Award winning interior designer Carey Karlan is the principal of interior design firm Last Detail located in Darien, CT. Carey’s approach to design embraces the concept of flexibility. She listens intently to her clients and prides herself on having the ability to envision and create interiors to suit any size of style of home and any lifestyle.
What inspired this career path for you?
I think you are just born with an interest in interior design. It starts with dollhouses and builds from there. I used to draw out floor plans of my “dream house” when I was in grade school and insisted that everyone appreciate them. Professionally this is my second career, chosen for flexibility while raising five children, including triplets!
What is your go-to source for inspiration?
Color is usually my first inspiration. I am at one with the color decks from all the quality paint manufacturers, and have an inventory of hundreds of painted color samples! You can imagine how happy I am to move away from the all-gray trend of late. Beyond that, almost anything can spark an idea: fashion, movie sets, shelter magazines, nature, travel, a singular piece of furniture or an unusual wallpaper. Instagram is an easy way to get a quick jolt of design inspiration and I’m using it more and more.
Tell us about your creative process.
The creative process comes AFTER the practical aspects of the job are determined in terms of the result desired by the client. Next, I look for the “controlling element” from which everything will spring. Could be a fabric, color scheme, rug, mood, theme, piece of art, etc. We just need to find that one defining element we can build on.
Describe your style in 6 words or less.
Complete, eclectic, classic, colorful, high-quality, strong.
What’s a staple in your tool kit?
Back to those paint color boards. Beyond that, I also go old-school on occasion and make paper templates of furniture for placement. CAD drawings are great and I provide them, but sometimes it helps the client visualize the room better if they can experience walking around the furniture, really seeing the size of the coffee table, etc. Seeing is believing!
Who do you look up to in the design world?
I admire Alessandra Branca for her knowledge and appreciation of classic art and architecture, Thom Filicia for his fresh take on an all-American look, Victoria Hagan for her clean and muscular clarity, Ellie Cullman for her chic and perfectly edited rooms, Sister Parish for bringing painted floors and wicker into the living room, and Miles Redd for his utter audacity!
If you could design a space for anyone, what kind of space and for whom would it be?
I would choose a highly successful businesswoman who has no time to shop, a large budget, a willingness to delegate, a love of color, and a touch of whimsy. It would be a small but luxurious NYC apartment with fabulous views and rooms designed for entertaining. Art and interesting objects would abound against a multi-layered background.
Tell us your favorite design related word, phrase, or quote.
Seeing is believing!
Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without?
The design blog Quintessence is wonderful! I love the highly intelligent, in-depth coverage of all aspects of design accompanied by beautiful photos. Reading the blog is an education and a pleasure.
What do you love about Viyet?
Viyet gives you the opportunity to pick up some really great statement pieces at reasonable prices. I love the mix of antique as well as contemporary items. Just checking in now and then can get the creative juices flowing and expose you to more styles rather than just relying on your usual go-to vendors.