Meet the Design Genius Behind Philly’s Coolest Shops and Restaurants
You might not know Kate Rohrer by name, but if you’ve ever been to Double Knot, Bud & Marilyn’s, Lapstone & Hammer or Union Transfer, you’ve seen her work. She’s the founder of Rohe Creative, the Fishtown interior design firm behind some of Philly’s most well-designed hot spots, and she’s making serious waves in the city’s design scene.
So what goes on behind the scenes? I caught up with Kate as she shuttles between projects – these include a high-end beer hall in Rittenhouse! – and sushi lunches at Seiko in NoLibs to get the low-down on her favorite people, places and things. Here’s what a day in Kate Rohrer’s life looks like, as well as what inspires her, where she finds all those cool salvaged pieces for her design projects (fun fact: She’s using 93 antique frames for a wall installation in a current project!), and exactly which product she uses to get those covetable curls.
“I collect antiques, from brass candlesticks to pewter dishes, frames, taxidermy, old portraits (pictured above). I hoard them until I can find a use for them on a project. ReStore on East Thompson Street in Port Richmond is my go-to. They salvage material from churches and schools before they’re demolished. We found sinks there for all the restrooms at Bud & Marilyn’s.
“Twice a week I go to Mint Condition Fitness in Northern Liberties. It has a raw, industrial vibe—which I designed. Owner Michael Mickles does one-hour personal training sessions and provides you with a program to stick to on your off days.
“I love my roll-on MCMC Hunter perfume. I’m a sucker for anything woodsy and earthy in scent. I have super-thick hair with tons of texture and waves, and I swear by label.m Curl Cream. A couple twists and scrunches, and I’m good to air-dry and go.”
“I wake up around 6:15. Every morning I drive my three-and-a-half-year-old son to school, which is conveniently located next to my favorite coffee shop, Old City Coffee. And we live entirely too close to Little Baby’s Ice Cream. I’m addicted to their Bourbon Bourbon Vanilla.
“My favorite local band is Hezekiah Jones. Their songwriter, Raph Cutrufello, is a friend of ours, and his songwriting is beyond.
“I try to incorporate a healthy mix of old and new in my projects. Right now we’re working on a high-end beer hall in Rittenhouse, a 40-seat noodle bar in Fishtown, and a 400-person music venue with a bar and lounge.
“We recently worked with True Hand Society. They’re not only tattoo artists, but graphic designers. They brought to life all of the custom murals in the Double Knot space. They rock.”