Kari Whitman and jessica alba
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Best Interior Designers, Interviews, North America

Kari Whitman | Exclusive Interview

Kari Whitman Interiors (KWI) was created by Kari Whitman in 1994 as a design-build firm specializing in high-end residential interior design. Kari’s commercial interior design experience includes everything from condominiums to estate homes, boutique hotels to large-scale residential developments. Jessica Alba, Kristen Bell, Melanie Griffith, Antonio Banderas, Don Johnson, Virginia Madsen, Emilio Estevez, and Don Henley are among the celebrities who have sought out her high-end interior design firm for her distinctive eclectic flair and expertise in eco-friendly and pet-friendly design.


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Kari Whitman


Kari Whitman celebrity interior designer





How did you get involved in the interior design Industry?

I’ve had a passion for design since the age of five and got sidetracked into acting until I was twenty-six. I then started my company and thank God I’m on the right track now, as the design is my passion.


Kari Whitman


How would you describe your work style? Do you have any kind of signatures that help to identify your projects?

My work style is always about the personality affinities and “vibe” of the client. Because I’m lucky enough to have many creative and artistic clients, I believe this enables me to be very creative and diversified. I also always create designs with animals and Mother Earth in mind.


BRABBU upholstery Malay chair


Being in love with our work is always the key to achieving better Are you in love with this job? What do you love most about being an interior designer?

Of course, I’m in love with this job! I could never work 80-100 hours a week and not be in love with something. I love every aspect of interior design from construction, to creating furniture and art, and being able to see every phase to the end result.


Kari Whitman


What is your philosophy on design and life?

My philosophy is to always create a design that reflects a client’s personality. I believe a good designer or creator for another human must be open to creating for that human, not for one’s self. My philosophy in life is: never problems, only solutions, knowledge is power, and treat the earth and animals with respect. Also, art creates life and life creates art.



Keeping up to date on all the trends is essential for anyone who wants to conquer this In what ways do you keep current with new trends?

I’m a trendsetter, not a trend follower. I believe the best trend is individuality, independence, and security in your decision. But, I do get very inspired by going to furniture and art shows in Europe. I’m also inspired by mixing the old with the new and adding art is the “cherry on top” with many flavors of sprinkles.


Kari Whitman dining room interior design


Which major international events do you attend/follow to get the latest novelties?

I attend Maison & Objet, Art Basel, Salone Del Mobile as well as many thrift stores in London, Paris, and art school graduation exhibits.




How would you describe your personal decorating style?

ECLECTIC! Earth-friendly and animal friendly!


Kari Whitman contemporary living room design


All artists need some inspiration to work, and interior designers are artists So, what or who really inspires you?

Nature inspires me the most. The mixing of colors of bark on a tree, the inside of an oyster shell, or the different colors in each grain of sand. Some of my favorite furniture designers are Vladimir Haagen, Paul Williams, and I love Philippe Starck.


Inspiration is something that pushes everyone to create something unique. What makes you see the world in a different way?

I believe that I am inspired most by ideas and things that are not basic or that I’ve seen before. That’s not to say that I’m trying to be different, it’s to say that I’m bored of everyone copying what they think is on-trend. I get inspired by creating my own trends within my world for my clients.


Kari Whitman


If you had to pick one project around the world that you wish was made by you, which one would it be?

There’s a house in Boulder, Colorado by Charles Haertling that is built into the side of a rock, timeless and I’m jealous I didn’t think of that! My best friend in elementary school lived in it and I think that brought up a lot of inspiration in me. I also am always a fan of the great Frank Lloyd Wright. I’m also a huge fan of Carpenter’s Workshop.


House of Boca do Lobo NYC




How important is a perfect chemistry between you and your clients to achieve the best results?

EXTREMELY important! I choose my clients just like they choose.


Kari Whitman and jessica alba


Choosing the best pieces to compose a project can be the secret to getting the best overall Although it seems easy, this is a delicate task and needs full attention on time to execute. Do you have some tips for those who do not know well how to start a challenge like this?

I would advise affinity is your friend, don’t have rules for yourself, and look in thrift stores, antique shops, offer up, garage sales, etc. because you never know what you will find. And, remember, anything is possible. If you love the lighting, why not install 5 chandeliers in your dining room instead of one? Do not create rules for yourself. Find you an inner artist.


Kari Whitman celebrity interior designer


Do you think working with teams in interior design is better or worse than working alone? Why?

I absolutely love working with my team. I feel like we play off of each other very well and they are extremely beneficial in helping me and the clients accomplish the overall goal.


Casa Paris




Is there anything exciting that you are working on at the moment that you can tell us about?

Yes! I am doing my first boutique hotel in my hometown and it’s a dream for me. I’ve always wanted to do a 5-star boutique hotel that focuses on art, creativity, mother Earth, where every room has its own personality. I’m also finishing Nikki Sixx’s house in Jackson Hole, WY and I love working with him.


Kari Whitman living room design


What has been your greatest accomplishment as a designer? What goals do you have for the future?

My greatest accomplishment has been that my phone never stops ringing with people who want to hire me and that none of my projects look the same as they are always a reflection of my client’s personalities.


Kari Whitman


Do you have a favorite project or a favorite story about one of your projects?

Working with artists in any realm has always been so inspiring for me. Doing Don Henley’s and Nikki Sixx’s music room and developing a wine room and bottling area for Emilio Estevez was so fun and different, yet pushed me creatively. All of my projects are my favorite project, as I do not take on a project unless I’m inspired by the human behind it.


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