Interview Of Karen Howes, Founder & CEO Of British Luxury Interior Design Firm Taylor Howes

Karen Howes, Founder & CEO of London-based interior design firm Taylor Howes, describes herself as a passionate interior designer. Already at a young age, she used to rearrange and re-design her room, always smiling at the outcome. At the age of 18, she shared an apartment in King’s Cross with Martin Waller, worldwide furniture retailer and founder of Andrew Martin. Ever since, he has been a great inspiration and supporting mentor -Karen says. Soon after, at age 21, her career started when she launched her first interior design business. During that time, she met Gail Taylor while working on an important show apartment for a leading house-builder. This collaboration led to the birth of Taylor Howes, which has continued to expand its reputation as one of the world’s leading interior design firms.

  • What type of projects does Taylor Howes work on?

We have up to 30 projects on the go at one time. The projects all differ. We really enjoy working on complex and challenging properties, as there is more space to be imaginative.

  • What has been your biggest challenge throughout your career as an interior designer? 

To know it all. I love the fact that I am on a learning curve, always having to look out for the newest trends, styles, designs, even colors. Each new project is inspirational and each client has a specific outcome in mind.

  • What inspires your work?

I have been living in London for 30 years now, an the city offers a lot of inspiration through its theatres, museums or galleries. Working with my team, and having creative meetings at the office has also been inspirational, as we are more innovative when we work together. Additionally, I love to travel, whether for business or pleasure, I always come back with new and fresh ideas.

  • How would you describe the language of your designs? 

Clever, elegant and glamorous is reflected in all of our work, but we also aim to make it easy to live in. We always try to exceed the customer’s expectation by creating something unique with the help of bold colors, artwork or an unusual object for example. It brings out that special wow-factor.

  • Would you put a label to your style?

No, because we don’t have a specific style. We work around the clients’ needs and desires. Of course there are certain factors which are important for me to include for a complete outcome, such as lighting and specific colors that would give the property a certain vibe, but I would not say that we have a style that has been carried out through every single project.

  • According to your opinion, which factors contribute to make a good interior?

There are many factors. Lighting for sure, fabrics are also an important factor, also the scale of the interior, knowing how to work with high ceilings, curved walls and other features on the property. The combination of different styles and patterns. There is a fine line, where combination of different styles can go perfectly hand-in-hand or awfully wrong. We are known for symmetry and being able to work with patterns. For example incorporating a classic luxury style into a contemporary look. It is the clean lines in both joinery and furniture that helps me combine both styles.

  • Is there any essential element that always accompany your projects?

Colors. I love colors and could not be restricted by one color only. I get on a ‘theme’ each season, one year it was Hermes Orange, another one navy blue, white and gold. There are infinite combinations and can be adjusted for each client.

  • How do you approach the role of the client during the design process?

We pay special attention to the relationships we hold with our clients. We want the final outcome to be personal to them. We spend a lot of time getting to know our clients, to understand them and work with them as much as possible on the design, in order to create an inspiring, but yet practical home. ‘Just remember who pays the fees – the client is always right!’ – a wise advice from Mary Fox Linton which I have benefitted from.

  • Is there any specific project that you would like to work on and that you have as pending assignment? 

I would love to work on a Boutique hotel.

  • Do you have any big projects coming up? 

We are currently working on a variety of projects that are larger in scale and have longer lead times. On of the biggest projects we are designing at the moment is a private residence for a family in Maida Vale.

  • Please, tell us a bit more about your collection. Are you planning to expand it?

We hope that our collection will be constantly evolving and that we will keep it fresh with new pieces added on a regular basis. The great thing about our studio is that we can prototype each piece here and then make any necessary tweaks to ensure it is perfect before we use them in projects.

  • What can you tell about the interior design industry nowadays?

London, New York and Dubai are the interior design meccas at the moment – they are the places where new styles are being born which is very exciting and fun to be a part of.

  • What is luxury for you?

Without doubt for me, luxury is having more time for my family

  • Could you please describe what the word success means to you? Do you consider yourself a successful individual?

In my worklife, success is having a happy team and being able to work on inspirational and exceptional projects. I am very happy and proud of what Taylor Howes has achieved and where we are heading but I think that being successful is not just something that we can relate to work, but life as a whole. For me having the love of an amazing and supportive family is the greatest achievement.

  • How would you encourage people to do what they really want in life?

Be brave and follow you dreams. Nothing is impossible. | Facebook: TaylorHowesDesigns | Instagram: taylorhowesdesigns | Author: Cristina Roselló | Director at The Hedonist Magazine |