At home with...interior designer Karen Knox

Karen at work at her dining room table
Karen at work at her dining room table
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Karen Knox is a Leeds-based interior designer and co-founder of the Interior Design Collective, www.making-spaces.net.

Q: Describe your home and its style: It’s a mid-century, three bed semi in North Leeds. It’s an average sized, normal-ish family house with an open plan kitchen/diner and converted loft space. Style wise it’s a mix of mid-century and Scandinavian with a dash of industrial scattered about. I love raw, natural materials, anything reclaimed or a bit battered.

Karen's sitting room, which is painted black

Karen's sitting room, which is painted black

I experiment on my own place quite a lot, so wall colours often change, lighting and artwork is updated quite regularly. I feel it puts me in a better position with my interior design work, as I can give people advice from experience. Many people want dark rooms at the moment so I can tell them what it’s like to live with, as I painted our living room black back in 2015 and our bedroom a dark teal, ceiling and all in 2016. Our house is like my canvas to play with which helps massively with my work.

Q: What is on your interiors wish list? New windows. I can’t wait to get rid of our ugly white plastic windows. I’d also love a new sofa.

Q: Which household items could you not live without? Art. I don’t really notice how much I have until people come to visit for the first time and point it out. It’s everywhere and it’s still coming. I have a drawer full of poster/print tubes of work that still isn’t framed.

I also love baskets. Pop one in each room to tackle the clutter. They also look cool too.

Karen loves storage baskets like these, �25 for a set of three, from Made.com at Redbrick Mill, Batley.

Karen loves storage baskets like these, �25 for a set of three, from Made.com at Redbrick Mill, Batley.

Q: Which designers do you most admire: Without a doubt, my fellow Interior Design Collective members. They’re amazingly talented, creative and generally wonderful. I and Fiona Duke of Fiona Duke Interiors in Chelmsford founded the IDC last year. We fly the flag for the very best accessible and independent interior designers. We are very excited to have launched the very first IDC Design Surgery, which is a consultation style workshop for people wanting help with their own home projects and design dilemmas. The first one is at the MADE.com showroom on the top floor of Redbrick on Saturday, June 30, 10am-3pm. www.interiordesigncollective.co.uk

Q: What is your favourite building? I love Leeds city centre and the beautiful Victorian architecture, in particular the Corn Exchange, which is where I met my now husband on our first date and also Leeds Town Hall, which is also where we got married exactly five years later to the day we first met.

Q: Is there anything exciting you at the moment in terms of design? The ever expanding use of materials and surface coverings excites me very much indeed. Long gone are the days where it’s either paint or wallpaper for your walls. Bare plaster? Timber cladding? Microcement? Living walls? Corten steel panels? Tiles? (not just for the bathroom anymore). They’re not for everyone or every house. You’ve got to work with what you have, but sometimes thinking outside the box can result in something so much more interesting than the expected.

Q: What and where is your ideal home? I love our house, despite wishing is was a little bigger, but I love it because of the area, the neighbours and the community it sits in. If I was going to choose a fantasy home, it would be a period property, probably Victorian/Edwardian with high ceilings, original period features, parquet flooring throughout. It would need underfloor heating and would be heavily insulated. I’m always cold and period properties, despite being beautiful, are a nightmare to keep warm. I’d also have a large, open plan kitchen/family space with hidden storage everywhere,

Karen likes using alternatives to paint and paper, like these tiles from The Baked Tile Company.

Karen likes using alternatives to paint and paper, like these tiles from The Baked Tile Company.

Q: Who would you most like to invite to dinner? It would need to be lunch or a 5pm dinner because I am in bed by 8pm and asleep for 9pm. I think Bob Mortimer would make a good lunch date. He’s got lots of stories.