A multidisciplinary design studio

Design for Work and Life

Kanawha Design Studio is a firm in the Pacific Northwest that creates and builds visual identities, inhabitable spaces and working systems for live and work communities.

While our projects are diverse in discipline and scope, we build all of our projects on creativity, invention, process and a holistic collaboration with people and their communities.  



Kanawha Design Studio is a multidisciplinary design firm based in the Pacific Northwest of Canada and the US.   The firm is the product of the set of skills, interests and talents of Katie Davis-Sayles and Jacob Sayles.  They combine their design, software and community building expertise to build out spaces, experiences and systems for intentional, engaged and collaborative communities.


What we Do

We do all kinds of things. The term “multidisciplinary,” to Kanawha Design Studio, means that we believe that curiosity and resourcefulness are the key tools to build any project. While our projects are diverse in discipline and scope, we build all of our projects on creativity, invention and a holistic look at community.

We are best at building things.   For example, when we worked on the Red Victorian, Bed and Breakfast, a coliving community in San Francisco, we researched food handling permits, created circulation diagrams, managed contractors and pulled up carpet from the 1970's.  Katie created working ground plans and elevations for the main community storefront.

Photo by Marti Rhea Photos

Photo by Marti Rhea Photos


Katie Davis-Sayles began the studio in 2011 with a Master of Architecture, ten years of experience in scenic, lighting and production design for performing arts and a specialty for graphic design in built environments.  She has designed signage and wayfinding for international soccer events, branding for international artists, coworking spaces, coliving hotels and a couple of brilliant bathrooms. 

As an educator, she has four years of experience teaching at colleges to theater artists, interior architects and environmental graphics.  She has also taught 3D modeling and digital fabrication workshops to artists and maker spaces.   

Katie is an active member of of the Society for Experiential Graphic Design and contributes to the SEGD Academic Task Force.


Jacob Sayles joined Kanawha Design Studio in 2015.  He started his career as a software programmer, working in software startups in the Pacific Northwest.  In 2007, he recognized the clear shift in how people work and, with the Susan Evans Dorsch, started the first coworking space in Seattle.  From there, he continued to found a series of nonprofits and organizations designed to support the growing coworking movement around the world.  With Kanawha Design Studio, Jacob is a designer and collaborator, working on spaces and integrating them with communities and technologies.

Jacob's next role is as the Director of Technology for the 312 Main project in Vancouver, Canada.   He is working on the Nadine Project, an open source software platform to manage spaces and coworking communities.