A Conversation with Interior Designer Kara Cox
Tell us about Kara Cox Interiors. How did you get started? How many years have you been in business? I started my career in the fashion industry in NYC but transitioned into the home furnishings industry when I moved back to NC in 2003. I have worked on every side of the industry-as a fabric buyer for a large upholstery manufacturer, as an editor for a home furnishings trade magazine where I realized that actually creating design was much more fun than writing about it. I returned to college for a second degree in Interior Design and began working for a designer in Greensboro as her intern in 2008. She was an incredible mentor and pushed me to start my own business after the birth of my second child in 2010.
What was your favorite design/project/client? I just finished a project in a fairly small house for a client that gave me total free reign on creativity and a great budget to work with. We took a builder home and really personalized to their taste. It’s a true testament to quality over quantity.
What trends do you see right now in interior design? Kitchen and/or bath? Brass Is back! After years of cooler metal tones and dark bronze metals are returning to a warm brass finish but in very paired down modern forms. Not your 80s brass! I think color is making a comeback also. Grays and whites are tiring and people are ready for color again.
What new innovations should consumers keep their eye out for? 3d printing is allowing product designer to do some really great things. I love the new 3d faucets from DXV for bathrooms specifically. Also appliances are really integrating so much technology into the kitchen now. From steam ovens to refrigerator cameras that make grocery lists…technology is being used to help homeowners live healthier and with better time management.
Tell us about your piece in Domino? My husband and I purchased a 1954 mid-century home last September and were approached by Domino shortly after to partner with them on the renovation of the home. We took on an extensive renovation including replacing all flooring, opening up walls, all new light fixtures, hardware, a new kitchen, and three new bathrooms. Through Domino’s partnership we were introduced to some amazing brand partners and are thrilled with the results.
What inspired you to use copper for this installation? I loved meeting the team at Thompson Traders and learning about their capabilities with their copper designs. I loved the customization of the hood and vanity and the ability to customize the finish for a mixed metal look.
What do you like about using copper? Although many people think of copper as a traditional, sometimes rustic metal, we were able to create a really modern feel by using burnished nickel and antique brass finishes on the hood in the kitchen and an antique brass finish on the vanity in the powder room. It’s a more budget friendly option than using real brass, and we have the same amazing look of a metal hood.
What accessories do you like with copper sinks in the kitchen and bath? I like for bath accessories to stay very clean and simple. Lucite, clean white accessories or glass are a nice pairing with any metal finish. When you have a beautiful handcrafted sink let it be the star and keep the accessories simple.
Do you use other metals or materials with copper? I am a huge fan of mixed metals. It’s one of the first conversations I have with clients when we are working on a remodel or construction project. The metal finishes you choose for hardware, plumbing fixtures and lighting can set the tone for the entire project. My aesthetic is a blend of classic and modern styles so I do the same with metals. A good mix of finishes keeps anything from becoming too trendy.
Is there a particular style that you use copper with? Copper can be used in any style of décor with the customization that Thompson Traders offers. The traditional copper sinks are great for more traditional spaces but using the same sink in a polished nickel finish works just as well in a modern room. In our home, we mixed burnished nickel and brass finishes on the copper hood in a spare, modern kitchen. It really allows the hood to be the jewelry in the room.
How important is using environmentally friendly materials, like copper, when designing a kitchen and/or bath? Environmentally friendly materials are important in any room. Copper is great because it’s a sustainable material that’s easy to maintain and will last for years without need to replace or update.
On Thompson Traders
What drew you to Thompson Traders and their products for the installation? I was actually introduced to them by a mutual friend. After doing some research and learning more about their company’s history and their capabilities I knew we could create some beautiful pieces together. Their aesthetic was original and unique which are two things I highly value in my own home and for clients.
What was your experience like working with Thompson Traders and their products? They were an absolute pleasure to work with. They were so willing to customize designs and always open to my ideas. Designers love it when we are able to create unique designs and the manufacturer says, sure we can do that! Communication is also key to good vendor relationships and they were always quick to respond and help in any way they could to make the design process easier for me.
Talk about the craftsmanship of the Thompson Traders hand-hammered sinks. Thompson Traders metal pieces are truly works of art. Every edge is smooth and the finishes are hand applied. You can see the time and effort that went into creating each piece. I feel so lucky to have them in my home and now the homes of my clients also. They take great pride in their work and want the quality to reflect the true talent of their artisans.
Would you use Thompson Traders again? I have already worked with Thompson Traders on another hood design for a new construction project I just finished. It was just as exquisite and unique as my own. I already have plans for several other sinks and vanities for other clients in the works. Because I can continue to customize the designs the options are endless and each client feels special when they receive their copper hood or sink.