As an architect, Katharine Huber spent her career exploring how people interact with buildings. She knew exactly how to design a museum or cultural building for maximum productivity and comfort.
As a mother, she realized that people don’t interact well with children’s furniture. When she got on her knees, she realized that the ubiquitous red and blue plastic kids’ tables and chair were not very kid-friendly.
Huber’s children were 5 and 2 when the family moved to Westport. They’ve enjoyed the amenities — the water, the arts — and her kids were involved in music and sports.
Now her kids are grown. But she’s turning her attention back to the children’s furniture she thought about years ago.
This fall — working out of her (now child-free) home — Huber launched Wit Design. It’s a simple collection that harnesses young imaginations.
“When I became a mother, I noticed the wonderfully weird ways my kids interacted with furniture,” she recalls. “They wiggled, they sat on their feet, they never considered that chairs were only meant for sitting.”
It’s taken years, but she’s finally put her insights into action. Wit Design’s furniture is strong enough for kids’ rambunctious ways, but light enough for them to pick up and rearrange however they wish.
In this age of digital devices, Huber says, children need appropriate spaces and furniture to connect with their creative selves — and other kids. Her table and chairs allow youngsters to “make art and make messes.”
Huber has done it using non-toxic materials too and finishes too. She wants the environment to last at least as long as her furniture does.
Her pieces are produced in the United States. Manufacturing in China would have been less expensive. But she could not monitor working conditions. Plus, Huber says, she wants to support the American furniture industry.
Wit Design has quickly found a following. Millennial parents and grandparents — also important kids’ furniture buyers — like providing an imaginative space to do puzzles and fill in coloring books.
Her furniture is designed for 2- to 6-year-olds. But she’s seen much older children enjoy it.
A recent photo shoot encouraged Huber that she’s on to something. Energetic children instinctively understood that they could move the furniture around, to their hearts’ content.
Who knew kids’ furniture design could be so simple?
Katharine Huber, apparently.