The DeHavens Find a Slice of Paradise on Mercer Island

Cat DeHaven dug her fingers into the door frame of the small plane's fuselage and said firmly, "No, no, no." Known for her willingness to accept a challenge, she had changed her mind about skydiving, waiting until the very last moment to decide this was one heart-pounding adventure she was willing to bypass.

Today, seated in her Mercer Island home next to a lush greenbelt, the amicable, lean Missouri native chuckles at the memory from several years ago. “I just spreadeagled," she laughs. "And the guy is trying to push me out. Make sure I get my money's worth! And I was like, "Oh no, no, no." Afterward, she was so relieved to be on the ground that she didn't even request a refund.

However, rest assured that when it comes to other adventures, like starting and nurturing a successful Pilates studio, Core Havn, the 44-year-old was willing to jump in with both feet.

At Home on the Island
 When she is not working with her staff of trainers at her Mercer Island studio, Cat, her husband Kyle, and their two children, Hazel, 12, and Tom, 10, are savoring island life.

"It’s this crazy island in the middle of a lake,” Cat grins. “Everybody is so down to earth, kind, and wants to support others in the community. It’s amazing with the hills, beauty, nature, and water access.”

Kyle concurs, saying, “It reminds me of where I grew up near St. Louis, Missouri." Kyle, an architect at Cutler Anderson Architects, also loves working in a similar setting on Bainbridge Island, where water, trees, and verdant hills surround him. It’s worth the commute from the island, with Kyle riding his bike to the ferry dock and sometimes driving. 

"We love being outside on these trails and seeing the mountains," Cat says. "There's a little spot by Icicle Creek that we visit every summer; it's a family tradition."

The couple's relationship dates back to the 8th grade in a St. Louis suburb. They dated in high school, separated while attending separate colleges, and reconnected in 2008.  They married in 2010. Like most two-career families, the DeHavens operate as a team, with Kyle working from home two days a week and the pair sharing parenting duties. 

"Having been an event planner, Cat's used to dealing with large, chaotic problem sets," Kyle says. " I think a family unit is one of those things. So I think between us, she's certainly the planner and a sort of future-oriented person. I tend to be more of a creative maker in the present moment. But we cover each other's blind spots."

Cat could have stayed working in public relations and event planning, but her focus on fitness and the desire to guide others inspired her to start her own business. 

“I feel fortunate to have known her as long as I have, Kyle says. “I feel like we’ve known several versions of each other over the years. And I have enjoyed all of them."

Always an active person, in 2009, the Pilates bug bit Cat. She soon completed her Pilates certification and eventually became a Master Teacher Trainer. In April 2021, she opened Core Havn. 

"One of the reasons I am in the business is that I truly like to help people," she says. "Everyone I work with at my studio is passionate about their work." 

Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
“I suggest researching the industry you choose,” she says. “Look at it from every angle and make sure you have enough experience in your industry to go into that industry."