Introducing #AskHowes – Karen Howes08/12/22
Introducing #AskHowes – Karen Howes
A new opportunity for you to get to know our fabulous team and get a glimpse of the magic that happens here in the studio.
Behind the doors of the Taylor Howes Studio, you’ll find a team of extraordinary people who live and breathe all things interior design, who are dedicated to their craft and are passionate about curating exceptional homes for their clients.
In celebration of the women and men that make up the Taylor Howes Team, we’re excited to launch #AskHowes – a new opportunity for you to get to know our fabulous team and get a glimpse of the magic that happens here in the studio.
To kick things off, our CEO and Editor in Chief, Karen Howes shares an insight into building Taylor Howes, and what sets the studio apart from the rest. Enjoy!
WHERE DO YOU TEND TO FIND MOST OF YOUR INSPIRATION COMES FROM?
My team constantly inspires me – their energy and creativity – Nina Campbell once said always surround yourself with young designers and I do!
HOW DID YOU START YOUR BUSINESS AND WHAT OR WHO INSPIRED YOU?
I started my business when I was 21. Having bought my first flat, which you could in those days with a 100% mortgage, I then set about to renovate it. I knew some developers who loved what I had done and thus I got my first commissions. Mary Fox Linton had a shop on the Fulham Road, she was way ahead of her time and has been a constant inspiration since.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN BUSINESS?
It’s our 30th anniversary next year! Every day has been a joy, working with clients on various projects and realising an idea from concept through to installation. Now I work more on the bigger picture, developing new business and setting directions for the company for the upcoming years. We have some exciting news to share next year, so stay tuned and subscribe to our newsletter to receive exclusive invitations and updates on how we are celebrating this milestone.
YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF A PROJECT?
For me it is the beginning and the end! I love being the Editor-in-Chief – understanding the client’s needs, listening to them, getting the brief right and then the walk round at the end to see the look when we have delivered beyond their wildest dreams – it doesn’t get any better.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?
The fluidity of it, no two days are ever the same and I enjoy the diversity. I am passionate about design, but I’m equally passionate about business and the intricacies of real estate, be it residential or commercial, a plane or boat.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS KEY TO BEING PART OF THE TAYLOR HOWES’ TEAM?
To be passionate, to be kind and to be honest – our company’s core values.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS KEY TO FOCUS ON IN A PROJECT?
I believe it’s essential to never compromise on the lighting, though very easily done. It changes the dynamic of a room and should feature highly in concepts.
I WANT TO REFRESH MY LIVING ROOM, DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR A “QUICK FIX”?
Add fabulous cushions – it lifts any scheme. Just like in fashion, spend on money on the accessories, they finish the look and are a cost-effective way of really adding impact.
WE’RE JUST STARTING OUR FIRST RENOVATION PROJECT – DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE ON MISTAKES TO AVOID?
All design projects, whether they are small DIY jobs or multi-million-pound overalls need to take into consideration the proportion and scale of the furniture for the space. It’s easily done, but you can end up making a room feel smaller rather than maximizing on the space by choosing furniture of the wrong height and depth. Always start with a floor plan and carefully consider your space planning!
WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF DESIGN ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
Always design a whole project even though you may only implement it one room at a time and always go back to the masterplan.
IF YOU WEREN’T AN INTERIOR DESIGNER WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING?
An astronaut – I have a long-standing love of the celestial universe and particularly the moon, which I find fascinating … I would go in a heartbeat.
WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECTS OR THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN DESIGNING A ROOM?
Functionality is foremost. What is the room going to be used for and how does the client want to feel when in it. This will affect colours, tone, materiality and furnishing. It’s important depending on the usage to consider layout and circulation, the space planning of the room. It’s good to spend time in the space beforehand, particularly if it benefits from a lot of natural night, you want to understand where this moves in the day and how it may impact upon the colouring of the room. In a lot of traditional properties there can often be some hidden surprises when it comes to existing features you may want to keep or remove, also it’s important to integrate items you’re bound to in the design, such as electric points.
WHAT PROJECT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
After nearly 30 years in the industry it is hard to choose one, as there are a few that spring to mind. However, one that was a real game changer for us was our amazing church conversion project in Knightsbridge, which from an architectural perspective was hugely complicated – transforming 13m high spaces into zoned living and bedroom areas, whilst retaining the original brief of keeping the essence of the building and working with the Listing and Heritage consultants. It was a once in a lifetime project and one that we are hugely proud to have been a part of.
I’M CONSIDERING A CAREER CHANGE TO INTERIOR DESIGN – DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR GETTING INTO THE INDUSTRY?
I’m hugely committed to nurturing the next generation of talent, I regularly contribute as a guest speaker at the KLC School of Design and encourage all of their students to speak to me after the lectures. We run an internship programme in the studio and welcome young, talented designers into the studio for work shadowing placements throughout the year. We’re also proud to be a UNITEDinDESIGN partner and supported their fantastic apprenticeship scheme this year. Follow us on Instagram and sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest update on opportunities within our studio.