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The Designer That Made Toile Walls Local

Designer Katie Kime believes more is more, especially when it comes to your living space. Now you can adorn your walls with the landmarks that hit close to home.
By Ginni Beam | |Images Courtesy of Katie Kime
Katie Kime
Katie Kime

When it comes to decor, Katie Kime is a big fan of, in current parlance, doing the most. In her home, a neon sign politely asks visitors not to do coke in the bathroom. Wicker elephants support a coffee table. And busily patterned wallpaper adorns not just walls but also ceilings and floors.

“I’ve always said this and I stand by it: if you know what you like, you should just trust your gut and go with it,” the Austin-based designer says. 

It’s a lot, but it works for her. And the “more is more” ethos works for her eponymous print-based brand, too. Kime sells wallpaper, apparel, and accessories covered in everything from camels to oysters to pink pineapples. But her brand’s trademark is city toile prints that highlight popular landmarks, a wackier take on the traditional pastoral prints popularized in 19th-century France. Kime says she would love to eventually do a whole toile tour of the United States. For now, she offers 13 city patterns, including Marfa, Fort Worth, and Dallas. 

The development of these toile prints involves not only hand-drawing and detailed linework but also research about the featured city, which she mostly obtains from locals. For her portrait of Dallas, she consulted sisters Lizzie Means Duplantis and Sarah Means, the founders of luxury cowboy boot brand Miron Crosby

“I wanted to get the real flavor instead of googling, you know, ‘What’s great in Dallas?’ ” Kime says. The finished product includes AT&T Stadium, Big Tex, and Reunion Tower intermingled with cowboy boots and big hair. (So maybe there are some stereotypes.)

While Kime may give off homegrown Texan vibes, she is actually from North Carolina by way of Atlanta. She moved to Austin specifically for the design scene. It felt like a place where her career could take off and she could settle down. Kime was right on both counts. She opened her first store in Austin in 2013, and she now has a husband and four kids. She opened a second location, in the Shops at Clearfork in Fort Worth, this fall. “Fort Worth kind of feels like what Austin used to be,” she says. 

Kime knows that most people might not be ready to commit to her level of floor-to-ceiling pattern intensity. That’s OK. She hopes everyone can find at least a small piece—a journal, pajamas, notecards, an ice bucket—to add joy to their surroundings and pay tribute to a city they love. 

“Faith and beauty matter in our lives everywhere,” she says. “Whether it’s what we’re wearing, or the note we’re writing on, or the wallpaper in the bathroom when we’re getting ready.” 


This story originally appeared in the December issue of D Magazine with the headline, “All to the Wall.” Write to [email protected].

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