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Ole Miss Musings: Interior Designer Katheryn King Coleman Still Making A Difference on Campus

ADPI House. Photo by Hubert Worley

Katheryn King Coleman, former Chi O at Ole Miss, has found her niche in life, that being a sensational interior designer. Having gotten the ADPi house up and running, Katheryn is now focusing on other projects, including some on campus.
Katheryn King Coleman

HottyToddy.com: Katheryn, before we jump into the interior design business, please share with our readers your background including the Greenwood roots.
Katheryn King Coleman:  This is the third time I have lived in Oxford (as a child, as a coed, and now as an adult), but I do consider myself to be from the Delta (Greenwood, MS), having graduated from high school there.  Before Greenwood, my background was in Blytheville, Arkansas (where our family farm is), and Memphis, TN.
HottyToddy.com: What was it like living in the Chi Omega house?
Katheryn King Coleman:  It was tons of fun (we did have to study, though, and were usually number one on campus for highest GPA), and what a wonderful sisterhood!  I am still friends with a lot of those same people.  In the house, we were probably a little spoiled:  three square meals a day, five days a week, and we did not even have to clean our own rooms as some of the girls on campus do today.  Those were the days!  Sigh!
HottyToddy.com: At what age did you decide that you wanted to become
an interior designer?
Katheryn King Coleman:  At age 18, and, this is kind of silly, but I went down the list of majors that Ole Miss offered at the time.  I saw “Interior Design” and thought to myself “That doesn’t sound too bad.”  I am probably one of the few people that never changed their major during school.
HottyToddy.com: This beautiful house (Alpha Delta Pi), we understand you began working on the interior furnishings in 2014.
Katheryn King Coleman:  Yes, I was very honored to be hired by such a well-known and large Greek national organization.  Their base is in Atlanta, so coordination needed some fine tuning; thankfully, they allowed me to work with Patti Natter out of the Birmingham area.  She has vast experience with other ADPi national properties.
HottyToddy.com: Where does an interior designer commence a project such as a sorority house?
Katheryn King Coleman:  On a large project such as a sorority house, the programming phase is very important.  This is where the designer gathers information from the client such as interior direction, timing, budgets, contacts, etc. From that point, the designer develops a way of proceeding forward based on the scope of services.  This includes color schemes, furniture layouts, reflective ceiling plans, electrical plans, sections, elevations, room perspectives (if necessary), etc.  A professional interior designer (not a decorator) is best used for all commercial projects such as this as the designer is licensed, has passed professional exams, and is a professional member of his or her organizations as well as being knowledgeable about the legalities of building codes, ADA, etc.
HottyToddy.com: These fantastic photos (taken by Hubert Worley) truly portray the beauty and luxury of the house.
Katheryn King Coleman:  Yes, Mr. Worley has quite an artistic eye.  The ADPi house (it even has an elevator) is an exquisite addition to the Ole Miss campus, and, also, upon completion, was the only new sorority house since the Kappa Alpha Thetas built their new facility in 1977.

HottyToddy.com: The piano has its own personal history.
Katheryn King Coleman:  Patti Natter, with ADPi national, informed me during the project that we had to get back the baby grand piano that was loaned to the Alabama chapter when the Ole Miss chapter folded maybe in the 1980s or 1990s.  So, we did have it moved back on campus when we received furnishings from the auction house from which we had purchased items for the project.
HottyToddy.com: Trying to please hundreds of the members, alums, parents, and officials, just how difficult was this?
Katheryn King Coleman:  Not really difficult at all because ADPi national realized early on in their experience that an interior project such as this cannot be done by committee.  That is why Patti Natter (with ADPi national) from Birmingham was given authority to make the final decisions on the interiors.
HottyToddy.com: You did receive some assistance from individuals
like Cheryl Oglesby and Leigh Campbell. What did these ladies contribute to the project?
Katheryn King Coleman:  They contributed a few of the accessories/artwork shown in the attached photos.
HottyToddy.com: The house sleeps around 70 members? How difficult was it designing the interiors of these rooms?
Katheryn King Coleman:  Actually, the parameters were established before I was hired.  The rooms were designed for lofted, built-in beds or bunk beds.  Unfortunately, during construction, it was decided because of budget constraints that most of the built-in beds were eliminated at that time.  The young ladies decided that they did not want to sleep in bunk beds, but twin beds; so, the footprint of the room was slowly eaten up by the extra bed space.  I believe now that most or all of the sleeping rooms have built-in loft beds so that furniture can be installed below them.  Makes more sense.
HottyToddy.com: Apparently your eye for values led you to the Peabody Hotel in Memphis for some of the furnishings.
Katheryn King Coleman:  Yes, for budget reasons, I turned to second-hand end tables and a few coffee tables from my source, Traderhorn (who purchases hotel furnishings when the hotels remodel), in Greenwood, MS and had some of them repainted.  Really and truly, the tables don’t get a lot of hard use, which is the reason I could do that.  However, on the upholstered pieces, we got all brand new.
HottyToddy.com: Not being an ADPi alum, how did a Chi O land this great opportunity?
Katheryn King Coleman:  Sometimes, a professional just has to ask for the work.  I had noticed a construction sign on their lot on campus one day, contacted ADPi national, and what great timing!  They were just in the process of hiring an interior designer for the project.
HottyToddy.com: Your design business which is headquartered in
Oxford has a new website. The address, katherynkingcolemaninteriordesigner.com, will be operational when?
Katheryn King Coleman:  Hopefully, I can finish the website in a few weeks, but my business is on Facebook and houzz.com, as well.
HottyToddy.com: You are the very first person I have ever met who attended kindergarten on the Ole Miss campus. Care to explain?
Katheryn King Coleman:  What can I say?  I was a Rebel at a young age.  Well, seriously, that is definitely true, but my Daddy was a student at the time and dropped me off at kindergarten on campus as he was heading to class.  I remember passing the SAE lions on Fraternity Row and wondering why they were always painted different colors every time we went by there.

Steve VassalloSteve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745.
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