NewsOK | Interior designer Karen Black helps fulfill clients’ dreams

An article from back in July 2009 on NewsOK by Tim Fall

Super-secret insider tip to homeowners trying to book Karen Black for an interior design or remodel project: Tell her you’ve got a space that can’t be improved.
Before you hang up the phone, you may well hear the squeal of her tires in your driveway.

Because, as Black said, she is not only up for a challenge — it’s what she lives for.

"I need to be inspired by a space,” she said, "and by a homeowner’s struggle with that space.”

Black graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in interior design and faced a different kind of challenge when she entered the work force 25 years ago.

The only job offer waiting for her was from a commercial firm in Boston.

"I had to decide whether I just wanted a job,” she said, "or a career doing what I loved.”

Almost 1,000 residential designs later, the choice she made is obvious.

"I wanted to do residential projects,” Black recalled. "I always preferred working with the homeowner.”

She described her process as the art of connecting with how clients live and work.

"I sit with them in a space and do sketches and revisions,” Black said. "I want to hear all their ideas about the space, and if I can share my own ideas, I do.”

In just more than a decade, Carl Milam of Oklahoma City has had four kitchens designed and built by Black.

"She did our Heritage Hills kitchen in 1997,” Milam said, "and we’d never have moved, but our dream house came along a couple years later.”

Dream house it might have been, but it still needed a kitchen remodel, Milam said.

"We couldn’t imagine doing that job without Karen,” he said.

Porter Berry of Nichols Hills echoed that sentiment. For Berry, it was Black’s professionalism and credibility that made him a repeat client.

"We’ve done numerous remodels with numerous contractors.” Berry said. "What Karen says is exactly what she does. Karen is the only one ever to complete a job for us exactly as quoted.”

On her own after more than a decade spent designing interiors for local firms, Black made the decision to launch her own company in 1997, with Karen Black’s Kitchens & Rooms By Design.

NewsAngela Daniels