Kara Cox is a people person by nature and an interior designer by trade. Passionate about connecting with others and learning about her clients desires and lifestyles, Kara strives to create lasting relationships that enable her to design beautiful spaces that are fresh, tailored and timeless. She expertly pairs homes like her own 1954 mid century modern with softer, traditional interiors and infuses more classic homes with a fresh dose of color, modern art and tailored simplicity.
Kara’s work has been featured nationally in magazines like Traditional Home, Domino and HGTV Magazine. Her client projects have graced the cover of publications like Triangle Home and Design, Seasons and O. Henry. She’s been regularly featured by design bloggers and partnered with industry insiders from Alden Parkes to Uttermost and recently launched her first licensed collection of kitchen and bath designs with Thompson Traders. She served as a Style Spotter for High Point Furniture Market for 2019.
Describe your style in one sentence.
My style is fresh, tailored, and timeless.
When designing a room, where’s the best place to start?
That completely depends on the room and the color palette. I like to start with either a great rug that creates a color palette for the room or great art. Those are two easy places to pull colors and patterns off of.
When purchasing for your home, where should one invest and where should one save?
I always think clients should invest in the best quality upholstery they can afford. If you buy great upholstery it should last for years and can always be recovered if the fabric wears. Also dining room furniture is a smart investment, dining rooms should be timeless and not trendy, you can change fabrics or rugs easily but you really shouldn’t have to update your dining room furniture if you buy good quality the first time.
Your three go-to paint colors.
Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace is the perfect white paint for a clean, white wall color. Sherwin Williams Alabaster is my favorite “soft white” trim color, not too creamy and not bright white. Benjamin Moore Classic Gray is my favorite neutral wall color, it doesn’t read gray at all, but a soft taupe.
How did you start your company and what’s your favorite part of what you do?
I made a career change in my mid-twenties, I have an original degree from UNC-CH in Journalism and was working as an editor for a home furnishings trade publication when I realized I wanted to be creating and not writing about design. I went back to school for a two year design degree and worked my way up from intern to design assistant with Lindsay Henderson Interiors in Greensboro. After my second child was born in 2010, Lindsay encouraged me to start my own business and I opened KCI a few months later.
My favorite part of what I do is the relationships I form with clients. I have worked to finish nurseries as new moms are coming home from the hospital, I’ve dog-sat while clients are in labor, I’ve worked on multiple homes for multiple families now and love being part of their larger story. Building that relationship is everything to me.
What’s your advice when purchasing an investment rug?
Only buy wool rugs. Wool is going to be more expensive but also the most cleanable fiber and will last the longest. Also never use a Dyson vacuum on a hand knotted rug, the suction is too strong and will destroy the knots in the rug. Hand knotted rugs should be cleaned with suction only.
What design rule do you follow?
Always oversize rugs. You should never have furniture legs off a rug, the rug should fill the furniture plan, go custom if you need to.
If you could take only one thing from your house, what would it be?
My Hickory Chair Thomas O’Brien secretary. It’s the first big investment piece I purchased for my home years ago and it still makes me so happy. I hope I can pass it down one day to my kids but it will probably move with me to the nursing home first.
Your go-to playlist at home?