Interior Designer Karen Rapp to Join Wiseman & Gale Interiors

Karen Rapp joins Wiseman & Gale Interiors

Wiseman & Gale Interiors is pleased to announce that Karen Rapp, of Karen Rapp Interiors, will join the firm as a full-service interior designer in Scottsdale.

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.,  February 14, 2020 Wiseman & Gale Interiors, of Scottsdale, Arizona, is pleased to announce that, effective March 1, Karen Rapp, of Karen Rapp Interiors (, will join the firm as a full-service interior designer.

As a part of her move, Rapp, for decades one of Arizona’s leading interior designers, will close Karen Rapp Interiors. Notably, she will continue to serve her clients under the new partnership with Wiseman & Gale, which offers comprehensive operations to support its designers on staff.

“I couldn’t be more delighted than to be announcing Karen Rapp’s decision to join Wiseman & Gale,” noted Scott Burdick, the design firm’s Managing Partner. “I’ve known for a long time the synergies Karen’s firm and ours share, so, in every imaginable respect, Karen joining our firm represents a ‘win-win’ for us and for her.” He added, “And almost needless to say, the real winners in this new arrangement will be our clientele, who’ll now be able to take advantage of Karen’s tremendous talent, taste and experience.”

About Karen Rapp

Rapp graduated from Arizona State University in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science degree, with an emphasis in Interior Design. In 1987, she founded Karen Rapp Interiors, which grew into one of Arizona’s most highly respected residential interior design firms. Over the past three decades, many home and business owners have attested to the dedicated vision and pure professionalism of Karen Rapp Interiors. Rapp’s work has been featured in numerous publications, including Luxe, Phoenix Home & Garden, Arizona Foothills and Gardens Southwest. In March 2009, Rapp was named a Master of the Southwest by Phoenix Home & Garden magazine.

While Rapp has thoroughly enjoyed building her namesake brand into a highly respected interior design presence in the Phoenix community, she is thrilled with her decision to join Wiseman & Gale. “It will give me an opportunity to collaborate and work alongside some of Arizona’s most talented design professionals, and allow me to focus even more on serving the design needs of my cherished clients,” she said.

“This transition is all about my growth into the next phase of my career,” Rapp added. “As a building and business owner these past many years, I’ve been missing the design and client-side experience. Now I can spend more time doing exactly what I enjoy.”

About Wiseman & Gale

Wiseman & Gale Interiors was established in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 1965 by founders George Wiseman and Anne Gale. Their legendary partnership and successful early business greatly influenced the taste, style and creative process of the generation of designers who followed them. Through the years, the underlying principles of Wiseman & Gale’s approach have remained its foundation: commanding scale, luxury fabrics, bold colors, interesting compositions, subtle details and an emphasis on comfort and timeless beauty. The Wiseman & Gale design team comprises some of the Southwest’s premier designers, all of whom carry forward the commitment to excellence begun by its founders.


Media Contact:

Jill Henning
Forward Street Marketing

Collected vs. Decorated: Tips from An ASID Interior Designer

collected vs decorated rooms by arizona interior designer karen rapp interiors

You’ll often hear interior designers say, “A room should feel collected vs. decorated.” In fact, I caught myself using this exact phrase at a recent meeting with Luxe Arizona.

But just what does it mean?

Collected vs. Decorated, Defined

For starters, a “decorated” room might look too “matchy-matchy.”

Meaning, a “decorated” room often looks too symmetrical, overly planned or lacking originality. Things in such a room appear formulaic.

For example, our fixtures might all be coordinated in bronze, or your color palette is all blue and white, or all of your furniture is from the same manufacturer.

On the flip side, a “collected” look can animate your home and bring it to life.

To me, collected means just that: that your rooms have evolved naturally over a period of time. They’re likely full of treasured pieces that you might have found and added gradually. They may have iconic, trendy pieces, but the overall design doesn’t look like it’s in a “time capsule.”

Your collected items—furniture and otherwise—tell others who you are, what your interests might be and where you’ve been over your lifetime. They tell a story about your tastes and aspirations, whether they be quirky or carefully culled.

Unlike home décor that’s decorated, your collected décor is unique to you alone. It speaks to the idea that your home doesn’t look like anyone else’s, nor does it resemble something picked up lock, stock and barrel from the pages of a trendy catalogue.

Instead, a collected look is just as it’s described. It might include one-of-a-kind artworks that you spotted at a gallery opening and purchased, or items that were passed down to you from family members.

But, all that said, let me warn you: A collected look can easily transform into a cluttered look.

If you don’t keep a careful handle on your collected trappings, they can begin to overwhelm a set of rooms and literally take over your surroundings.

To keep that from happening, you need to strike the right balance, scale and rhythm for your interior rooms, which is what a skilled interior designer is trained to help you with.

In my own residence, I address the balance issue by being discriminating about what I put on display. After they’ve been out and on display for a while, I’ll put away a few my collections and keepsakes. Then, when I want to freshen things up, I bring them back out, and—voila!—I’ve rediscovered my treasures all over again.

An interior designer is the perfect resource to help you discover treasures you may already have and incorporate them into your existing décor. He or she will look at your home creatively, with a fresh and experienced set of eyes.

The trick, though, is to do a room makeover such that it ends up looking as if you’ve put it together piece by piece, over time, and not in one fell swoop.

Following are a few tips to give your home that “collected-over-time” look.

Mix and match, but be consistent

Yes, it’s fine to go ahead and mix it up a bit. Adding eclectic-looking (but complementary) furniture styles, finishes, textures, etc., is one of the easiest ways to help a room look as if it’s evolved over time.

Your interior designer can be a great help in harmoniously combining old with new—from vintage and thrifted collections to hand-me-downs and brand-new pieces. In fact, vintage pieces mixed with new ones allow for unexpected discoveries, ones that can definitely add interest to the space in question.

The key in mixing and matching, however, is to look for consistency among the items Pay attention to color, scale, shape, texture and visual balance, with a goal to make sure all the various pieces complement one another. One example would be to seek out styles of furniture from different periods, but that, as a whole, come together to make a harmonious statement.

Remember, too, that since our tastes, interests and style ideas evolve over time, your home will tend to reflect those changes, with the items in your home becoming visual representations of different points or phases in your life.

Think outside the box

Here’s your chance to get really creative with your “collected” home, using some items in ways other than what might have been intended for them.

Perhaps one of the most classic examples of “repurposed” décor is when designers or homeowners find an old chest of drawers and reincorporate it as a bathroom vanity/sink.

That idea caught on like wildfire and continues today.

Like the example of the vanity-sink, one way to find a new use for an old object is to try and divorce yourself from the idea of what it might have been intended for. Look at its shape: can it be adapted and used as something else?

This takes some real brainstorming, but once you’re able to see an item of décor more objectively, the sky’s the limit on what quaint new uses you might be able to come up with for it.

Keep in mind, though, that simpler is better. Less is more.

If you can, in fact, use a vintage object simply as is, without modifying it, then the look tends to suggest less effort and, thus, more naturalness. If you have to try too hard to make something work, it often ends up looking “kitschy.”

Get creative with shopping (including your mother’s home!)

Here’s where your designer can really help you, because we have access to showrooms and other design-related elements that homeowners or those outside the design profession might not typically be exposed to.

For example, we regularly source from showrooms all over the country, the Scottsdale Design Center and the LA Showrooms are our main resources. Design Alliance LA and John Brooks Inc., are two of many multi-line showrooms that can help us create countless “collected-look” ideas.

Art galleries, and even antique and thrift stores, can also provide you with ideas to achieve that “collected” look.

If you’re lucky enough to have them at your disposal, peruse your mother or grandmother’s home for original items that hold meaning for your family. If you regularly drink tea, shine up and set out for display your great-grandmother’s silver tea set.

Or layer in sentimental abstract art from your children or grandchildren on your book case—just pop it an elegant frame and see for yourself how transformed it can look.

Collect things you love that tell your story

By definition, collections are usually made up of like items that are meaningful to someone or have some financial value. This means that your collected rooms should incorporate pieces that tell your story and put your passions on display.

If you’re an aviation buff, let that be something of a guide in your decorating—be it with related art, sculpture or even funky aviation-related items that can become conversation pieces when they’re part of your décor.

And the same is true if you happen to be a quilter or an avid traveler, or have any other passionate pursuit.

Choose items with personality that you can layer in to add interest, without throwing off that all-important room balance. It’s okay to layer and stack so that you’re not showcasing items permanently.

Our lives are forever fluid and in motion, so your rooms can be in constant change, too!

Remember that some of the most elegant, cozy and breathtaking rooms are ones that showcase personal collections

Whether they’re photos, heirlooms, books, something old or something new, these meaningful objects can speak volumes to those who live inside the walls as well as those who are just visiting. It is rooms such as these that truly sing.

To conclude . . .

Don’t forget that the goal always is to eschew the decorated look and embrace the collected. It’s all about learning how to let the objects you love and—perhaps acquired over a lifetime—help to inform your design.

The result will be for you to achieve a much more interesting and storied interior that truly reflects your personality. Happy decorating!


collected vs decorated rooms by karen rapp interiors

No Christmas Tree? No Problem!

For years and years, I’ve opted for no Christmas tree.

After all, until this year, I’ve been running Karen Rapp Interiors from my home. This means I’ve had anywhere from two to six or more fabulous humans in what would normally be my living and dining rooms—and my humble abode was already tight quarters.

Plus, there were some years when I just didn’t have the “oomph,” due to traveling and other demands on my time.

So, this year, our design team went searching for some great design inspiration for those of you who, like me, might not have the space or the commitment for a tree.


No Christmas tree? We’ve got you covered!

There are lots of reasons “why not”: maybe you’re traveling for the holidays. Maybe you’ve got a new pet or a child or grandchild who might get too close to your tree for comfort.

Or, maybe you just want to relax and remember what the season is about without all the usual fanfare.

So, for inspiration, I encourage you to sit back and relax with a cup of tea and admire other’s creativity when they decorate “sans” Christmas tree!

ballard designs entry decor

During the holidays, your home inevitably becomes a revolving door for visitors—from overnight travelers to dinner guests or to those who merely drop by for some holiday cheer. Set the welcoming tone with a cheery entry—and let your guests know they’re being invited with warmth. Photo via Ballard Designs

House Beautiful Boughs holiday decorHere’s an easy suggestion to “spruce” up an entryway or a tiny apartment with fir, spruce or pine branches in an oversize jar. It can be a great alternative to a traditional tree. Photo via House Beautiful

Holiday photo tree

A “holiday photo tree” is a creative idea for dressing up a wall with all those holiday photos you take throughout the season. Photo via Interiors Design Blog

With all the excellent, large-scale printing options available today, printing a vivid image of a tree on a large cloth and hanging it on the wall might be the perfect conversation starter! Photo via My Blue Flamingo

canvas painting christmas tree

Again, why not paint your own tree and create a hanging holiday wall tapestry? Photo via Apartment Therapy

Coming up with creative ways to make an alternative, do-it-yourself tree is sheer fun. Here’s a “tree” that was created using bits of nature collected from the outside, along with some other whimsical items. Photo via Free People

Those of us with a few woodshop skills can put their talents to the test by creating a really unique wooden tree with lights, like this one. Photo via Julia Palosini

The holiday tradition of decorating with paperwhites, greenery and wreaths will never go out of style. Here’s just one example of the beautiful accents you can create with these seasonal touches. Photo via Dear Lillie

Using strings of lights in creative ways can make for a striking holiday display. Here’s a waterfall of lights set over a window. Photo via

Here’s an idea for a modern alternative that can still feel like your focal point and smell like a tree too! Photo via Almost Makes Perfect

For something extra-special, try cutting out a window banner emblazoned with a cheerful holiday message. Photo via Sunny Side Up Blog

If you’re planning to spend the holidays idyllically, in a cabin in the mountains, here is an idea for decorating this very special space. Photo via Mountain Modern Life Blog


On behalf of our team at Karen Rapp Interiors, I hope you have a magical holiday season, no matter where your decorating adventures take you! Christmas tree or no Christmas tree!

No Christmas Tree? No Problem!

How to Answer the Question, “What is My Interior Design Style?”

How to answer the question, what is my interior design style?

When we take on a new interior design client, we typically find that, around 50-75 percent of the time, you, as a homeowner, have a pretty good idea what you want in terms of your preferred design style.

But the question often remains: how do you effectively communicate that style/ vision/inspiration to your entire design team?

How do you make them understand specifically what results you’re seeking? What are your expectations, keeping in mind the following elements of the design process: quality, scope, style and budget.

So, Just What is My Interior Design Style?

One of the first prerequisites to effectively communicating your design style to a team of professionals is to make certain you understand and visually communicate your expectations.

Fortunately, the internet is chock-full of home design-oriented websites to help you pinpoint your exact style preferences.

One of the best and most frequently consulted sites is called Houzz.

A glance at their website will give you plenty of information to help you decide in which direction your taste and style preferences are running.

Houzz (and other sites, such as Pinterest) will give you tons of information and examples on every style from “Traditional” to “Preppy” and then some. Spend a few minutes checking it out—it’s fun and highly informative.

Following are some of the Houzz design style categories:


Once you’ve decided on a style you like, you should schedule an initial meeting with your interior designer team to discuss your preferences.

Bring along some examples (photos, magazines, etc.) to the meeting to give the team an idea of your sense of style.

At KRI, we almost always create a “private” Pinterest board for each client, where images “pinned” easily and reviewed by both the client and KRI team.

Another way to help you decide on your personal design style is to simply look at your home’s architecture. Keeping your interior design on a par with the exterior is usually a good rule of thumb. When in doubt about your home’s architectural style, talk to your interior designer or architect.

What’s more, there are plenty of online quizzes to help you define your interior style, such as this Houzz quiz.

We always tell clients that it doesn’t cost anything to “visually spend” in the beginning of the design process.

How to Communicate My Interior Design Style

We refer to this phase as “programming,” a time when we ask how you see yourself living in and using the space.

So, opening yourself up to a lot of ideas can often help you narrow your choices down to the one you really want to pursue.

As I mentioned above, perusing magazines or even creating a scrapbook of ideas is always great. If you tear out or earmark a page for us, be sure to tell us what you like about the image. For example: “I like the wood beams and flooring, the blinds and the mantle, but not the colors.”

And speaking of color, do you like lots of it or selective “pops” of it?

To help convey your style to an interior designer, tell him or her your intentions for the home, including the answers to these questions:

  • Is this your primary residence or second home?
  • Do you entertain? And if so, how? Small or large? Family or invited friends?
  • Describe the feeling of the rooms – is it an elegant, formal home or a laid-back, casual home?
  • Is natural light important? What lighting mood do you want at night?
  • Do like an open room concept or prefer to have unique individual spaces?
  • Will your home need to be child-proofed? Children and grandchildren? Ages?
  • Do you have collections or family heirlooms to show off? Inherited or collected furniture and/or antiques?
  • What kind of Audio/Visual systems do you prefer? TVs and music systems? Where and how big? Do you watch TV in bed, the kitchen and/or bathroom? In what areas of the home do you like to have music?
  • Do you cook at home, order in or go out?

And then there is landscaping and outside living spaces (but that’s for a later blog).

Expand the Dialog and Language

Whatever your interior design style might be, the key objective is to stay in close contact with your designer every step of the way.

Remember, it’s always better to err on the side of providing too much information than not enough. It’s really all about beginning the conversation.

And keep in mind that deciding on and communicating your design style might be just the beginning of the interior design process, but it’s one that will help clear the path for your designer to proceed more confidently and expeditiously, knowing what your home design preference are.

Happy designing and dreaming!

what's my interior design style?

Arcadia Neighborhood Home: Still Farmhouse Chic

KRI-Designed Arcadia Neighborhood Home PINTEREST

Phoenix Home & Garden Cover Nov 2009As documented in a 2009 article in Phoenix Home & Garden, Steve and Shelley Adelson of Phoenix, Arizona purchased a 1950s-vintage ranch style home in the Arcadia neighborhood of Phoenix.

When the bought their home in the 1990s, the idea was to immediately begin a remodel.

But, as it happened, raising their very rapidly growing family of four sons (including a set of triplets!) took a bit of precedence over their house plans.

So, some 10 years later, their remodeling resumed, with the Adelsons now focused on creating a home that was fit for a family of six.

Almost needless to say, the project planning was in an era prior to the advent of social media and internet sites—like Houzz, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook—that today help homeowners plan their projects.

These days, a homeowner can search for terms and hashtags such as “What’s my Style,” “Fixer Upper,” “Farmhouse chic” and “Arcadia neighborhood” and instantly be inundated with thousands of online images.

It makes combing through magazines seems positively “old school.”

But 10 years ago, Shelley Adelson created a real-life mood board to represent her take on what is now called “farmhouse” style. She used a real-life scrapbook—full of magazine tear sheets, fabrics and plenty of inspiration.

The second step in Shelly and Steve’s plan was to assemble a team of creative-minded professionals to bring that scrapbook—that vision—to life.

Team “Perfection”

The original design team for the project included architect Catherine Hayes, builder Nancy Brunkhorst (of Nance Construction) and, for the interior design, Karen Rapp of Karen Rapp Interiors.

Cathy was particularly inspired by the architectural design of the Pasadena, California home, that served as the setting for the popular 1991 movie, “Father of the Bride.”

It was an innovative, timeless decision for the Arcadia neighborhood.

The original construction was daunting: as the Phoenix Home & Garden article noted, the existing residence needed to be razed to the foundation—only the living room chimney was left standing.

For the new construction, Cathy Hayes shifted the orientation to face the street at an angle, enabling the front yard to be expanded and the rooms to be fitted with numerous windows that let in plenty of indirect sunlight, and an optimized view of Camelback Mountain.

Now, a decade or more later, the Pasadena-style home—in concept and conclusion—has stood the test of time and remains a community showplace.

Adelson Arcadia Neighborhood before KRI and Hayes Studio remodel

Front Elevation “Before”

Adelson Arcadia Neighborhood before KRI and Hayes Studio remodel

Front Elevation “After”

Front Entry
Photo by Laura Moss

An authentic “Arras” garden bench that one might easily find in Paris provides a quaint accent to the Adelson home’s entry.

Adelson Arcadia Neighborhood before KRI and Hayes Studio living room

Main Living Room with Fireplace

A set of chairs and a sofa, originally sourced from Argentina, create the perfect ambiance in this light-filled sitting room with a view out toward the yard and pool.

Kitchen and Living Room

The spacious redesign was characterized by the placement of dramatic, whitewashed beams that span the ceilings in the living and dining rooms.

Adelson arcadia french country farmhouse kitchen

Photo by Laura Moss

The comfortable kitchen features some French country touches, including the kitchen backsplash tiles, which replicate famous “French faience” tiles. The tiles are custom-glazed in black, rather than the more customary blue.

dining room hutch - farmhouse french country

Dining Room
Photo by Laura Moss

A grand, glorious buffet and hutch custom-designed by master craftsman Jim Altman is a replica of a Parisian-style bar. It boasts a tile back splash and wet bar, as well as freezer drawers.

adeleson-karenrapp-hayes butler panty

Butler’s Pantry
Photo by Laura Moss

The butler’s panty features a farmhouse sink, Dutch door and concrete floor tiles.

adelesonkarenrapphayes-8 green master bedroom whitewashed trestle arcadia

Master Bedroom
Photo by Laura Moss

The master bedroom is all about femininity, perfect for the wife and mother in an all-male household. The leopard print fabric on the antique bench and bolster pillows inspired the color scheme.

adelesonkarenrapphayes-6 black cabinet clawfoot tub chandelier arcadia

Master Bathroom
Photo by Laura Moss

Garden views and natural light fill the master bath, thanks to the windows above the bathtub and “his” vanity and sink. The masculine black cabinetry provides contract to the daintiness of a petite chandelier, feminine footstool, and traditional claw-foot tub.

Black, White and Gold Bathroom

Following is a partial list of some of the artisans, trades- and crafts-people who contributed to the Adelsons’ home reconstruction:

  • Contractor: Nance Construction
  • Architect: Hayes Architecture & Interiors
  • Interior Design: Karen Rapp Interiors
  • Landscape Architect: Berghoff Landscape Design
  • Plumbing: Clyde Hardware
  • Tile and Stone: Handcrafted Tile Inc., and Craftsman Court Ceramics
  • Floors: Premier Wood Floors
  • Light fixtures: Paul Ferrante and Steven Handelman
  • Window Treatments and Upholstery: Jennifer Van Galder, Maudlin
  • Appliances: Monark (formerly Westar)
  • Cabinetry and butcher-block counter: Desert Cove
  • Custom furniture: Jim Altman

arcadia neighborhood home still farmhouse chic phoenix arizona interior designer Karen Rapp InteriorsShare on Pinterest


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View the original article by Susan Regan from November 2009. Photography by Laura Moss


Contemporary Eclectic: Home Forever


There comes a moment in every longtime couple’s lives together when they begin to think about what potentially could be their “last home.” It’s a time fraught with weighty questions. “Where, finally, do we want to live?” and “What will be our lifestyle ‘finale,’ and what should it look like?” come to mind.

Such was the case for a Paradise Valley, Arizona, couple who were repeat clients of Karen Rapp Interiors.

Two years ago, the couple decided to take on their crowning residential remodel, a home steeped in everything that, together, they had created for themselves and perhaps dreamed about for many years.

And, on the practical side, as they planned ahead for their retirement and all that it would entail, they wanted to make sure the house they designed was one that was “built for the ages.” That is, designed such that it could accommodate them as they advanced in aged (e.g., one level, a walkout basement, etc.).

The project was necessarily large in scope, involving entirely razing an existing 1960s house and building a completely new, 6,000 square-foot home on the lot; and, as well, reorienting it to maximize views of Camelback Mountain. Importantly, considering the project scope, the last thing the clients had in mind to do was something ho-hum or status quo.

As Karen Rapp well knew, that clearly isn’t who they are. They wanted the design and construction to be something unexpected—something that reflected their personalities, their many accomplishments and the nature of their lives together.

Home Forever

One of the first tasks for the couple was to assemble their design/build “dream team.” The design team included the owner’s representative, Jim Smith, of Serving the Nation (who is not only a lifelong friend of the couple, but an expert in luxury home design and the luxury hospitality industry); architect Matt Thomas, of Matthew Thomas Architecture; and interior designer Karen Rapp. Russ Greey of Greey|Picket Landscape and Design was the clear choice for the landscaping. And, completing the team as the general contractor—the team member to make it all happen—was the mighty Greg Hunt, of GM Hunt Builders.

As planning got underway, one of the primary goals that the couple identified was to “compartmentalize” their use of the home. For instance, although the house’s square footage remained essentially the same in the remodel, the clients wanted to incorporate into the design a means to close off certain areas of the house when they weren’t in use. The guest quarters are a perfect expression of that—they’re designed such that, when unoccupied, they can easily be segregated from the rest of the house.

Overall, the clients were looking for a home that is casual, comfortable, easy to maintain and perfect for occasional entertaining. Another important consideration was that it offer welcoming space for succeeding generations of the clients’ family—their four grandchildren.

As Karen, herself, comments: “The goal—which I believe we achieved—was to create interiors that are eclectic and, at the same time, soft, elegant and contemporary.”

LivingRoom with views of Camelback Mountain Karen Rapp Interiors

“One of the first things we did regarding the interior was to inventory the couple’s existing furniture to see what would work in the new design and what wouldn’t,” Karen notes. “Luckily, we found that we could use their furnishings and artwork in the new design. New upholstery makes for new furniture!”

contemporary eclectic dining room by Karen Rapp InteriorsIn keeping with its relaxed, fully livable plan, the color palette for the new home is easy on the eye: it’s suffused with warm, soft grays and whites with lots of matching fabrics.

Kitchen la cornue range - KarenRappInteriors

The new kitchen and dining area is Karen’s favorite of all. “The open concept design makes such a statement about this home,” she notes. “It’s ‘gourmet’ without looking at all pretentious. In fact, it has a distinct ‘lived-in’ look about it—a room that people will immediately sense that people actually live here and use this room; that it’s not merely designed for the decorativeness about it.” The kitchen boasts a meticulously crafted French “La Cornue” range that Karen explains was the result of a trip with her client to San Francisco. The range so impressed Karen that she bought one for herself!

Butlers Pantry Karen Rapp Interiors

A part of KRI’s design incorporated exquisite and elegant decorative tile throughout, but especially in the butler’s pantry, where the tile reflects a certain whimsy and charm.


One thing the new design focused on was creating an invitation to use exterior space as an inviting extension of the interior living quarters. As Karen describes it: “Because the climate here is so agreeable, most of the year we live outside as well as in. That’s why it’s so important to have our outdoor areas that serve as an extension of the interior. Our design emulated how the French and Italians live outdoors and on their terraces. People in those European countries park themselves outdoors at a long table and enjoy charcuterie and antipasto platters (and some wine of course!) while they watch their children or grandchildren play on the grass. There’s a certain beauty in that kind of living, and this design allows for it and encourages it.”

Purses in Her Dressing Room Karen Rapp Interiors

The spacious “his and hers” closets are an exercise in personal styles: “Hers” is glamorous, featuring enough room to display the client’s artful collection of handbags. “His” is organized with everything in its place, offering a “gentleman’s haberdashery” feel.

bunkroom-karen rapp interiors

The grandchildren’s whimsically designed and decorated “bunk room” makes the point that, after all, this is a family house, mindful of—and welcoming to—the different generations that occupy it.

Contemporary Eclectic Home Office Karen Rapp Interiors

Much of the extensive collection of artworks the clients amassed through the years was perfectly adaptable to their newly designed home. This portrait of John Lennon is a perfect case in point.

Following is a list of artisans and contractors Karen Rapp Interiors partnered with to achieve the couple’s “home forever.”

  • Owners Representative: Serving the Nation
  • Contractor: GM Hunt Builders
  • Architect: Matt Thomas Architecture LLC
  • Landscape Architect: Greey|Pickett
  • Plumbing: Clyde Hardware
  • Tile: Craftsman Court Ceramics
  • Floors: Premier Wood Floors
  • Lighting: Creative Designs in Lighting
  • Light fixtures: Bevolo
  • Upholstery: Lifestyles Upholstery
  • Appliances: Monark
  • Electric: Golka Electric
  • Cabinetry: Copperstate Cabinet Company, Ramsey Brothers, Reliance Custom Cabinets, Classy Closets
  • Slabs: Cactus Stone
  • Fabricator: Anne’s Custom Roman Shades & Bedding
  • Photography: Steve Craft

contemporary eclectic home - home forever


Hand-selected Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day

hand-selected gifts for mothers day from Karen Rapp Interiors

Sunday, May 14th is fast approaching—and that means it’s time to think about your mom, or that special mother-like figure in your life.

But, not to worry if you haven’t hit Amazon Prime or your local mall.

The expert design team at Karen Rapp Interiors has you covered because we’ve hand-selected gift ideas just for you . . . just in time for Mother’s Day.

And there’s a bonus! A few selections do not require a credit card, or special handling and shipping.

So, following are a wide range of ideal gifts to consider for any and all precious moms, aunts and other motherly figures in your life.


Karen Rapp’s hand-selected gift ideas:

Here’s a Mother’s Day gift nearly anyone can afford: the gift of your time.

“My late mother, Joyce, absolutely loved to clean out and organize drawers and closets as well as her kitchen,” explained Karen Rapp. “So I would often go up to Utah to help her organize her condo. She was always so appreciative.”

linen closet organization

Luckily, Mother’s Day coincides with spring-cleaning time, so it makes a perfect gift. That assistance extended as well to spring planting.

“And speaking of planting, as practical as it might seem, I think Whirlpool’s Zera Food Recycler is a great choice for mothers who garden and still love to cook at home,” said Karen. She then admitted that her own mother would not appreciate receiving an appliance for Mother’s Day, but Karen herself would!

A word of caution: The Zera does take up some space in the kitchen or butler’s pantry, but it composts food waste in a jiffy. In fact, it can turn a week’s worth of food scraps into usable fertilizer in just 24 hours.

Zera Food Recycler - hand-selected gift ideas for mother's day

The food recycler is as simple as pressing a button, and the results are homemade fertilizer usable on lawns and gardens, or in potted plants.

It’s fully automatic and can accept a variety of different types of food—e.g., dairy, meat, bread, etc.

What’s more, the Zera machine automatically monitors its heat, air and moisture levels while in use.


Beth Roman’s gift ideas:

For one of her selections, Beth suggests giving your mother a wind chime. One of her favorites is a bronze Soleri wind chime.

cosanti wind bell chime

Famous the world over, these beautiful wind bells and chimes were originally the design of Paolo Soleri, the renowned architect and visionary who founded an idealistic community in the high desert north of Phoenix, Arizona.

“When they chime in the summer breeze or during a winter rainstorm, I think of my kids and smile,” Beth said.

They are exceedingly beautiful and have a soft chiming sound.

She has four small wind bells, and loves them all! (She got her first about 25 years ago.)

And secondly, Beth is always in favor of giving a magazine subscription, as it’s a gift that gives over and over again all year long.

Two of her personal favorites are Southern Living and Garden & Gun.

“Southern Living was a favorite of my mother’s. She first gave me a subscription to the magazine a few years after I was married, and, thereafter, she and I would often create our monthly food recipes together.”

Beth’s dad introduced her to Garden & Gun.

“It’s a fascinating magazine, and I renew my subscription every year.”


Valerie Norris’s gift ideas:

Experienced-based gifts are favorites of Val, especially because both her mother and mother-in-law are at a stage in life where purging is more desirable than gathering.

“I am so proud of both my mom and my mother-in-law’s technology aptitude and their knowledge of social media and computers in general,” Valerie shares.

“But, with the rapid rise of smartphone and iPad complexities, it’s getting harder for them to keep up with texting, emojis, cameras, etc.”

ipad training senior

So she highly recommends gifting moms and mother-like figures with some technology classes at their nearest Apple store or Microsoft store. And it’s even better if you can accompany them and learn alongside them.

“As I discovered, before you know it, they’ll be sending texts with exploding confetti, dancing frogs, and, of course, the obligatory “smiley face”!”

You can also check out computer training courses at your local public library and recreation centers. There are even special tablet and phone workshops through AARP Tek, and a plethora of free online courses. The options are endless—and just a Google search away!

tablet and phone training for seniors

Val’s next idea is about the gift of charitable giving.

“A few years back, my mom and I walked 60 miles over a three-day time frame, in support of breast cancer awareness,” explained Val. “Walking from Santa Barbara to Malibu, California, we traversed ocean paths, hillsides and scenic neighborhoods.”

3 day shoe salute

They walked with like-minded individuals wearing t-shirts that read ‘I would walk a million miles to see you one more day,’ which left them in a roller coaster of emotions and elations

The Norris family cheered from the sidelines, supporting their every footfall.

3 day walk

“On the final day, a mile from the finish, I grabbed my daughter’s hand as three generations of us triumphantly crossed the finish line. We were physically exhausted, mentally thrilled and emotionally exalted.”

That’s why Valerie hopes you’ll consider giving the gift of participating in a charitable event together. After all, sharing these memories reminds us of our shared experience as a human family.

No matter what you buy, share, make or give your mother, aunt or fabulous female in your life, all of us at Karen Rapp Interiors hope you have an enjoyable time!

hand-selected gift ideas for mothers day


hand selected gift ideas mothers dayhand selected gift ideas mothers dayhand selected gift ideas mothers dayhand selected gift ideas mothers dayhand selected gift ideas mothers daySave














Why Logo Design is Like Home Design

A new chapter - Why Logo Design is Like Home Design

My college sorority sister, a graphic artist named Julia Lupine, designed the first Karen Rapp Interiors logo way back in 1986.

Yes, we’re turning 30 this year!

And, as you can see below, Julia’s logo design featured some classic elements of an interior design project (the furniture and fixtures).

I’ve always been proud of it:


Karen Rapp Interiors first logo


In fact, the original Karen Rapp Interiors logo was featured in a coffee table-style book about branding. And, as if that wasn’t cool enough, in the book, the KRI logo appeared right across from Esprit logo! That’s how good the original was, and you don’t mess with something that good (at least for 30 years or so).

As I explained to Julia at the time she was designing my logo, I wanted my brand to embody a classic style. And I wanted it to be as timeless as possible—just as if I were designing my own home.

I wanted the brand to be simple and yet sophisticated, to represent what I did (interior design) and to make it easy to update the colors—just as though I were updating the paint color on a wall.

What’s more, I wanted the design to possess an element of intrigue. And, depending on how you look at the original, you might just interpret it as an intriguing gallery wall of images.

So, like all good design should, our logo has stood the test of time.

In 2012, when we launched our website and social media platforms, we combined the elements of the original logo to create this vertical logo.

As you can see, we also updated the color palette:

Karen Rapp Interiors logo - 2012

A New Chapter after 30 Years

Now, as we celebrate three decades in business, the team at Karen Rapp Interiors is ready for a new chapter.

Our small team will be moving our work spaces out of my home and into a new studio space next month. A space all our own. A space that’s about sophistication and simplicity—just like our brand, and just like our logo. (More on our new address later…)

So, in preparation, it’s only fitting that we assess where we’ve been and where we’re going.

That’s why I hired a marketing consultant, Jill Henning, to help me with PR and branding advice and project management. As we embarked on our rebranding, Jill wanted to know about my vision for the KRI brand, what success looks like to me, and how I think my clients and the Arizona design market perceive our brand.

She wanted to see every piece of our existing brand identity and client-facing materials.

And she wanted to understand how our business is transitioning from printed materials to showcasing our designs online.

So, as I shared with Jill the history of our logo, we both wondered if this might be a good time to refresh it. So Jill introduced me to her graphic designer colleague, Eve Gonzalez, and we clicked immediately.


Presenting the First Draft

During the first review of several logo options, Eve did something very smart. She knew that I would like details . . . that I would appreciate knowing how she arrived at the final recommendations.

And Eve was right.

Being detailed is something that I typically enjoy in my job, so knowing Eve’s thought process helped me make a decision. There were nuances in the details that only a graphic designer would understand and that, as a layperson, I would never see.

I really loved her initial concepts, but the one thing I was a stickler about was the color palette.

So Eve got out her tried-and-true Pantone Matching System® fan deck, and I got out my tried-and-true Farrow & Ball® color book. I showed her the four paint colors that most resonated with me, and we matched them against the PMS colors used in the printing world.

Jill was there supporting us, and she snapped this photo of our collaboration:


Eve Gonzalez Karen Rapp Logo Design

It took just a few iterations to suss out the colors and logo image elements, and, overall, it was a very quick process. We started in February and did a soft-launch of our new logo in March.

Gosh, if only a home remodel would go so quickly!

Here’s a before and after:

Old logo vs new logo Karen Rapp Interiors


Why Logo Design is Like Home Design

Some of you might question the comparison, but, having just gone through the process, I now feel confident in saying that designing a logo is in fact a lot like designing a home’s interior. I know that the logo design—just like, say, a kitchen design—needs to be great and “in vogue” for a long period of time, at least for a decade.

And, just as in interior design, getting the branding color palette right is key.

For example, at KRI, we’ll integrate our four logo colors into our other collateral: an all-green logo is for invoices, a blue version is used for proposals, and a yellow logo is used for orders. And we’ll use various branding “spot” colors in our PowerPoint presentations, note cards and envelopes, letterhead, etc.

Also like home design, we needed versatility with our logo redo. With the solution we agreed on, we’ll be able to separate the logo graphic (called a “bug”) and use it for certain mediums, such as social media and smaller projects, like fabric labels and our note cards.

Thanks to Jill and Eve, we have a new branding standards guide to help us keep everything in check.


How to Choose a Designer

With the process of redesigning our logo so fresh in my mind, following are few tips for any business professional seeking the best approach to hiring a graphic designer.

(Honestly, the process is similar to choosing an interior designer).

First, ask for referrals from trusted sources (as I did with Jill). If you already work with a marketing expert or agency, he or she will have experience and a great source of contacts.


  • Make sure to meet the designer face-to-face, so you know it’s a great match. Even if you’re not local, you can still use a virtual video conference like GoToMeeting,, Skype—even FaceTime.
  • Review the designer’s work portfolio and understand his or her process.
  • Get a quote based on all aspects of the project. Discuss the number of revisions you’ll be making and what the hourly rate is if you go beyond the scope.
  • And, lastly, work with your designer to paint the vision, but then step back and give the designer the room and space to work his or her magic!


So, tell us your thoughts! What do you think of our new logo? What other advice do you have for taking on a branding or home design project? Please share your comments below.











Declutter 101: Eliminate Digital Clutter in 3 Simple Steps

Eliminate Digital Clutter - Declutter 101 challenge


If you’re like me and are always looking for ways to eliminate undue stress, I invite you to join me in our Karen Rapp Interiors’ Declutter 101 challenge.

natl clean your computer day Feb 13 2017 - karen rapp interiorsThis month, we’re focusing on eliminating digital clutter, and we have three simple strategies up our sleeves . . .

just in time for National Clean Out Your Computer Day on Feb. 13, 2017.

Are you up to the challenge?

Not sure? See if you can relate:

  • Does it take longer to find a picture on your phone than to sort through a photo album?
  • Does locating an email from your sister consume more time than calling her?
  • Are you hoarding apps on your tablet or phone for that “once in a lifetime opportunity” to use it in a pinch?


If this sounds like you, do not dismay. You’re in good company.


Digital Clutter is Everywhere

It’s no shock that as we increase our reliance on digital devices, we also increase our digital clutter.

digital clutter declutter 101 delete selected photosOur founder Karen Rapp—and somewhat of an inspiration for this blog post—readily admits to being a photo hoarder.

In fact, she’s amassed an amazing 5,985 photos on her iPhone since she bought it in 2012. (Most of which are related to our interior design projects.)

These images are just waiting to be organized and categorized. (And, truthfully, some just need to be deleted).

Photos are the perfect example of digital clutter overtaking our devices.

Take for example that, in 1990, Americans took an estimated 57 billion photos. Now flash-forward to present day—when people walk around with a camera embedded in their smartphone—and it’s no surprise that we’re taking an average of 380 billion photos a year.

Couple these statistics with the overwhelming average of 105 daily email messages sent and received by a typical corporate email user.

Seeing a trend?

I think this is a recipe for a cluttered, if not combustible, situation.


Clutter Affects our Stress Levels

So just what are the benefits of digital decluttering?

Well, studies have shown that phone and computer clutter affects our momentary stress levels. And when we have higher cortisol, it can lead to illness, depression and fatigue.

Thankfully, we can control the source of the stress and limit its impact.


Digital Declutter 101 – Clean Up Your Tech in 3 Simple Steps

Challenge yourself to do the following thee simple tasks daily, monthly and quarterly to reduce technology clutter and, ultimately, reduce stress.


At the end of each day (or as you sip your morning coffee), spend about 5 to 10 minutes reviewing any recent photos, emails or downloads on your phone.

Determine what you no longer need for future use, and delete away. Then organize the leftover files into folders and/or send them to the cloud for backup.

Don’t just review personal photos, emails and docs. If you’re in a creative industry like us, you’re taking photos throughout the day to document projects.

Look through each one and see what you can subsequently delete.


how to delete apps iphone digital declutter 101Dump unused apps – If you’ve not used that your niece told you that you just HAD TO HAVE, it’s time to say goodbye.

Uninstall it from your app settings and be done with it. You can always reinstall it when you need it.

Declutter your desktop – Do you really need an icon for every document and shortcut? At the very minimum, place “like items” in folders.

You also might want to consider making your computer desktop the same as your actual desktop.

Try adding motivational scenery or a peaceful view as wallpaper and avoid the temptation to clutter it.

schedule time to declutter digitally3.  QUARTERLY

About once a quarter, schedule a time slot on your calendar to remind yourself to delete unnecessary emails from your computer. I know what you are saying – they are all necessary.

If you are using your inbox as a file cabinet, move the emails to client folders immediately upon reading them and acting on them.

If they’re still in your inbox after a short amount of time (due to lack of action by you), this is a wake-up call. It’s time to address time management and priorities.

One suggestion is to use your social media “browsing time” to manage these emails. As crazy as it sounds, statistics note the average person is on social media a combined 50 minutes a day.

So, there you have it—three easy steps to crush your technology clutter.


Ut oh. Wait.

What if you’re like our fearless leader, Karen, and this decluttering mission feels overwhelming?

Where do you start?

woman smartphone airplane digital declutter 101In addition to following the three steps above, I highly recommend tackling your smartphone clutter when there’s nothing else to distract you.

Hint: No Internet access.

Yep. The perfect time to digitally declutter is when you’re in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, sitting on a long flight, or standing in line at Costco.

Just take it in bits and pieces.

Because, once you get all of the clutter under control, your outlook and well-being just may improve, too!

I hope you’ll join us in our Declutter 101 Challenge and schedule some time on your calendar daily, monthly and quarterly to free yourself of digital overload.

Then challenge your friends and colleagues to CRUSH technology clutter in its tracks.

















Simple Elegance: Fresh, Green & White Holiday Decor

simple elegance fresh, green & white holiday decor

simple elegance fresh green & white holiday decor

‘Tis once again the season to “deck the halls.” One of my favorite holiday pastimes is finding seasonal decorating themes and color schemes that bring outdoors elements inside the house, blending and balancing them in tone and color.

My goal is to always keep things simple yet elegant, with a fresh, modern twist on typical holiday colors. That is, replacing the more traditional reds and greens with green and white creations that sound just the right note of holiday cheer.

As I hope you can see from the photos I’ve selected, these calming, neutral colors with their splashes of contrasting color lend a soothing effect in a season that can get hectic, and help you to smoothly transition your indoor décor from fall to winter.

I like showcasing such natural elements as rosemary, hydrangeas, magnolia wreathes and white roses—all of which create a peaceful, welcoming ambiance throughout my clients’ homes. And the fragrances are unforgettable.


fresh, green & white hydrangeas and apples in clear flower vases

Green apples and hydrangea-simple centerpieces in elegant glass vases | Three Mango Seeds


black and white christmas wrapping merry christmas tagBlack and white Christmas gift wrap with a pleasantly contrasting burst of green sprigs | Green Mango More


sliced limes in vase with white roses and green hydranegeaThe introduction of sliced limes beautifully accents this hydrangea and rose centerpiece | Carolina Collegiate Tumbler


magnolia wreathNothing can look more simple and natural as this fresh green magnolia wreath | Melrose Botanicals on Etsy


front entry nuetral holiday pumpkinsThe simple elegance of this off-white themed entry gets spruced up a bit with porch pumpkins and green plant accents | Love This Pic


wintry whites in silver cupWintry greens and whites in a silver cup | Little Green Notebook


greens white napkins dinner serviceLayered white dinner service gets accented with a napkin ring of white and green berries | Maria Edith


Williams-Sonoma herb cooks wreathFragrant wreath made entirely of culinary herbs—bay leaf, sage, rosemary and oregano—that can later be used in cooking | Williams-Sonoma


coastal fresh, white and green centerpieceCoastal-themed Christmas centerpiece | Decoholic Blog


white ironstone vase

Pine and cedar and eucalyptus tucked among ironstone pitchers and pottery | The Grower’s Daughter


pillar candles moss twineWhite pillar candles with twine-wrapped moss | Tradgards Flow Blog


holiday green garlandsFresh garlands to accent your holiday mantle (Fraser Fir, Boxwood, White Pine and Mixed Greens) | Sugar Mountain Nursery


wreath rosemary name card linen napkinPrinted name cards atop a simple wreath of rosemary add a dash of color to neutral linen napkins | Spoon Fork Bacon


white wedding flower centerpieces green, whiteWhite wedding candles encircled with deep green sage leaves Nature-inspired | A Little Tipsy Blog


green wreath garlands fireplace mantleSimple green garlands and a wreath help transform a fireplace mantle | Cote de Texas Blog


green wreath white ribbon armoireBeautiful white armoire dressed with fresh green wreaths | Dreams Come True Blog


mitten garland holiday winter decorMitten garland from a holiday tour of homes | My Rustic Farmhouse Blog



We hope these uniquely elegant examples demonstrate how a simple splash of green and white color (and a dash of creativity) can add to any home’s holiday cheer.

From all of us at Karen Rapp Interiors, we bid you happy and healthy holidays in home surroundings that bring the true spirit of the season into sharp focus.