phone and eyeglasses. And, of course, trays are perfect for entertaining and serving.
Speaking of trays, there’s another fun flourish Patterson is loving lately: scallops. At her shop, she stocks trays and charcuterie boards embellished with scalloped edges in various sizes, colors and finishes. These entertaining accessories easily dress up a kitchen island.
Mark D. Sikes for his all-American flair and Meg Braff for her elegant yet approach aesthetic. “They both design such livable, traditional spaces that look comfortable, inviting and layered,” Patterson says. “A lot of their spaces are designed around entertaining, which I focus on when I’m designing for families. Hosting people in your home and making memories is a wonderful gift to your family and friends.”