Sara Karkenny spent her childhood rearranging and decorating her bedroom, but never considered a career in interior design until a sales job at Anthropologie. “Anthro was a place that bred design, art, beauty and so much more. After working there for several years and completing an internship in their visual installations, I came to find that I never wanted to escape being in a place of beauty everyday.” Now a freelance stylist, she is constantly creating spaces of beauty for others. She says, “I loved the feeling of people coming to me thinking they couldn’t change their space into what they always imagined and then were shocked at the end of the project when it was everything they thought it couldn’t be. I adore helping people see that spaces, especially homes are a refection of who you are and your personality. Homes are such an intimate canvas to create beauty on, I enjoy the process of learning about people and giving them something that they can share with others who walk in their door.”
There is one space is the extra-special, though, and that is her own home. Today, Sara is sharing a tour of the LA bungalow she shares with her husband and giving us the inside scoop on small design style.
You refer to your home as a “little bungalow.” How did you tackle designing your home given its square footage?
Our main goal for our Bungalow was to make sure we used the space we had to its fullest potential. When you have a small space sometimes it’s overwhelming because you feel the need to shove all of life in a couple hundred square feet. We saw this as a challenge but also as an opportunity to simplify and only bring what we absolutely needed. The bungalow has a very open floor plan so creating destinations and different pockets was key. For example, we absolutely needed an island to break up the living room destination from the kitchen.
Creating distinct areas can give a small space a sense of order and a sense that everything has its place.
With having such a small space there is definitely an issue with scale and where you place things. We definitely needed more items that had a closed storage design instead of open. For example, we really utilized our jute baskets to store extra clothes since our closet space is so small. It was an item where it looked pretty aesthetically, but also served a purpose functionally.
We didn’t want too many meaningless items so we chose very carefully what furniture and pieces we wanted to invest in. We love that we have so many pieces from local artists, some even being close friends. Our space is such a mixture of things, but we hope our guests feel a sense of calm and welcoming invitation when they come to visit.
Space was a constraint, but on the flipside, your home has a lot of great attributes like a fantastic outdoors space and plenty of natural light. How did you take advantage of these?
It has such a charm all by itself with the exposed beams and ivy cascading down its exterior walls. There’s a beauty about it we could have never designed, styled or created, it’s just there. We also tried to accentuate what the space naturally had, like high ceilings. We put hanging planters to direct the eye up and a lower set couch to make the space look bigger and taller. We chose stools that didn’t have a back because it seemed to heavy for the space it was in, and made it look more open and less closed off. It’s funny how simple decisions like that can make a huge difference. With all of our furniture it was very intentional why we chose what we did. My husband was such a help in this area, because he is very good with a multi purpose mindset and efficiency, even in design. The whole process really has been such a team effort.