Designer Kathy Morgan Launches New Venture, Functional Living Design

A local designer opens a showroom.

Nicholas Youngblood
Kathy Morgan

Being stuck at home for much of the last two years has taken its toll in a million ways, big and small. For many, it means that all the little inconveniences around the house have become insufferable annoyances. Cramped spaces, outdated appliances and bedrooms-turned-offices may be driving us up the wall. Skyrocketing house prices, though, means that most of us will have to stay put for the time being.

Related:Columbus forecast to be nation's fifth hottest housing market in 2022

The housing market in Columbus has been too hot to handle for many residents looking to buy a new home, making renovating or expanding the homes we have seem like a more palatable solution. That’s a topic Kathy Morgan knows a thing or two about.

Morgan has been in the design business in Central Ohio for 22 years, starting out as a closet and storage designer before expanding her scope to include every element of home design. Her latest venture is a new showroom, called Functional Living Design Group, which she is opening with business partner Jeff Reasinger in Powell in early 2022.

Is now a good time for remodeling? 

There is never a bad time for remodeling, but it depends on your personal situation. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to get something done quickly, this is probably one of the most difficult times to make that happen. Remodeling is at an all-time high. We encourage people to allow four to six months for the process on an interior remodeling project. 

What is the primary philosophy behind your designs? 

All of our designs are implemented through the eyes of functionality. I’ve worked with many homeowners over the years, and we always ask if they have done any significant remodeling projects in their home previously. Frequently, we are told yes.  The next logical question is “Why aren’t you using the same contractor?” Many times the answer is they felt they spent a great deal of money, and the area looked better but didn’t function any better than what they had previously. They are looking now for better design services, quality and an overall better outcome of their project. 

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How has this philosophy informed the aesthetic and practical solutions in your designs? 

Basically, my philosophy is the primary goal of any design is to improve the lives of the end user. This is achieved by making sure you use the quality of materials that will last and you are designing an area that is convenient and functional. The “look” of a space is clearly just cosmetic and that is the last consideration.  If the quality and design are solid, you can make the color, type and look of the space whatever the customer wishes it to be and fits within the décor pattern of the home.

What benefits are offered by Functional Living Design Group’s holistic approach to interior design? 

We have several design professionals on staff—architecture; kitchen/bath specialists; custom storage specialists for pantry, closet, laundry, home office areas; [a] room addition specialist; and window treatments. Our showroom is designed to allow people to come in and see functional spaces and material choices for all areas of the home.  

What has been the proudest moment in your career? 

We were recently given the opportunity to work with the Freedom a la Cart group in Downtown Columbus to assist in redoing their new facility. We were able to create an area in their lower level which [is] a space where the women they serve [many of whom are in recovery] can come in and shop for their needs. We designed, created and installed specific areas for clothing, outerwear, toiletries and all types of various needs they find their clients require. It’s a beautiful space, and I know helps the Freedom group create the type of experience they want for the women who are entering into their place.

This story is from the December 2021 issue of Columbus Monthly.