5 Questions with Kathy Anderson, Interior Designer for Celebrities

NASHVILLE, TN — With A-list clients such as Ashley Judd, Alan Jackson, Steve Winwood, Blake Shelton, Kix Brooks, ABC hit series “Nashville” and more, it’s not a surprise that interior design expert Kathy Anderson is often referred to as the “celebrity designer to the stars. Ms. Anderson is the owner and principal designer of Anderson Design Studio, located in the heart of downtown Nashville, with an unforgettable view of Nissan Stadium and the Cumberland River. Her prolific design work’s been spotlighted in PEOPLE magazine, Cambria Style and Nashville Lifestyle, to name a few. Kathy and her team are known for their attention to detail and creating contemporary yet timeless spaces. Of course, not everyone has the opportunity to enter the private homes of celebrity superstars to see Ms. Anderson’s work. But you can see her fabulous design work by visiting some of her notable business clients such as the Sinema Restaurant, The Presidential Suites for the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, the Black Rabbit Restaurant, or the new Nashville Underground 4-story restaurant/bar and others.

Ms. Anderson opened her design studio in 1988, after working in the design field for several major architectural firms. A native of Glasgow, Kentucky, Kathy attended O’More College in the Franklin, TN area but transferring to UCLA for her remaining last two years. “It was a bit of a culture shock for me, but in a really great way. My time spent in Los Angeles was beneficial to my career for where it is today,” recalls Kathy, who also has a new line of home accessories and furnishings called The Kathy Anderson Collection. The items are beautiful and affordable for anyone who loves and appreciates contemporary style pieces to make their home a showcase for modern living.

The Tribune did a recent chat with Kathy to ask her Five Questions about her hip n’cool design studio, along with some behind-the-scenes info about one of her famous clients’ new business ventures,

TRIBUNE: You are often referred to as the ‘go-to interior designer’ for celebrities, especially celebrities here in Nashville. Who was your first big celebrity client? K. ANDERSON: That’s a good question. Really the first one, I wouldn’t necessarily say they’re a celebrity, but it was Tony Brown. At the time, he was the president of MCA Records.  He produced Reba, (McIntyre) and Vince Gill, and lots of big stars. He was kind of the first to hire me, and then it kind of took off from there. I think I’ve done like seventeen celebrity homes or so. But it really started organically, just word of mouth – the music business is very much word of mouth. I’ve always done my business by doing a good job and getting referrals, rather than just always looking for new contacts.

TRIBUNE: For Blake Shelton’s Oklahoma bar/restaurant project, was it just a vacant building or what? K. ANDERSON: Yes, it was a vacant, long, skinny building, about 24 feet wide, almost 100 feet long, with exposed wood trusses, and an old plywood floor that was in bad shape. Being Blake Shelton, we wanted to keep it rustic and a bit rugged. Blake shot a recent video there, the one where the song says. ‘She put the ‘x in sex’ and the ‘hang in hangover’ (She’s Got a Way with Words). I thought it would be fun to keep a lot of what people see in the video, which is kind of a beat-up looking building. We then put in rough-wood floors, curated a collection of artwork that really tells the story of Blake, and then added a fun bar.  Blake really wanted to open this bar up in his hometown in Tishomingo, OK. It’s called ‘Ole Red.’ It’s been an incredible success. It has great food and a cool bar right there in the square on Main Street. It was a fun project to work on.

TRIBUNE: I understand that you have your own line of home furnishings. How did that come about? K. ANDERSON: Yes, I’m excited about it. I’ve had my business now for thirty years, and I’ve always wanted to create my own line of products. So, I went to a company called Dead Horse Branding, explained to them my ideas for a line of products, and they really helped me a lot with getting it started. The first line that we connected with is Eightmood. They’re out of Sweden, and they’re new to the United States. I love Swedish design, the simplicity, and clean approach that they have. So, I partnered with them and created about 40 items as part of the Eightmood collection, and the Kathy Anderson Collection. The first one is called Country Mood. It doesn’t mean ‘country’ like country music or westerns. It’s just a warm collection of pillows, candles, there’s a couple of little tables – it’s actually more accessory line than it is a furniture line at this point.

TRIBUNE:  Do you have a personal favorite project that you’ve worked on, or maybe you’re currently working on? K. ANDERSON: Yes, it’s a new restaurant in Downtown, Nashville, called the Black Rabbit. It’s a really, cool little kind of cocktail bar with tapas, wonderful food, and great guys that own it. so that’s really fun to be part of. It was so much fun to be a part of the process. We did a renovation for Alan Jackson of his bar called AJ’s Good Time Bar, and that was fun. We worked on the Nashville Underground project that opened earlier this month. It’s on Lower Broadway right next door to Acme. It’s a four-story entertainment complex with a double rooftop.  There’s a lit dance floor on the top floor. I loved working on this project a lot! 

TRIBUNE: So, what are some other projects that we can look forward to seeing from your design studios this year? K. ANDERSON: The 300 Broadway Ole Red will probably be our largest for this year. That’s Blake’s upcoming new bar that will be located in the downtown Nashville, that’s opening later this year. I’m also working on several residential projects in the Cool Springs and the Bell Meade areas. A few months ago, we recently completed a renovation on RCA Studio A, the big RCA building on Music Row. They almost tore the building down but man named Aubrey Preston came in with a whole group of other people, and saved the building. They hired us to kind of recreate the interior as it would have felt when Chet Atkins worked there. It was really a fun project, one I’m proud of.

Visit Kathy on her company’s website: http://andersondesignstudio.com/

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