I’ve had the incredible good fortune of practicing interior design for the past 30 years. An art and practice that I am truly passionate about, I find that it’s an honor to work with clients and families who have engaged me to discover the ‘style soul’ of their businesses, homes and living spaces, and then create completely personalized interior designs for them. – Karen Rapp
Karen Rapp was thinking about the interiors of homes long before she ever considered making a career of designing them. Raised in Salt Lake City, as a little girl, she would draw imaginative floor plans in chalk, on her parents’ driveway.
Today, as a resident of Phoenix, this Master of the Southwest award winner still summons fanciful visions, only now they are given actual shape, form and reality in remarkable new and remodeled homes that delight her clients.
Karen Rapp graduated from Arizona State University in 1984, with a Bachelor of Science degree, with an emphasis in Interior Design.
Following graduation, she worked locally in Arizona for a Salt Lake City-based design firm. When the owner unexpectedly closed his business, Karen said she had no choice but to “hang out my shingle.” She then built her own design practice—Karen Rapp Interiors—and later added design assistants and interns from local-area colleges.
Despite her three decades in business, Karen’s love of design and her work has enabled her to keep an open mind and heart to bring new, design-related ideas and practices to her firm. And she credits many for her success.
As she says: “In my career, I’ve been blessed with several wonderful mentors, beginning with my Daddy, John Rapp; family members; friends; clients; and colleagues who have coached me, offered me sage advice and supported me in this field of interior design. It’s all led to my continued success and joy in my profession.”
What Karen Rapp liked about interior design a quarter of a century ago, she still finds exciting. “I love living my clients’ lives,” she says. “Part of the design process is imagining parties, families and how they live in their homes, and where all their things are stored or displayed.”
She also still finds it a thrill to keep her clients engaged every step of the way. When she has an epiphany or a striking idea, Rapp says she still gets goose bumps. “I want my clients to get goose bumps, too, when, together, we discover something remarkable in our ideas and plans.”
“In any discussion on “meaningful” interior design, the name Karen Rapp will (or should) inevitably surface. You might have to dig a bit, because let’s face it, Karen is not (Thank God) one of those heavily-publicized trendy, flavor-of-the-moment, generic – well, uninspiring (there, we said it) designers who are all too common these days. Rather, she seems to quietly prefer more of a purveyor, spectator, observer presence in the industry… probably one more reason her work has so much depth.
For those who seek a refined way of designing, believe us, she is there at the top of the list. Karen’s work always has its own very unique and developed personality … layers of texture, rich textiles, furnishings and accessories, which are steeped in tradition and filled with memories are orchestrated in a rather uncomplicated, and somewhat simple manner.
Often reminiscent of a soft and subtle Bennison interior — or at other times, the colorful work of Kathryn Ireland — there is something very handcrafted that is recognizable and consistently flows through each of Karen’s projects.
It’s hard to say whether this is a direct reflection of her clients taste, or more likely a wonderful interpretation therein on Karen’s part. Regardless, her ability to merge the clients needs and desires into a cohesive plan is something she is widely adept at doing.
Karen Rapp has been practicing design for over 3 decades now. Although clearly her passion for beautiful, sincere objects, antiques and works of art (and folk art!) were embedded in her from a very early age. She has a vision she was most likely born with, and continues to develop over the years.”
Michele Perillo, Publisher, Southwest Style Magazine
“Karen Rapp has helped our entire family with projects including offices, homes, college dorms and first apartments.
“In her egoless way, Karen listens to your vision, your needs, then pulls it together, from furniture to fabrics to light fixtures, and the result is an authentic and unified look that is strictly yours and appears effortless in how it comes together. Nothing is contrived.”
Susan Taylor, Client
“Karen’s firm commitment to designing a space personal to the client is evident in all her designs. Her able, dedicated team made the experience that much more enjoyable.” Bravo!
“She approaches each project on its own and strives to make each a unique reflection of the clients and their lifestyle. Karen creates rich, dynamic interior designs that are truly specific to each client, exceeding their expectations while respecting their vision and their budgets.”
Catherine Hayes, Architect, Hayes Studio
“Karen’s vast experience is evident. She has an incredible eye and knack for spaces. Does great design, is responsive and organized. We have worked with her on several projects and can never wait to see finished product. Highly recommend.”
Michael Ellsworth, Builder, Thunder River Construction
“I remember one hot summer day when she and her assistant marked all the furniture placement on a concrete floor for a large new home. We were placing light fixtures the next day with the client, architect and lighting designer, and Karen wanted to make certain that everything was perfect for the walk-through. She does whatever it takes to get the job done right.”
Jerry Meek, Owner, Desert Star Construction