Business

Designing Woman

Exploring each client’s personal aesthetic is just the beginning for Kathy Anderson.

Kathy Anderson (Photo by Al Torres Photography)

When you meet Kathy Anderson, the owner of Eklektik Interiors, the first thing you notice is how charismatic she is. She immediately makes you feel at ease with her openness and witty banter, and there isn’t a curse word she hasn’t used to pepper a conversation if it helps emphasize her point. It’s easy to see why her clients love her.

But outside of owning one of Houston’s most successful interior design firms, she is also a proud parent to three children, one of whom is a trans man who lives in Oregon. It’s no surprise, then, that a person who spends her time creating unique, beautiful spaces uses that same approach in her personal life.

Anderson says she grew up on a dirt farm road in East Texas “with not a pot to pee in.” Her family never had money, so she spent her time helping around the farm and milking cows, something that actually helped her segue into being a successful business owner. “It didn’t matter what was going on—you worked. I can even remember milking cows during a hurricane,” she says, laughing.

That strong work ethic helped propel Anderson to the next chapter of her life at Brigham Young University, where she first discovered interior design. Originally intending to study drama, Anderson fell into interior design by accident. After taking one design class just to fulfill a humanities credit, she found her true passion. She would go on to get a degree in interior design and eventually move to Houston, where she settled down and started a family. She quickly realized that Houston was also the perfect place to open an interior-design firm.

In 1997, Anderson opened Eklektik Interiors—spelled with a “K,” as in “Kathy”—in the Champions area of North Houston. To her, “eclectic” means “the best of various styles.” “I find most people are eclectic,” she notes, before taking a beat and correcting herself. “Well, at least the interesting ones are,” she says with a knowing wink. 

Since she opened her firm, Eklektik has grown exponentially—so much so that she eventually moved to her current Katy Freeway location around 15 years ago. She attributes the growth to her client-first approach, and also her ability “to outwork anyone.”

“Other designers have ‘a look,’ and they are beautiful, and I think people gravitate toward them because they like that look. We don’t have a look. I hope to hell I never have a look. We want the client’s look. We take the time to find out what their design aesthetic is, even when they don’t know what it is. We are very conscious of their budget, and we are very transparent about how we do business. I am very client-driven, because that’s who I work for.”

Eklektik’s customer reviews praise both Anderson and her staff for the excellent work they do, and for their ability to work with any budget. She suggests that someone who just purchased a home or is remodeling should find a good designer to collaborate with. “Designers at Eklektik can help you as little or as much as you want. People always say, ‘I would love to have a designer, but I can’t afford one.’ But if you don’t have a lot of money, you can’t afford not to have one because you can’t afford to make a mistake.”

Even though Anderson devotes so much time to her business, she has always managed to put her family first. Her youngest son, Jude, is a proud trans man, and Kathy is equally proud of him. “When he decided to transition, he wrote me a letter that he read to me. In the letter he said, ‘For the first time, I am reconnecting to who I was as a child.’ And when he said that, I just broke down,” Anderson says after pausing to keep from crying.

“Everything then made sense. When Jude was little, he never played with dolls. He played sports with my other son. He didn’t want to wear a shirt outside, and I couldn’t get him to wear a dress. The only time I could get him in a dress was for church. I would say, ‘You have to wear a dress for Jesus.’ And every Sunday he would cry. So when Jude began to transition, it wasn’t a surprise to me.”

Today, Jude is enjoying life in Oregon with his partner, and Anderson couldn’t be prouder. “You’re as happy as your most unhappy child, and I am very happy.”

As she looks to the future, Anderson doesn’t see herself slowing down. She is even thinking about running for public office as a State representative. She loves being an interior designer, but also sees the benefit in being a voice for the underrepresented. “Texas is so f’d up right now. Here the government is telling parents that they can’t help their child be who they are. I don’t think there is a parent worth their salt who, if their child said, ‘OK, I want to be a boy’ or ‘I want to be a girl,’ wouldn’t just say, ‘OK, yeah, let’s make that transition.’ You know your kids. You know who they are when they are tiny, and who they will grow up to be.”

“Let people be people, and just love each other and accept each other. And guess what? We might learn something about each other during the process.”
– Kathy Anderson

And don’t get her started on all of the state bans on drag performances. “If you don’t want to go to a drag show, then by God, don’t go. But if you ever did go, that’s the most fun you will probably ever have. I just think there are so many things that need to be changed. Bottom line: Why does this hurt any of you people? Why does any of this affect you personally? Who made you [the judge] and jury? Nobody. It’s not your place to tell a parent what they can and cannot do with their child. That parent will reap the rewards, or face the consequences, with their own child.”

Even though Anderson has worked hard and has seen so much success in both her personal and professional life, she still knows there is more she can do to help. She reminds people that no matter how busy she is, she will always make time for those around her and will always support the LGBTQ community. “At this point in my life, it isn’t about the money. It’s about the joy in sharing with other people. I may not be wealthy in the traditional sense, but I am wealthy in other ways. For me, anyone that has the courage to live authentically deserves praise. Let people be people, and just love each other and accept each other. And guess what? We might learn something about each other during the process.”

For more info, visit eklektikinteriors.com

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David Brasher

David Brasher received his Masters degree in English from the University of Louisiana. He has contributed to national publications such as Instinct Magazine and Buzzfeed as well as local publications in Nashville. He moved to Houston in 2022 and spends his free time watching CNN and listening to true crime podcasts.
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