Kate Regan launched The Sitting Room Studio in a quaint Minnetonka location in 2003. Even then, the 500-square-foot space included a retail component — for good reason. “As a kid, I was enamored with furniture stores and made regular visits to local shops to get my design fix,” she recalls. So when the interior design firm moved to Excelsior’s Water Street, the addition of The Sitting Room Boutique was a natural one. Regan found her niche as a designer and merchant in the iconic Lake Minnetonka town, and her business has grown to a team of 11 employees.
Her affinity for classic design drives her work. “It is the foundation of our brand and is reflected in all our projects,” she explains. As the mother of twin teenage girls (and a beloved Havanese named Georgie), she understands the need for a home to be as functional as it is beautiful. To that end, her favorites are equal parts elegant and easy living.
The Sitting Room Studio recently worked on the interior design and furnishings for Hotel Excelsior, the new boutique inn on Water Street. Even though this was a commercial/hospitality project, Regan’s goal was to create the comfort of a luxurious residence with upscale finishes and textiles. “We approached the four suites as individual projects, each with its own design aesthetic,” she says. “This is a unique opportunity for a larger audience to fully experience our work.”
An avid reader, she loves to include coffee table books in her own home as well as her clients’ homes. “Coffee table books are such a fun and insightful way to personalize a space,” she notes. The Sitting Room Boutique stocks an array of interesting titles, including the Assouline travel series.
Malta. She spent a semester abroad on this Mediterranean island and later returned with her husband. She revels in the natural beauty, color and architecture found in every direction: “Malta is well known for its bold color palette, from fishing boats to the classic Maltese balconies and decorative residence doorways.”
“We have a navy blue hutch that has lived in our kitchen for the past 12 years,” she says. “My husband and I purchased it as an anniversary gift years ago — the year of wood, maybe? — and it has remained a constant in our home.” This piece has stood the test of time because of its versatility: “It is currently filled with all-white accessories and dishes, but it has been a place to display family photos, kids’ artwork, holiday decor — you name it!”
Kit Kemp, the founder and creative director of Firmdale Hotels, who also designs textiles, housewares and fragrances. “I love her vibrant, unique style and her approach to design,” she notes. “Her playful use of pattern and detail has a storytelling effect. You can step into any of her designs, and it radiates Kit Kemp.”
London-based Christopher Farr Cloth, which collaborates with renowned artists, artisans and designers to create its distinctly charming collections. “We recently had a fabric showing of their latest collection, and it really resonated with our entire team,” Regan explains, highlighting its colorful, classic palette, interesting patterns and innovative weave structures.
Her family has a strong connection to the Minnetonka lakeside community of Cottagewood. “From the classic Cottagewood store, which has always held a special place in our hearts and where my twin girls will work their first jobs together this year, to the Minnetonka Yacht Club, where our family has spent countless hours honing a hobby we can participate in together, this place is such a big part of our life,” she shares.