The Studio & Shop on Pitt Street is the latest phase of its brand extension

by ELLEN URIBE / photography by HOLGER OBENAUS

Steeped in formal training and bolstered by real-world experience, Kate Miles founded Kate Miles Design in 2017 and more recently, in the summer of 2023, opened Studio & Shop on Pitt Street in Mount Pleasant.

Miles, who is a good communicator and easy to work with, relocated to the Charleston area after receiving a Bachelor of Arts in art history from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, followed by a master’s degree in fine and decorative art from the Sotheby’s Institute in New York City.

While studying art history at Wake Forest, Miles became inspired by the interior design process when her parents were building a new home on Kiawah Island. Their designer—Tammy Connor, a well-known designer with a great reputation—ultimately became a mentor to Miles.

Witnessing the construction’s transformation and subsequent interior build from the ground up prompted Miles to pursue her bachelor’s in fine art from the Art Institute in Charleston. During her time there, she pursued several internships at established design firms, where she fine-tuned her creative skills.

“After studying art history as an undergrad, interior design felt like a natural next step,” Miles says. “Pursuing my interior design degree allowed me to have a firm foundation in the basics of interior design, and I was able to build on that with real-life experience, working under established interior designers.”

Miles’ designs are anything but cookie-cutter as she firmly believes it’s essential to tailor living spaces to the natural surroundings and the occupants.

“I think every client is so different that it immediately prompts a new chapter. I let their personalities and space really speak to me, which allows me to differentiate so everything doesn’t look the same,” she says.


Some of Miles’ eye-popping designs, which are beautifully photographed and can be found on her website, include the Sophisticated Downtown Home—which, she notes, is the intersection of modern elegance and historical charm. Her inspiration came from the historical architecture and elements, which she gave a modern twist to create a warm and inviting living space.

A blend of laid-back, lazy days and sophisticated modern elements are key to the design she identifies as the “Lowcountry Coastal Lifestyle.”

“This Mount Pleasant remodel was designed for a large, busy family, pulled in a million directions, who wanted a place to relax after a long day and enjoy time with friends and loved ones,” she explains. “To create the relaxed, breezy feel, we used a light and bright color palette. Then we designed custom built-ins that created storage and freed up space for an open and airy feeling.”

For Miles, the interior design always begins by meeting the client at their house—if it’s not a new construction project—to find out what they like and don’t like. “We try and get to know them, their family and how they will use the space. If it’s a new build, we will work with the builder and go through the existing and future plans with the client and make sure everyone is happy with the direction. We then do the floor plans and come up with design boards with selections including everything from paint to tile to furniture and accessories,” Miles explains.

She clearly enjoys working with people, getting to know them and their needs, and creating an environment that is beautiful, welcoming and comfortable. Her approach to clients makes the interactions effortless as she is easygoing, generous of spirit, a terrific problem-solver and creative but levelheaded, and she is always cognizant of maintaining a realistic business sense.

“I consider myself very trustworthy, honest and fun. I always make the best out of every situation,” she says.

From the outset, Miles is all in on a new design venture, and she is very excited about where her creativity and abilities can take her.

“I do especially enjoy the new construction phase,” she says. “I love some of the challenges that go along with working and starting the process—such as figuring out the perfect layout of a kitchen or the most functional way to lay out a room.”

While Miles starts with a blank slate for each project and says there are no hard and fast rules, she does have one pet peeve: rugs that are too small. She also notes that drapes should always “just kiss the floor.”

And while design trends may come and go every five to seven years, Miles says there are timeless trends such as neutral colorings. “It’s safe to say neutral with upholstery and your investment pieces that you’ll have for a long time; you can then have fun with pillows and accessories, which are easy to change out for a different look.”

Miles’ extensive background in art history and decorative arts allows her to pull from several aspects of design, opening the door to numerous possibilities.

“I have an appreciation for and knowledge of antiques as well as fine art pieces,” she says. “I love incorporating these special pieces into my clients’ homes, whether they are family heirlooms or something we source for them specifically.”

Miles’ Studio & Shop, which is in a historic building on Pitt Street, has been well received. The store features a variety of curated items that could add to the comfort and personality of any living space.

“We have a great selection of home accessories, pillows, candles and linens,” she says. “We hope to be the spot to visit when you need something to go on your coffee table or that perfect hostess gift when you’re going to a dinner party.”

Firmly ensconced in the Charleston region with her husband and young son, Miles is beyond thrilled to live in such beautiful surroundings, which are often a source of inspiration.

“I couldn’t ask for a better place to be,” she says. “Charleston is a special place for many reasons: its beauty, the weather (most of the year) and the history. It brings out the best in me, and you can’t ask for more than that.” *

Ellen Uribe is an award-winning journalist and a communications expert. She is a sought-after speaker, participating as a moderator and panelist at numerous industry events, conferences and broadcast outlets. She has contributed to Vanity Fair, Palm Beach Life, The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Women’s Wear Daily and Time Magazine.

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125 PITT ST.