Quick Five Questions with Karen Howes – Founder and CEO of Taylor Howes

How much of your design practice is interwoven with property development and architecture?

It’s a mix, 60% of the projects going through the studio currently are repeat clients and this is a blended mix of private clients, families and individuals and property developers and investor clients. The nature of work ebbs and flows with the wider economy. I’m proud to say that Taylor Howes is currently working across most of London’s major new property developments, either as the lead designer or working for a private client. We deliberately do not do in-house architecture, we feel the best end result for the client is a great architectural team working hand-in-hand with a talented interior design practice, that said there’s a close relationship between the two and we have architectural skills within the team to ensure the best professional relationship with the full team.

Is it more exciting to do private residential work or development show homes where you are free range?

It’s funny, because of the nature of our clients and NDAs we never get to show a lot of our private work off, development work allows us a freedom in this respect, as we can document and show the design process and of course, show the world the finished product. Development work also ensures we keep our skills and wider knowledge of the industry honed, it’s important to keep our commercial heads on and ensure we deliver something that’s going to help sell the property or entice super-prime renters, which is the case in one development we’re workin on. There’s nothing like the level of detail and sheer creativity we get to pour into some of our private client projects though. We get to work with artisans and craftspeople to commission and design the most exquisite and genuinely unique art-like pieces and this is thrilling.

Photo credit: Astrid Templier. Image credit: REDD x Taylor Howes Designs

You have diversified into furniture ranges and other aspects of interiors, is there still something you long to design?

We are currently working on an amazing chalet in the Alps. We have designed an apartment on the Njord super yacht and just finished a glam gothic apartment hotel in Soho. There is not much in our 30 years, being celebrated this year, that we haven’t done but a castle in Scotland is still on the wish list!

As your practice grows, how do you maintain your creativity?

Always employ talent better than you – it is the secret behind growing a practice! We never stand still – we do our trend report, Kaleidoscope every year sharing our insights into what is coming next and we ensure we travel a lot. We try to foster an environment where the team should feel open to visiting and exploring different exhibitions and shows and try to encourage them to go out and about as much as diaries permit.

How different was it designing your own house? Were you an easy client?

In truth, I hate designing my own home – I do everything I tell my clients not to do! It was a good exercise though as  it reminds me about the bewildering number choices we have working in such a creative arena. We’re very lucky to work in the world of interiors and completing my own home allowed me a refresher in walking the client journey.

Photo Credit of Chateau Denmark – Mel Yates


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