Updated: Feb 8, 2019
Kristin Alvarado is an interior designer at Christine Werlin Design & Decor, serving clients on Bainbridge Island, Seattle, and beyond.
Interior designer Kristin Alvarado was raised with interesting, creative people—and interesting, creative things. Her grandfather was a colonel in the US Army, which meant that Kristin’s mother lived all over the world, as did Kristin, who grew up in the contrasting communities of Annapolis, MD; Venezuela; Puerto Rico; and Ontario.
Kristin’s childhood homes were filled with collected antiques, Turkish rugs, and lots of original art, some of which came by way of Kristin’s Icelandic grandmother. Her grandfather was not only a colonel but also a concert-level pianist who enjoyed working in pastels and pen-and-ink. For her part, Kristin was the child who was always drawing. Creativity came so naturally to Kristin that she didn’t examine its influence until later.
“Our home had this international, eclectic, older aesthetic,” Kristin recalls. “That environment clearly inspired my love for eclectic design.” One of the things Kristin loves about sharing eclectic design with her clients is that it’s budget-friendly, enabling the purchase and repurposing of things that don’t necessarily come with steep price tags. In Kristin’s experience, this approach creates richer, more personal spaces.
Kristin also believes that design should be meaningful. “The whole idea of sparking joy, à la Marie Kondo: yes, your stuff should spark joy! If you’re holding on to something because you love it, then it’s important and valuable. That’s what makes your space your space. We make sure that those special things are integrated purposefully.”
MEASURE AND MATH
In college, Kristin started as a French major before switching to a bachelor of fine arts program in interior planning and design. The rigorous program included a minor in fine art and a minor in architecture. “They teach you a lot of theoretical things,” Kristin observes, “but they don’t teach you how to get a job!”
Before she’d embarked too far down a career path, Kristin got married and had four kids. While being a fulltime mom, she kept her creative self alive with murals and faux painting on the side, in addition to flipping nearly a dozen houses with her now ex-husband. When the kids were older, she began contract work with a designer friend before taking a position with a design firm in Poulsbo.
Kristin craves things that aren’t plain vanilla. “Because of how I grew up, I have a strong need for adventure. I’m open-minded. My bucket list is all about seeing and experiencing. I love new things, and I love the idea of travel (even though I’m not able to travel often just yet!).”
While she loves travel, Kristin also looks for new and different right here in her backyard. “I remind myself that people from all over the world come here to see this place. What should I be doing? What’s magnificent about where we live? What do visitors come to see and do that I haven’t seen and done yet? Just drive over the Hood Canal and you’re in another world—and it’s spectacular.”
The natural beauty of the outdoors is one of the many local resources that Kristin connects with regularly, and one of her greatest sources of joy. But not the only source. “Beauty brings me joy: being in the outdoors—but also music on an excellent stereo system, someone singing, amazing food, hearing a story about love. I’m a total softie, and I’m deeply moved by beauty. I can watch Pimp My Ride and cry because I’m so happy about what they did in that car makeover.”
In early 2019, Kristin joined Christine Werline Design & Decor, serving clients in Bainbridge Island, Seattle, and beyond. Kristin wants her client base to be as diverse and interesting as the eclectic design approach she loves. “I like working with people from every demographic. Budget does not need to be a barrier. I routinely talk clients out of unnecessary excess. What’s the most efficient and creative direction we can move in? How can I save you the most money? That’s how I am in my own home, so I bring that wise spending to my clients. Don’t have thousands of dollars for a big project? Invite me to your home for an hour of brainstorming. There’s so much we can do.”
While Kristin has also served clients with nearly unlimited budgets, it’s people, rather than project scope, that compels her. “One of the things I love about design is being in a very intimate position in people’s lives. I love the decorative, design aspect, but I also love being in relationship with my clients. Helping them take a journey they aren’t equipped to take on their own. I believe that design changes your life. I truly believe that your environment plays an enormous role in your happiness and productivity.”
Each design project fulfills, in some small way, Kristin’s thirst for adventure. “I love finding the commonality between ideals—that human, interpersonal connection, delight, and whimsy. The client and I communicate with each other and connect through a shared language. It feels like an adventure.”
While the adventure of a design collaboration eventually comes to a close, Kristin’s objective is for the client’s adventure to continue indefinitely. “At the end of the day, my goal is for my clients to walk through their front door and gasp with delight.”
Connect with Kristin at firstname.lastname@example.org.