Decorating & Design - Inside Design

20 questions with Karen Sealy

Award-winning designer and HGTV series host Karen Sealy shares her best design tips for your home and where she finds her inspiration.

Learning the ins and outs of renovation and construction from a young age, to then studying the art of interior design, it is clear that being a designer is not just a career for Karen Sealy, but a genuine passion. As owner and lead designer of Sealy Design Inc., Karen strives to create fabulous spaces that are not only beautiful, but keep the homeowners’ needs and lifestyle at the foreground. It’s no wonder this talented woman is an award-winning designer, HGTV series host, and has had numerous television appearances, newspaper features and magazine spreads. Amidst her demanding schedule, we were fortunate enough to chat with Karen and learn what inspires her and get the scoop on her best design tips for your home.
Photography by Donna Griffith

1 If you could shadow any designer for a day, who would it be?

Karen Sealy This was a much tougher question than I thought it would be. I had a million possible answers, from iconic architects to innovative interior designers to fantastic fashion designers. I spent days trying to pick just one but I couldn't narrow it down. Then, boom! It hit me and I knew... Ray Staples. I sat as a young girl watching her on Cityline and knew I wanted to be an interior designer. More than that, I loved her no guff advice. She use to say if you asked her for her opinion you'd better take it. She was fearless.

2 Where do you look for an obscure source of inspiration?
KS Inspiration is all around us and it’s more about awareness – from nature to art installations to graphic design to built spaces. Most recently, I was on the Rocky Mountaineer Train from Calgary to Vancouver and the delicious food that is coming out of their tiny mobile kitchens is amazing. As much as I enjoyed the food I couldn't help but sneak a glimpse inside the galley to see what tricks they used to make efficient use of the space.

3 Favourite restaurant?
KS This is a tough question for me – a foodie and a designer. A restaurant isn't something I want to see pictures of but I want to experience it. The formula for my favourite restaurant is more than thoughtful or innovative design but how that translates into a favourable experience for the people who use and enjoy it, from the chef to the staff to the patrons. With all these factors in mind, I am going to say my new favourite is Hawksworth in Vancouver. With its amazing ceilings, stunning chandeliers, one-of-a-kind art, working wine room, kitchen (with the cobalt blue stoves), there is so much to love. Not to mention the fresh and wholesome food that tastes wonderful and is plated to match.

4 What’s your favourite room to decorate?
KS Any room where the person we are creating it for allows their personality to be reflected in the space. That is what true design is all about. It isn't meant to appeal to absolutely everyone. That’s impossible and far too safe.

Lead image by Tim Leyes.

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