Designing Homes

Patti Baker lets her creativity flow at Mckenzie Baker Interiors

Baker Resi Story

When PATTI BAKER formed McKenzie Baker Interiors in Wilmington in the early 1990s, she knew she was following her heart’s desire to make people’s homes as beautiful as possible. Over the years, her business has grown and 28 years later, the UNCW communication studies graduate is still helping people turn their homes and businesses into the place of their dreams.

“I call it ‘the eye’,” she says with laughter about having a sense for decorating.

Baker says she doesn’t believe for a minute that people have bad taste, but rather most need help to coordinate it all. That’s where her team comes in.

“We are full service for residential and commercial properties. We are there from the beginning to the end for new projects,” she says, adding that most of her clients would say that by the end of the project, she has saved them money instead as opposed to them doing the job themselves.

The Greensboro native says she has always held an interest in art and design since she was a child. After college, she became involved in sales but always wanted to help others to achieve their dreams as far as their home design was concerned.

“It’s really a collaboration between us and our clients,” she says, adding that most people come in with an idea already in their head about how they want their home to look.

“Our job is to take it and make it to reflect their tastes and their dreams.”

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Baker says that an important part of the overall design of a home is to make sure it fits the people that live there. Homes with children and pets would be designed differently than a home for empty nesters who do not have either in the house.

She believes it is a must for any designer to educate their client through the process on fabrics that stain easily and furniture that scratches worse than others. Baker says that she often has clients call her while standing at the paint store overwhelmed by the color options.

“Paint colors can be intimidating even if you know what you want,” she says with laughter. “I wouldn’t be doing my job, if I didn’t share what works and what doesn’t work with clients.”

She knows it can be intimidating to make decisions about items that people will be looking at and using for years to come so her enthusiasm for a project remains high at all times.

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Communication is key, Baker say about how she and clients work together. Her new clients have multi-step process to follow. She says that it is important to know the client’s goals, likes, and dislikes.

“We ask a lot of questions, but more than anything we want to see the client’s vision for their space,” she says.

Through the years, Baker has done countless of jobs, but she is always excited about the next one to come along. She says her work is an outlet for her creativity.

“It’s a passion for me. And it is a team effort between the client and our team,” Baker says. “When I get started, I can’t turn it off.”

To view more of photographer Terah Wilson’s work, go to

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Categories: Culture