Special Interview with Karen Howes
This time we have travelled to England, Europe, to interview the beautiful and Interior Design master Karen Howes. The fact that Karen bought her first flat at the age of 19 and did all the decorating work by herself demonstrates the inherent talent and passion this designer has always had for interiors. From her first design job to a dream client, find out more here about the British founder of the famous interior design company Taylor Howes.
1. When did you begin your journey in the enticing world of interiors? Tell us what your career expectations were at that time, and what part of your life influenced your interior aesthetic today?
I have been designing for over 25 years – as a child I was always re-arranging my room, my Mother would put me to bed and then find my bed in the opposite corner the next morning! I love space and people and so interior design was the perfect career for me. I bought my first flat when I was 19 with no outside help a 100% mortgage and did all of the work myself from the decorating, sanding the floor boards to making the curtains – interiors is just in my blood and now my children too.
2. Tell us about your very first design job? Did you walk through the door with butterflies swirling through your stomach or did you tap your way through the front door?
My first design project was for a house builder who I then went on to design over 20 show homes for and the owner is now one of my best friends. I was incredibly nervous having spent the first two weeks doing stationary and re-arranging my desk and then realised I needed to pay the mortgage at the end of the month!
3. As a master in the world of interiors part of your job description is to listen to the client’s wishes, has there ever been a moment where you wanted to roll your eyes, jump across the table and tell he client: “NO!! Not under my name!!”?
You always remind yourself that the client is always right and you are creating their vision with their money however…..occasionally you know that what they want is simply not going to work and you get round this with visuals, examples and gentle persuasion!
4. Tell us about your team’s latest interior project, your private residence at Mayfair, London. Did you felt like stepping into your clients’ shoes?
We have just finished a ‘once in a lifetime’ project – an 11,000 sq ft converted church project in Knightsbridge that we have been working on for over 2 years – a great client and a great team that has led to the formation of Howes and Rigby, a company that for private clients with no time but lots of vision can come to us for acquisition, planning gain, architectural, an in house building team and of course interior design down to the last teaspoon. We have some amazing projects at the moment but for us the client is more important than the project. It is a journey with them we all embark on and we want to make it fun and exciting – life is simply too short not to enjoy it. My project in Mayfair in the time was a challenge in itself – it is small but perfectly formed and I love living in Mayfair. The whole process was like seeing the process through my clients eyes and when I left for an extended trip leaving a building site and returned to find our home it was very emotional – my team are totally committed and it blew me away.
5. Congratulations on your latest partnership with London property developer Rigby & Rigby! How do you think this ‘end-to-end property service’ will serve the needs of your clients today?
This is so exciting thank you. Having worked on a number of projects with the amazing Rigby and Rigby team we could see that there was a real need for busy, high net worth clients for a ‘one stop shop’. To put a great team together takes a great deal of time and money and we can fast track this process for clients.
6. Describe your dream client.
We have just finished a third project for one client in the South of France – we have been through the process together, we know their family needs and the client just says ‘you care more about this than we do so just do it’! That is the dream client and project. I am just praying that they now buy a modern country estate I would love to do that.
7. Use one word only to describe: How your clients perceive you? How your employees perceive you? How you would like to be perceived by our KOKET’s?
One word! Are you sure! Integrity.
8. What would make all your design wishes come true?
For my children to follow me into the business.
9. Describe an unforgettable moment when Love Happened with a piece of furniture, a material or interior. Describe the piece and was it eternal love?
For me it is all about the art – my first job was working for an art dealer. So it was when I bought my first major piece of art, direct from the artist – it was painted the year of my birth as Colonel Glen came back to earth – I don’t know why but I have a thing about the moon and would be on Galatica in a heart beat.
10. To end this interview, please select us your favourite KOKET piece, and how you would use it.
Now this is the tricky question as there are so many peaces I love from the Orchidea Console that would work in the hallway or any of our projects, the Enchanted side table that is so flexible to the perfect Ignite bench. I am just the ultimate consumer!
A special thank you to Karen and her team for this beautiful interview!