Comfort Zone

Comfort Zone: Katie Marble

by Sabrina Smelko


I first discovered Katie Marble through the hashtag #thehappynow, which she manages alongside Elise Cahill (whom we featured earlier this year). Together, they are The Happy Hunters, a best-friend duo from California who are always hot on the trail of fun and sun.

But more than a photographer/editor/DIYer/stylist/writer, Katie is a wife and dog-mom to an Australian Shepherd named Karl. After a childhood spent moving (that’s 14 times), Katie now calls Corona, CA home, but her desire for adventure and new experiences still remains. Similar to how her childlike sense of wonder allows her to be fearful, so too does her home help her through some of life’s more challenging curveballs — from creative burnout to her late mother’s battle with cancer. From the comfort of her bright and cozy living room, today Katie’s sharing more about her home, how it got her through some tough times, and what to do when you don’t see eye-to-eye with someone. –Sabrina

Tell us about yourself.

Hey! Where to begin… I was born in Charlotte, NC and since then, I have moved 14 times (many across the country) and I have finally landed in Corona, CA where I now reside with my husband Ryley and Australian Shepherd, Karl. Moving so often was never hard for me. I loved the changes. There was always somewhere new to see and new people to meet. I definitely see how that aspect of my childhood fostered a need to seek new experiences in life.

I am a co-blogger with Elise Cahill for The Happy Hunters blog, and I also work in social media advertising as a photographer. While my childlike, adventurous spirit affects my work as a photographer, I also credit my uncle and mother. From an early age, my uncle used his knowledge in “showbiz” to prep me and challenge me for the work I knew I wanted, but didn’t know how to obtain. He was the first to really foster my creative eye, and is still one of my biggest cheerleaders today. The inspiration drawn from my mother is something that will stay with me always. Her southern grace and time spent in pageants and modeling always awed me. Looking at her photos and work has inspired me to create and leave behind that kind of beauty in the world. Her passing from cancer last year has only intensified that desire in me.


What does home and this space mean to you? Describe it.

Our home was built in 1912 and might actually be the size of a shoebox. However, it is so sweet to me. It came at a time in my life when I was preoccupied with my mother’s cancer and younger siblings. I remember at one point thinking I couldn’t possibly put one more thing on my plate and that we should just walk away. But it became a place I could escape to, a place where I could breathe. I swear the air was sweeter in our home.

My efforts were still split in too many directions… but I was able to add just a few items that made our house a home. A mirror my grandmother had picked from a vintage sale, a rug from my East Coast travels, and a bench my mom picked up at a garage sale and had saved for when I had a home of my own. For months, boxes went unpacked and I was completely content. Having a space of peace was all I needed.


What makes it so comfortable (physically and personally)?

Cultivating our home has been an ongoing project. It happens on off-days and is absolute therapy for me. From working in the yard, to painting walls, to bringing home a found treasure — when days are crazy or sad, my home is where beauty can happen. I can still create. I can still be inspired. From that comes huge amounts of comfort.

A quote by William Morris (inspiring textile designer) has also helped to define the comfort of my home: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” This awoke the essentialist in me, and I have learned to let go of the clutter and unnecessary in my home.


What makes you uncomfortable? What is your biggest fear?

Disneyland closing forever.

Have you ever thrown caution to the wind and departed from your comfort zone? What happened as a result?

I love to try new things. When I’m working on projects I’m up for anything. However, when it comes to me personally and my house… I definitely have a comfort zone. BUT, I found a rug at a thrift store over the summer with tons of bright pink and yellow and I have kiiiiiiiiiind of been loving it in my office.

How’s that for throwing caution to the wind?!


What would you do if you had a day, a week and a month all to yourself?

If I had a day to myself I would grab a mocha and thrift the day away. If I had a week to myself, I would paint every wall of my house and work in the yard. If I had a month to myself, I would love to stay in an unfamiliar city and just live there for a month and see everything there is to see!

What have you learned as an adult that you wish you knew when you were younger?

That people generally want you to succeed. Growing up, I wasn’t confident enough to ask for help and often felt I had to figure things out on my own. As an adult, it’s been so refreshing to have people excited to speak into my life and my profession and want to see me thrive.


How do you unplug, recharge and unwind?

I am recharged by those I feel closest to. Meeting up for coffee at a favorite spot, conversations while cuddling on the couch, discovering a new antique store, or working on side projects with dear friends… those things bring new life and inspiration to almost every aspect of my life.

And not to state the obvious here, but Pinterest and Instagram are just endless sources of eye candy. DUH.

Have you ever experienced burnout? How do you get back on your feet and stay inspired?

For me, feeling burnt out is when I hit a creative wall. I have felt it with people, a photo, while styling… in every way. With my co-blogger Elise, there have been a handful of times when we both hit a wall or just don’t see artistically eye-to-eye. In those moments we have learned to step back and evaluate, and to ALWAYS put our relationship first. In many ways, when we put our friendship first, we inspire and feed off each other — which usually fixes whatever problem was before us.

When I feel like I am fighting to make a shot work during a photo shoot, that is a pretty good indicator that I am burnt out! Learning to not fight the shot and walk away allows me to quickly refocus and sometimes see things differently than before.


What do you think the world could use less of, and more of?

The world could use more mochas and less tomatoes, in my mind!

What’s one question you wish you had the answer to?

Will all the projects in my house ever be finished?

Suggested For You


  • This post is so inspiring. I love the idea of the happy hunters and the happy now. So often online, I see blogs that come across as being more about competition than community, and this is sweetly refreshing.

  • I’m going through a big huge marathon push work-wise this month, and taking a few minutes to read this this morning before I head back in to work has been really calming, so thank you! I’m also moving in a few months, and this is great inspiration for the feeling I want to cultivate in/with my next space.

  • Lovely interview and the home seems so cozy! Would you mind sharing the paint colors of ur home?