20 Questions with Karen Sealy

17 July 2014 - 3:42pm

Get To Know - Karen Sealy 

Award-winning Designer Karen Sealy Karen is the owner of Sealy Design Inc, and is a regular decor expert on Cityline and is the host and designer of HGTV’s S1 "Summer Home". Karen is also the winner of HGTV’s Designer SuperStar Challenge and has been featured in a variety of media outlets from the New York Times and Elle Décor to Style at Home and Canadian Living.

Visit her website: www.sealydesigninc.com

20 Questions: 

What is the biggest misconception about you?

As a Designer I am really good with space utilization so people think I focus on small space design, where I really specialize in smart design allocation- big or small.


What is the biggest mistake people make when they start decorating their homes?

Design should start with the items that you are going to spend the most money on and therefore least likely to change, like a beautiful area rug or a well-crafted sofa, yet people often start with paint.  This locks them into a colour direction and makes finding pieces that work with their taste and budget even tougher.


If you could shadow any designer for a day, who would it be?  

Karim Rashid! Design is design.  The methodology is basically the same across mediums and disciplines.  So I gravitate to designers who ‘play’ in multiple arenas allowing their creative influence to cross pollinate.  Karim Rashid has successfully designed everything from objects to interiors to brand identities… and he seems fun, too!


What is your own personal design style?

That’s like asking a chef their favorite ingredient! I have a passion for design and an appreciation for all styles. If I owned a Parisian flat, a Muskoka cottage and a Tahitian retreat they would all be completely different.  What they would have in common is the design would be 100% functional for that environment and how I live when I am there.


What advice would you say to your 20 year old self now?

My path to today wasn’t direct but every experience brought me to this wonderful place, so I wouldn’t want to jeopardize that journey and where I’ve ended up.  I would likely say… “Enjoy and always trust your instincts.”


Finish this sentence....  'Good design is…'  functional and beautiful.


Inspiration comes from many places where, what or who is yours?

Getting out! Restaurants, nature, travel…   design is experiential and inspiration is all around us. All you need to do is open up to it!


Favourite design shop?



Classic all time favourite paint colour?

Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter- a chameleon of colours!


Favourite Chocolate Bar?

Lindt milk chocolate with hazelnuts.


What can you not live without?

Good friends, laughter, music, yummy food and a little wine is nice, too.


Favourite Quote or Saying?

Err on the side of action.


What's a fav song you never get tired of ?

Andrew Sisters “Rum and Coca Cola” it always makes me want to sing and dance!


Who would you most like to be stuck in an elevator with?

An engineer or a stocked bartender.  Ideally both.


What do you love most about Toronto? 

The diversity, the neighbourhoods and that’s it’s a friendly, safe, clean city on the water.


If you could choose another career what would it be?

I love design so I can’t imagine.  Teaching design ;)


What is your next project?

We always have several underway.  Designing for clients who live in Dubai has been interesting.