Minimalist and Americana and/or folk art aren't often paired - but designer Karin Blake has been combining them successfully for awhile. She's been on the "Architectural Digest Top 100 Interior Designers List" since its inception and she was a minamalist before there was even a word for it. Restraint is Karin Blake's signature.
The Malibu, California-based designer is a true believer in Mies van der Rohe’s philosophy that less is more. “I value negative space,” says Karin Blake, whose concise, highly edited interiors combine the whimsy of folk art with the precision of Modernism. The designer, who has many art collectors among her clientele, notes that there is a “gallery” feel to her interiors. “There’s not a lot of clutter,” she says. “Each piece stands out, even if it’s a table. I even avoid lamps whenever possible."
Speaking of the Cape Cod summer home she purchased three years ago, ”My children were being raised in California, it was important to get them out, to get to know the East Coast.” Especially Maine. “Maine attracted me because it doesn’t have the crowding and commercialization that’s happened in other areas. I had a little farm on Martha’s Vineyard, which I stupidly sold. When I lived there, the island was so charming, making what has happened since so sad. Maine, however, filled that void.” She pauses, laughing, “No T-shirts.”
Though the original house sat lakeside on over 100 acres, “the place was in terrible condition. The floors were a mess, it needed painting inside and out, and we had to gut the kitchen. Beyond that, the two barns had to be completely salvaged.”
“I love strong, primary colors,” Blake says. “A little bit of red in every room really helps.”
A daunting task but one Blake jumped on, ultimately creating a 15-odd-room (tiny ones notwithstanding) summer vacation haven, a much-improved version of the original home, where she and her family spent “at least a month every summer.” Even more personally, its warren of rooms provided the perfect backdrop for the true passion of this decorator’s life—collecting folk art. Indeed, a walk through its cascade of spaces is a flight of the imagination, a merry jaunt through whimsical Americana.
Karin Blake - Malibu, CA Phone: 310-456-8010 Fax: 310-456-1093
The above article is part of an ongoing series Highlighting Top Interior Designers; other top designers recently highlighted include: Jennifer Post *** Lillian August *** Carol Bolton Hicks *** Geoffrey Bradfield *** Paul Vincent Wiseman *** Sills Huniford Associates ***
Karin Blake is one of many hugely talented designers listed in our Directory of Designers . Feel free to peruse the Directory for help with your design project.