Home Tour: Karen Pissarra from DESIGNK

11/01/2019

Home Tour: Karen Pissarra from DESIGNK

11/01/2019

We haven’t done a home tour on the blog in quite some time, but this feature is coming back with a bang as our first peek inside a beautiful home is one that I am personally crazy about and have been dying to show you for ages. It belongs to fellow South African and Interiors colleague, Karen Pissarro of Design K. And it’s not the first time we’ve featured the living quarters of this talented creative on the blog – her downtown apartment was a very popular post around here almost three years ago to the day.

Karen and her husband, Carlos, purchased a Springs townhouse with scenic lake view in the first part of last year and proceeded to gut and renovate the home from front to back. It’s just a few streets away from my home and I was so excited to learn that Karen was going to be living the neighbourhood. I should mention that I took full advantage of the close proximity to her exciting renovation project, making regular unannounced drive-by’s and drop-ins (nightmare neighbourly behaviour) to get a look at how the work was progressing. Show me a house being renovated and I am like a moth to a flame! Karen was graciously accommodating of my nosey inspections and I loved watching her magic unfold. This woman has a serious eye for detail and her taste is immaculate. As such, the end result, both indoors and out, is nothing short of awe-inspiring!

For Dubai residents who are familiar with The Springs homes, you will have a particular appreciation for the transformation of this space. Many features and furniture in the home are custom made to Karen’s detailed specifications, but she also employed clever tricks like using IKEA kitchen cabinets and wardrobes coupled with custom-made doors to give them a high end look and feel. She and her landscaper have also done an amazing job in the garden area.

Karen kindly agreed to let me feature her masterpiece on House of Hawkes and I’m thrilled to be be able to show you this home. I also managed to corner her for a very brief Q&A and an inside scoop on some of her sourcing.

What is your favorite element or space in your new home?

My favourite spaces are the open plan kitchen and the study, it is very calming and soothing. Favourite elements, brightness and light in the villa, subtle colours in the interiors (neutral tones of grey and whites with wooden floors). I also love the concealed ambient lighting at night, both inside and outdoors.

What was the biggest challenge of this project?

The villa has undergone a full renovation as the kitchen, all bathrooms as well as ceilings and flooring were redone. The challenges, like any other renovation, were definitely keeping to the budget and timeline. I think everyone assumes designers have it all sorted but in reality there are always challenges (we had to change contractor during the process) but it the end all worked out very well. One thing I realised along the way is that it is actually easier to make selections for clients than for your own home as it is so personal.

What was your ‘big indulgence’ for this project?

The open plan kitchen, outdoor landscaping and the master bathroom free standing bath.

Your best advice for someone considering a big renovation?

Prepare a mood board of images (Pinterest board), so that the designer/architect has a clear understanding of exactly the style you have in mind. Plan ahead and make product selections early on to prevent any delays later. Contractor selection is very important, select the most recommended contractor if budget allows as this will reduce stress levels during the process . And be sure to request a detailed contract. Do regular site visits to pre-empt any site mistakes to prevent delays for handover.

Your little black book of resources and suppliers?

Accessories – Country RoadUrbannestNook ConceptH&M HomeThe Bowery Company
Vinyl Flooring – Floor World
Outdoor Accessories – Crate and Barrel
Bathroom and Kitchen – Bagno Designs
Kitchen Cabinets and Accessories – Ikea
Artwork – Mapiful
Elm Stool in Bathroom – Abode Lifestyle
Towel Hanger in Bathroom – Ferm Living
Coffee Table and Bedside Tables – Mezzanine Interiors
Bedside Lamps – Dtales


all images by Natalee Cocks

Kathryn Hawkes

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Hi, I’m Kathryn


House of Hawkes is a boutique interior design studio based in Dubai. This website is where it all started and remains a creative space for my love of design and decor, and for sharing awesome everyday things. More about me & the team

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