An Interview with Interior Design Director Katie Vance

An Interview with Interior Design Director Katie Vance


If you live in Nashville, or have ever made a list of places to visit here, it is my pleasure to introduce you to the person responsible for all your favorite spaces. That Japanese restaurant with the secret velvet room, those open and airy coffee bars that are begging to be put on Instagram? Yeah, she did all those. Oh, and P.S. she also co-created and organizes the biggest artisan market in Nashville. NBD. Meet today’s Bitch, Katie Vance!


What is your job title and where do you work?

Partner and Interior Design Director at Powell Architecture + Building Studio. I’m also the Porter Flea Co-Creator & Organizer.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Do not let anyone steal your joy. This is from my Mom - basically you can choose to let others and situations affect you.  

Can you name the biggest lesson you’ve learned?

You cannot please everyone. You can work and plan and work some more and someone will always have a criticism. I work hard for my clients and vendors and that is what is important to me.


What is your greatest success, or something you’re most proud of related to what you do?

I am very proud to be a Partner in an architecture and construction firm. This business is extremely male driven and I am very proud to be a female voice in the industry. I certainly want to continue to open doors for other women in this industry.

How do you decompress at the end of the work day?

Usually a little Rosé and a documentary. Also I like to hang out with my husband and our 90 pound fur baby - Dottie.  


What is one thing everyone gets wrong about what you do?

I am not a decorator - repeat not a decorator. Interior Designers deal not only with furnishing and decor, but also with the building plans and location, the social context of the project, codes and regulatory requirements, and environmental sustainability. Interior Designers have a degree in Interior Design or Interior Architecture and must pass the NCIDQ to receive their license. Interiors Designers can work directly with architects, obtain building permits, supervise construction or installation, and give advice on matters including electricity, plumbing, structural changes, ADA requirements, etc. Decorators focus on furniture, paint, fabric and accessories and do not need to be formally trained.

What does self care look like in your life?

Target and a coffee is a happy place for me. Also I go monthly to my favorite organic nail salon - Poppy & Monroe. I work out at Music City Kettlebell - which I love.

How do you feel about social media?

Social media is definitely a double-edged sword for me. I love the friends I have met via Instagram and how its an excellent tool to market Porter Flea and Powell. But you can definitely go down a rabbit hole of comparison and hurt. I think limiting yourself daily and even taking weekly or monthly breaks is the best way to keep your sanity. Also hiring a Social Media Director for Porter Flea has been extremely important to the business and giving me a break as well.


Are there any women who helped pave the way for your success?

Hands down my mom. My mom was Super Woman. She tragically and suddenly passed away at the end of 2016 and is so missed. But I learned everything from her. She worked tirelessly at a her job that she was a superstar at. She also served on the board for the Middle Tennessee Alzheimer’s Association and over her life helped to raise over a million dollars for Alzheimer’s research - she also helped me with Porter Flea and also would keep up with everything in mine and my brother’s life. So all that to say she showed me how to multitask and work hard all the while enjoying life and treating others with kindness and thoughtfulness.


Lastly, and most important, what is your favorite podcast and snack?

Tough one! Podcast is definitely Terrible, Thanks for Asking and a mix of true crime ones. A snack would have to be chips and queso. Can’t wait to dive in to your amazing podcast though!

P.S. Meet my last Bitch, Emma Bellamy!

P.P.S. See a full list of all my Bitches here!

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