Interview : Karen Knox, Co-Founder of the Interior Design Collective

Livingroom design by Karen Knox member of the Interior Design Collective

Drawing room design by Karen Knox of Making Spaces

Today I want to share with you, an interview I have done with a really inspiring designer. Karen Knox of Making Spaces is based in Leeds and I’ve been following her design work for a few years now. Her projects are bold, brave, exciting and always make a statement. She really knows how to push the boundaries of her client’s comfort zone and they always thank her for helping them to achieve something a little more daring than they were originally prepared to try.

I’ve always said that if Karen was based in Devon, I’d get her in to design my home because I really love her style. But sadly Devon is slightly outside of her catchment area. And this is a problem that Karen encountered frequently as people from all over the country were getting in touch wanting to enlist her services. But interior design isn’t really something that is easy to achieve at a distance or online. It works much better in person and on site.

It was this experience that got Karen thinking and after a number of conversations with fellow designer Fiona Duke of Fiona Duke Interiors, they agreed that there was a huge gap in the market. Together they decided it was high time to break the established stereotype that interior design was only for ‘a select few’ and they set out to meet the growing demand with a brand new business venture. And that is how the Interior Design Collective came to be. I asked Karen to answer some questions so we can all learn a little bit more about this great new group of designers.

Interior Design Collective Co-Founders

IDC Co-Founders Karen Knox (Left) and Fiona Duke (Right)

What is the Interior Design Collective?
The Interior Design Collective (IDC), which launched in August 2017, is a specially selected network of freelance, independent interior designers. Creative designers that are challenging the preconceptions about what interior design is and who it’s for. The IDC celebrates those talented designers who offer professional, inspirational and flexible interior design services in different cities of the country, making it easy for you to connect with someone close to home.

As well as showcasing the work of our amazing designers, the Interior Design Collective runs a private online platform, offering a positive and effective form of communication for our freelance community. We’ve already passed several client leads and projects between the group as well as dealing with design dilemmas on a daily basis.

Kitchen design by Cathy Dean member of the Interior Design Collective

Kitchen design by Cathy Dean of Cathy Dean Interior Design

How did the idea come about?
Myself (Karen Knox of Making Spaces) and Fiona Duke from Fiona Duke Interiors have been running our own successful design studios since 2015/14 and our paths first crossed on Instagram last year, where we began chatting about the interior design industry, the benefits and pitfalls of being freelance and the struggle to keep up with the growing demand for design work. We identified a huge gap in the market for professional, creative and accessible interior design across the whole of the UK. We were determined to fill it and this is where the concept for the the Interior Design Collective came from.

Livingroom design by Kate Lovejoy member of the Interior Design Collective

Living room design by Kate Lovejoy of Kate Lovejoy Interiors

How many members do you have now and how do you find new members?
We currently have 16 designers representing Edinburgh to Devon and London to Leeds. But we are still searching. There isn’t a day that goes by where Fiona and I aren’t checking out Instagram feeds, Houzz, Google, but  accessible design is not easy to find. Not outside of London anyway. Another reason the Interior Design Collective was set up, was to highlight the fact that good design isn’t only available in London. I’m based in Leeds, we have members further north in Northumberland and Edinburgh, in Swansea, down on the South west coast… Good design should be available to everyone with every kind of budget in as many areas of the UK as possible.

Bathroom design by Siobahn Hayles member of the Interior Design Collective

Bathroom design by Siobhan Hayles of Siobhan Hayles Interiors

Members have to fit in with the IDC ethos. What is the IDC ethos exactly?
It’s hard to sum up but we are looking for designers that are just that little bit different. Creative, unique interior designers that have developed their own distinctive look, working in real homes, with realistic budgets, creating unique interiors nationwide. It’s not just about qualifications, memberships or industry accolades, we are excited and inspired by innovative interior design.

Livingroom design by Caroline Firth member of the Interior Design Collective

Living room design by Caroline Firth of Cheshire Interior Design

What are the benefits of choosing an IDC member to work on your interior design project?
There are so many benefits, the list is infinite really….. When you work with a member of the IDC you’re getting a designer who is supported within our private forum. Something each of us use every day in order to bat ideas around, solve problems, find that elusive item and keep costs down to make our budget stretch as far as it can. Fiona and I have worked really hard to build up a list of fantastic trade partners too. Brands we love and are  inspired by. Our trade parters offer IDC members exclusive trade discounts which go a long way in making our projects the very best they can be.

The hive mind of the IDC is an invaluable asset and with our members being based across the whole of the UK we get to find out about small independent brands that might not be known outside of their locale. It’s a fantastic source of inspiration and we’re a bloody lovely group too. So much so, our members are beginning to meet up for events, launches etc. We even had a Christmas do this year. One in Leeds for the northern contingent and one in London for the southern based lot.

Dressing Room Design by Fiona Duke member of the Interior Design Collective

Dressing room design by Fiona Duke of Fiona Duke Interiors

Are there any areas where you are still lacking IDC members?
YES! Lots. We can’t actually believe how hard it’s been to find accessible and forward thinking designers across certain parts of the UK; the whole of the midlands in particular is a tricky place to find someone. Our IDC map gives you the locations of everyone but there are plenty more areas we still need to cover!

Master Bedroom Design by Karen Knox member of the Interior Design Collective

Master bedroom design by Karen Knox of Making Spaces

What is your long-term goal for the IDC?
Our aim is to grow and develop the collective so the IDC becomes synonymous with the very best in creative, UK interior design. We hope to offer support, inspiration and further opportunities by working together. We need to continue finding new members so we have the UK covered for accessible and creative interior design.

I’d like to thank Karen for taking part in this interview and for giving my readers the opportunity to learn more about this fantastic design resource. If you are looking to give your home a total makeover this year, or even just a little refresh but you need some help to create your vision, why not check out the Interior Design Collective to see if there is a member in your area.

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