Even if you don’t know the name Kate Rohrer, you know her work. Maybe it was while admiring the worn-in wood millwork at Irwin’s, the wall of weathered curiosities at Double Knot or the floral wallcoverings at White Dog Cafe in University City. Rohrer handselected all of it. Her interior design studio, ROHE Creative (rohecreative.com), is behind many of Philadelphia’s most dramatic dining spaces. Her self-described “vintage-eclectic style” is a wild mashup of antique treasures and retro relics.
It’s been more than five years since Rohrer founded ROHE, and she still loves the thrill of the hunt. “My favorite pastime is wandering through antique shops and furniture stores,” she says. “I spend way too much time searching online auction houses.” The Bucks County native went to Moore College of Art & Design with a fleeting interest in fashion before falling in love with interior design. Her part-time job as a server and bartender at Stephen Starr’s The Continental only further fueled her career aspirations.
“A lot of us [who worked for Starr] joke that we went to Starr University. I learned so much about restaurant and hospitality design from his concepts.” Rohrer is juggling several new projects in 2020, including a boutique hotel in Midtown Village, and Marcie Turney and Val Safran’s reimagining of LOVE Park’s former welcome center. “I draw a lot of inspiration from furniture and the fashion world in how that translates to interiors. I consider myself a student of hospitality. I learn so much by being a guest at hotels and restaurants.”