Today we’d like to introduce you to Christina Karras.
Hi Christina, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I currently live in Venice, CA and I am a self-professed homebody and find the most pleasure feeling the soul of my space and its artistry. My homes are always the backdrop for the life I live with my two children Taj and Camille and our two fur babies Mocha & Foxy. The earthy way I was raised and soulfully nurtured shaped my artistry and are the core ingredients of my design work and creativity.
I was surrounded by the great classic works of the Mid Century modern masters as my parents were collectors of their furniture. Eames, Knoll, Baughman, Jacobson, Platner and their groovy counterparts co-created the warmth of my childhood home, so from day one I understood the importance of visual impact. They taught me the base of all I derive my art from. I found my artist voice growing up with my family. My original influence lies in my beloved Northern California’s Mid Century modern 1970’s cool and sophisticated bohemian lifestyle. My parents restored and settled into a 1960’s home built by a protege of Frank Lloyd Wright in Los Altos Hills. It was a magical retreat where I have amazing memories with my eclectic family clan and childhood friends. The local country club was where I boarded my horse “Sandy.” I had no idea how interesting and classic my upbringing was until I started recreating it in my Interior Design projects. My mother was and is still a beautiful painter and my eccentric father who grew up as a “carny” was the solid dad and local doctor. Strong foundation allowed me to explore whatever my imagination conjured up. We traveled to and from while my father lectured, but my parent’s secret mission was to always find the coolest auctions, flea markets, galleries, hotels, artist gatherings and salons to hear the latest book reading.
And of course, my sister and I found great pleasure in discovering the local kids that spoke no English but showed us the epic adventures. I remember one distinct journey together in the south of France where sis and I met up with the gypsy children after school and played hide and seek in the walled city of Carcassonne. Too good to believe. Living our lives in age old art. I have continued my love for travel and now explore worldwide to expand my understanding of how art and beauty is ever-evolving as often as I can. I also like to stay connected with the creative community I have been working with for years. My relationships with collectors in Morocco, France, Greece, London, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Palm Springs continue to grow and inspire with each and every new project’s unique collection. Sometimes I will just collect incredible pieces with the knowing that the right house will come for that particular hand-picked selection. It always does… This bohemian life has deeply shaped me and inspired me to specialize in one of a kind Vintage, high-end artistry and unique custom pieces to create environments that soothe all those kindred homebodies out there. We find one another like a “tribe” and the tapestry of our lives weave into those special journeys I could spend years writing about.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Life is full of challenges and I have most definitely had my fair share. I am always growing. I live an artist life and make a living at it, so there are huge hurdles I meet along the way as a working creative. I put myself out there full throttle and sometimes I am received with love and enthusiasm and other times I am met with resistance and doubt but hey….that is all part of it. I believe in all aspects of effort and trial and error. I suppose I could play it safe and do what is within the expected boundaries, but where is the joie de vivre in that? As an artist in the physical and visual world, I want to create whimsical environments that make people think and feel. I mean, I create art that people live their lives in and make their memories in. Every collection I have created for each appointed home has had its own individual struggles with custom pouring out of every corner and high art being the end goal. To be honest, nothing seemed easy while I was first establishing myself, getting projects and being published and I learned as I went.
Most of the time I was just depending on my innate instinct and relationship with beautiful vignettes. My kids have stories of me falling asleep fully clothed with my tote still in my hand on the bed next to me without dinner on the table for them. I built my business through blood, sweat and tears and there were many tears looking back. The petal was pushed to the metal in the first five years of my build. I wouldn’t change any of it. When I was a new designer and looking for my voice, I wanted every space to have a big story. Lots of prints and patterns, glamour and drama and rich materials were the strong rock n roll vibe I loved. I look back now and see that it was a lot to take in all at once and am not drawn too much of that anymore. Sure…splashes of that in the right spot, but I have taken a big long look at what I want to feel and it’s more in the lines of peaceful and eclectic elegance. I feel I have earned the right to change my mind. There is spots of struggle within deep reflection and learning from what didn’t work. The humble acceptance of being young and green and wanting to be noticed.
I am relieved to be coming out the other side of the ever present edge that lies in that intense way of working. Letting go of what one knows is never easy, but realizing that I have developed and refined my craft in a way that I sense will sustain the test of time….for myself and for my clients. Nothing about art is smooth and the essence of it is to evoke something. It’s all about growth for me and what now! I am sure this won’t be the last transition I have but I do feel it’s one of the most important ones I have reached. The beauty of age is to rest more in what is. I have realized much about what I actually enjoy doing within my specific field and what brings the most beautiful outcome. I feel I have come full circle in how I started. I realized that for me, the place I shine is in the piece itself…..the art…the story and in harmony to how I was raised. Each selected item, vintage or new, the right lighting, flow of rooms indoors and out and always the California magic turns the house into a home. Nothing more, nothing less. To find your niche and focused joy takes time and experience, which dances hand in hand with struggle. I don’t feel I need to lean so hard into struggle anymore and for that, I am so grateful. I just want to make beautiful spaces…..one home at a time.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
My company is a boutique Interior Design firm with the focus on home Styling & Staging. We are collectors of fine furnishings from a variety of specialized vendors, auction houses, salvage yards, California buying trips and European flea markets and collectors. Our approach is to tell the story of someone’s life through Interior design, create art in the space they live or to offer the idea of what is possible in the search for the ideal home via staging and styling. I have long-standing relationships with factories, craftspeople and artisans, who allow us to create and curate whatever might be required which is an amazing resource. This is the beauty of working in this field for almost two decades, if I can’t find it, I make it. In the beginning phases of my company, I was solely enjoying the art of collecting and placement and that led into the wild and lucrative ride of house flipping and staging. It was such a rush when the potential buyers would love what I had done to the home and the furnishings and would request to purchase everything. That is how passion turned into a full-fledged published and accredited design studio.
So with all my different levels of experience within this amazing field of decor and design, I can lead with vision and knowledge so the highest and best outcome is achieved. It takes a village. I find my greatest pleasure currently in the sourcing, selecting & creating of the decor instead of diving into the full-scale remodels now. Creative directing, styling and staging are our inspired focus and it is extremely satisfying when the big picture becomes realized. We have the ability to find just the right piece or just create it with the help of our amazing upholster. We have been designing together since the beginning and he knows my style now and we have this great flow. I am surrounded by talented designers and artisans and when a new project is being considered, I know just who to turn to and collaborate with to get the whole thing going. Sometimes it’s just a bunch of beautiful chicks in a room coming up with incredible ideas. That is what sets us apart, I believe…..the established collaborations and relationships. The art of curating for a space is a special journey and we have spent the better part of our lives fine-tuning our vision. The work speaks for itself….artful, soulful, sensual, whimsical and with just the right blend of the old and the new.
What was your favorite childhood memory?
That’s easy….playing UNO with a convent of nuns in Rome around a table when I was twelve with my sister and mother. Mom was a consummate gatherer of super cool experiences when traveling, especially when my father was stuck back in the states working. She wanted to assure we had these special curated moments that would never leave our minds. Well, there are so many I could choose from within these “special moments” but the nun card games were so beyond. I mean they first of all held their UNO cards upside down as if they had never played cards before. I don’t know….maybe they hadn’t. But we were under the summer sky outside the Roman convent and they were full of giggles and pure love and joy while my sister and I taught them the game. We played endless hours the week we stayed there while exploring Rome. The city was nothing compared to the nuns and the convent and I still smile when I think on it. The gardens and the aroma of Italian life in the sacred life of their nuns. Not to mention the convent was so masterfully old and built with those huge stones that make Europe so alluring to me. My sister and I would sneak around during prayer and they were distracted (I think they all secretly knew we were exploring) and be in awe of the beauty of it all. The dim candle lights flickering and the age old religious art was everywhere, with the sound of the prayers and song. It was magnificent, even for a twelve years old girl ready for an adventure. Their unconditional love was like my Greek Yiya’s (grandmother in Greek) so it was familiar and warm so when we were all laughing in the courtyard at night, it was reminiscent of our eccentric Greek family.
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: christinakarras.com
- Instagram: christinakarras
Roger Davies Jessica Sample Rick Mendoza