When we first stumbled on Kathy Kuo Home — an online furniture and home decor boutique — our editors immediately started shopping. In our office, it’s a rarity to all obsess over the same site, as each editor has a unique style. (Some of us love bold colors and eclectic design, while others prefer neutrals and traditional construction.) We were pleasantly surprised to find that there were endless options for each of our aesthetics.

Our team is also fascinated with Kathy’s impressive background — she graduated from Rhode Island School of Design, traveled the world, worked in TV, and landed a few noteworthy clients such as  Robert Redford and Halle Berry. As for her eponymous shop? It’s so well-curated, it feels almost as though a stylish friend is offering up personal recommendations. (And with the addition of KKH’s new Design Bar, that can be your reality!)

Today, we’re chatting with Kathy to learn more about her journey, PLUS spill the details on an exciting $1,500 giveaway to Kathy Kuo Home, exclusively for our readers:

Hi Kathy! Tell us how you got your start in interior design.
Well, I went to school at RISD and earned a degree in industrial design. I actually started out as a furniture and product designer, and I did that for years for big box as well as luxury brands. I was then fortunate enough to fall into the interior design world by doing custom furniture for a client. This client also happened to be a large hotelier, and I started working on some of their luxury suites and learned quickly on the job! Starting Kathy Kuo Home then felt like the perfect fit with my knowledge and background in furniture design.

What do you love most about design?
I know this sounds so cheesy, but putting a smile on my clients’ face is the ultimate reward. Whether it’s a late night text that’s like, “I’m obsessed with my bedroom,” or “I can’t stop looking at my kitchen…” It’s so amazing to see the design transformation but also the happiness and lifestyle transformation that it brings to my clients. When we do reveals and we’re both holding hands jumping up and down, it’s the BEST FEELING EVER. Bar none.

You’ve crafted homes for some notable clients, but we’re curious: what does home mean to you?
Your home should be an expression of your design aesthetic, and it should be something that you LOVE coming home to. We live in NYC where so many people live these frenetic lives and use their apartments as temporary crash pads between work, after work social activities, and leaving for the weekends that people don’t spend the time they should creating a home that they love so much they don’t want to leave. Home should be your sanctuary you can’t wait to get back to at the end of a busy day. Home should be nirvana.

Your site has so many gems! How do you decide what makes the cut?
It has to pass the 2-second rule. If I don’t love a product within 2 seconds of seeing it, chances are you won’t either. And then, of course, it has to be well-constructed and comfortable. We curate our site so carefully so that we don’t have many basics, but if we do, they’re not the “blah” basics you’ll find at big box retailers. I also have an amazing creative team that’s been with me since the inception of KKH years ago that literally knows exactly what I like before I even see it. Sometimes they’re even more critical than I am in terms of whether or not we’ll carry it!

In addition to having the best inventory, you’re also launching a Design Bar. What is that exactly?
The funny thing is that this “new” initiative isn’t even new. If you read our blog, you’ll discover that we’ve done several design projects since the inception of KKH. We get contacted all the time with design requests, and we often curate, select fabric, and do our paint swatches round table style in an informal relaxed way in the office—fabrics and plans are piled high, and we all stay late while we order pizza and have wine. I find this to be the best way to design. Our Design Bar is a way to bring this intimate experience and this professional service to everyone who shops the site…and it’s all online. When you use Design Bar, you’ll work with our team of interior designers and specialists who’ll hold your hand through renovations, product selection, and convincing your spouse that you MUST HAVE that peacock blue mohair sofa.

What makes Design Bar different from all of the other e-design services out there?
I think it’s the totality of the services and our KKH design acumen that really sets us apart. We work closely with each of our clients to ensure every piece you select is something you love and something that fits to scale in your home. We found that oftentimes you’re just given a mood board and a shopping list, and for many people it’s then like…well, what now? With Design Bar, we help you from initial design schematics to shipping to the day of installation. We’re in contact via phone or email whenever you need, and we’ll work with you through revisions until the design is perfect for you, your family, and the way you live.

You currently have a dream giveaway going on ($1,500 to KKH!). How can our readers enter?
You can sign up to win on our site here! We have a bunch of beautiful new product up on the site, so we’re wishing the best of luck to everyone!