Texas designer Katie Kime adds Houston to her bytoile collection

Texas designer Katie Kime adds Houston to her bytoile collection
Texas designer Katie Kime adds Houston to her bytoile collection

Austin-based designer Katie Kime says that when she adds a region to her ever-growing toile collection, she chooses “cities where people are obsessed with their city.”

Enter the oil rig, the Westheimer street sign, the space shuttle and Ninfa’s margarita in her new Houston edition.

Kime’s playful approach to toile de Jouy – a European patterned fabric of repeated illustrations, traditionally outdoor scenes, dating to the 18th century – is available in wallpaper, cotton pajama sets, passport covers, acrylic trays and stationery.

The contemporary hand-illustrated designs are rich in detail and come to life in shades of apricot, magenta, bubblegum pink and turquoise, in patterns representing Austin (scenes of Barton Springs, bats, barbecue), New Orleans (gators, steamboats, Hotel Monteleone) New York City, Charleston, Nashville and beyond.

In each location, Kime contacts a person with local knowledge to help her select “authentic” items. In Houston, her marketing manager identified the Buffalo Bayou, a 10-gallon rodeo hat, the Art Car, the Beer Can House, the Astrodome, James Turrell’s “Twilight Epiphany” sky room and the striped facade of the River Oaks Theater.

Kime, a “lover of history,” says her favorite part was the NASA research she did to select the featured spacecraft.

After debuting the Houston collection at a luncheon at Tiny Boxwoods attended by local influencers, the design quickly became the company’s second-best seller, after Marfa toile.

“Marfa was the one that put us on the map,” says Kime, attributing the success to the pattern’s use of the recognizable Prada Marfa art installation. “It feels like it’s a little more national, even if you’ve never been to Texas,” she says.

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Kime’s team prints the wallpaper and stationery in the company’s 9,000 square foot design facility in Austin. To keep up with production, they use five artists across the globe to achieve the cohesive, hand-illustrated stripes.

Clients use the colorful wallpaper in mudrooms, laundry rooms and powder rooms, says Kime, where they feel they can “be a little more daring.”

Often, they choose a pattern that’s a callback to a place they once lived, she says, recalling when the Nashville-based founders of The Home Edit, the organization business featured in the Netflix series, installed her wallpaper in New York City. Next up are bytoiles for San Antonio, Chicago and Atlanta.

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