Karin Blake: design retrospective

 Many months ago I did a little post about a designer that has influenced me probably more that an other...and just the other day I received yet
another comment about her 
and how wonderful her work is
 Her name is Karin Blake and her designs are timeless, 
 striking and very personal 

 Perhaps the most important aspect of her work lies in her love of 
American Folk Art

 She is a true minimalist and shows us that less
is indeed more
 Karin's work is so true and consistent
that you immediately recognize it as hers 

 Many of her bedrooms feature a black bed
and almost always a four poster
 She began mixing industrial and utilitarian objects with folk art 
long before it was common

 She often has collections of firkins...
I was so taken with these that I started collecting them too...
almost 20 years ago 
 Old bikes and trikes find their way into her rooms as well
 Every house seems to include a bit of something red
This is Karin at the front door of her own house 
on the east coast
 Many of the homes she has designed are blessed with
spectacular settings and architecture

 Somehow this room seems very cozy despite the size
 and the soaring volume of this space

 Even in many of the larger homes
she manages to find that cozy niche
that she knows will most likely be a favorite of the homeowner

 Karin's kitchens are often  similar and always
open and uncluttered and minimalistic

 The warmth of the wood...from the floors, to the built in details
 is so beautiful
 Many of the furnishing are antique but she also uses furniture
that is new and modern and blends the two 

 Both of these rooms are especially beautiful
in their simplicity and use of Folk Art and color

 Amish quilts, often very geometric
are a signature  component...
I have often wondered what her trick is
to hang these without damaging the textile

Another spectacular kitchen above....and how amazing is the stenciled floor!
 This is really one of my favorite bedrooms 

 Or maybe it's this bedroom.....?
 Or this one!
 This bathroom was an inspiration for my own
 These and many more photographs can be found on the 
Architectural Digest web site

Thanks you Ms Blake for the many years of inspiration!

Have a simple and happy weekend!

; 0 )
  1. That was an awesome review of an extremely talented designer. Blew me away.
    - Joy

  2. My take away from her work is the warm woods she uses... I love them.. Have them in my own house and even with the trends or dark and now light and swedish... I still love me some warm wood!!

  3. I can see how you take inspiration from these, Kell, but your interiors have a layering and lushness that I much prefer.

  4. love her work and Nancy Fishelson's but I agree with with Urban Cottage you have mastered the art of layering loved the house you sold just perfection

  5. I have seen some of her work, but never knew who she was as the photos were never attributed to her as a designer. I love American Folk Art, and I think you should consider yourself in the same league as Ms. Blake. I love your sense of style and your ability to mix old and new to create design perfection!

    Kat :)

  6. What a lovely tribute and a terrific post. I, too, am now a fan!

  7. Gorgeous Inspiration Kelley! I can totally tell how she's inspired you to create your gorgeous interiors! BTW LOVED the fireplace redo.

    I'm having some problems posting comments on your blog - so I'm gonna try this anonymously.


  8. Yeah, I think it's a google problem! ERK! Anyway - now you know it's me! :)

  9. Thank you for giving us an opportunity to learn about yet another designer. Her work is truly wonderful. I love how she can take one large antique piece and finish a room.

  10. I can definitely see why you are drawn to her style....but I agree with Urban Cottage....I like a tiny bit more layering. Not to say that she is not extremely talented!

  11. Adrianne from VenturaOctober 29, 2011 at 7:18 AM

    What a great post! I have been a huge fan of Karen Blake ever since I saw photos of Candace Bergen's house in Architectural Digest over almost 13 years ago. Thanks for sharing all the photos.
    p.s. - Love what you have done to your Ojai house. I was fortunate that my parents moved to Ojai when I was 10 and I grew up there. Such a beautiful town!

  12. Kelley,
    great design....i pinned alot of her images for future reference..thx for sharing!

  13. How absolutely lovely this post is! I've seen her work, but didn't know her name...now I do. And I want to just go tear my house apart and redo it! Thanks so much for all the photos.

  14. really great review of her work! thanks. I love the chickens and other animal weather vanes that she seems to use a lot of and I did love those giant scissors!
    You are definitely in league with her!!

  15. i really love this minimalistic approach. it proves that with less, you notice more. i can def see her influence in your work, esp the use of greens and reds and woods. your good gurl.

  16. Kelly, I love her work. I couldn't find a formal web site of hers when i was posting about kitchens. I am so glad you did a post on her. Thanks, Julie

  17. Kelley, I have intended to post about Karin Blake for a long time. I may do a follow up and link to you - I can't do as good of a job as you did, but would love to share my enthusiasm with my readers and bring them to you as well. You did a SUPERB job!! What lovely photos you shared and your comments are right on. I have loved her work for years, and am crazy about the way she incorporates folk art and color into minimalist design! She was doing this way before anyone else!! Thanks so so much for such a fabulous post - I think I am going to PIN the entire post for my forever files!!

  18. Thank you for all of the wonderful and thoughtful comments. Karin may in fact be a bit too minimalist for some but I suspect that the houses she works on continue to evolve with more art and interesting objects as time goes by!

    I guess she doesn't have a web site because she doesn't really need one!

    xoxo kelley

  19. Love that so many of her pieces have a history. Looking at them my mind wanders to who may have owned them over the years, the houses they have lived in, the family stories surrounding them. Karin has such a unique style, I can understand why she is one of your design heroes Kelley.
    Millie x

  20. I loved everything about this post.

  21. I loved all the inspiration this has given me for my recently purchased farmhouse "redo." Thank you for posting!

  22. Very Good, I like this design. I also recommend the Diamond.

    Designed to be the crown jewel of the Portuguese brand Boca do Lobo, the trimmer of Diamond demonstrates the ability of the jewelers of furniture and certainly justifies the title. This object opulent, full of resources and desire, has two doors that reveal an interior gold leaf carefully shaped with shelves and two drawers. Furniture inspired by Gothic Romantic period, with its ability to harness the power of imagination, foresight, exhaust, not to mention his strong style.


  23. Kelly

    I know this is an old post but I too have been inspired by her. I love her minimalist gallery like approach. I would not be able to live in that environment but as with you...she has inspired me more than any other. I would love to see more of her recent work. Thanks for the wonderful post

  24. This is indeed a great collection of wonderfully decorated or designed homes! Karin has certainly made a statement of her own and her works so unique. Every detail really works perfectly and the colors are just perfect. Thank you sharing this amazing post. Several readers will surely learn so much from these.

  25. That is one amazing house. The 9th picture caught most of my attention because of the floor. The chequered design and the contrast of the colors are just so amazing. Another way to refresh the look of your flooring Houston (as an example). It just went so well with the room. It is absolutely perfect! Thank you!

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