Designer Kara Mann has a long list of stunning interiors on her CV—from private residences to impressive projects like the Chelsea Hotel. And now, you can bring a little of Mann’s aesthetic to your own home, via her brand new furniture and décor collection. In collaboration with Milling Road, the home series includes seating options, tables, accents and more. The pieces hit just the right balance between unique and modern, while also remaining effortless and approachable.

To celebrate the release, we caught up with the designer on personal style, inspiration, and the three pieces she thinks are must-haves from the collection.


Tell me about your path to becoming a designer. When did you know this was the right job for you?

I studied fine art at Tulane University and really had no idea how I would apply that to a career once I graduated. My father had a friend in advertising who saw that I loved sourcing and suggested a career as a stylist. I didn’t really know what that meant at the time, but he called the two photographers he knew; I started assisting them and eventually worked my way into my own gigs.

It wasn’t until I was years into styling that I realized it wasn’t just propping that interested me. I wanted to create entire environments—this was a real light bulb moment. I went back to school at night to study interior design and instantly I knew it was the right move for me. After graduating, I wanted to run a business, so I formed a partnership with another designer. After four years, I went out on my own in 2005, starting Kara Mann. In 2011, I expanded my business and opened an office in New York City.

How would you describe your personal design aesthetic?

I am always interested in finding both the balance and the tension between sophistication and edge, classicism and irreverence, the cutting edge and the enduring, and the feminine and the masculine.

What designers/artists have inspired you?

I have a wide range of influences from the worlds of art, fashion and architecture, all of which inspire me in their own unique way. My art influences include Anish Kapoor, Carlo Mollino, Robert Heinecken, and Bill Henson. Fashion inspiration comes from Hedi Slimane of Saint Laurent, Balmain, Tom Ford, and Céline, and architects such as John Pawson, Joseph Dirand, and Carlos Scarpa. My mother influenced me especially with her creation of our beautiful family home, and taught me to appreciate the craftsmanship in every form, from food and furniture to jewelry and clothing.

How has your design style evolved since you started your design firm in 2005?

Style is forever, right? I don’t think my style has really changed at all; I have just become much more confident in the way that I apply it.

How would you describe the way you’ve designed your own home?

As the saying goes, “the shoemakers’ children go barefoot.” I’m always so busy with my clients and projects that I’m sorry to say I have neglected my own home slightly.

Tell me about a project that has been a highlight thus far in your career.

Sorry if it sounds trite, but every project is rewarding and a highlight in it’s own way. They are always learning experience and help me constantly grow and evolve as a designer.

Why did you decide to collaborate with Milling Road on this collection?

I love the idea of working with a heritage brand like Baker’s Milling Road and helping to inject it with a new sense of energy and relevance, while still respecting its ethos.

How would you describe the collection, and what was your inspiration behind it?

The Kara Mann for Milling Road collection was designed for a person with a certain set of values and interests. I am always inspired by my clients, and with this collection we imagined a customer who loves design and appreciates the quality, details and layers that are inherent in the collection—someone who cares about home and environment, who appreciates being surrounded by things that are thoughtful, beautiful, and luxurious. While the collection is luxurious, from the fashion-inspired fabrics and the metallic accents, we also wanted to make sure that the line felt comfortable and, importantly, attainable in terms of price.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Professionally, we have many wonderful residential projects on the boards and in construction that should be finished soon, and are also working on several hotel and residential developments. We are also finishing a retail store just outside of Chicago and a restaurant in Los Angeles, which I’m so excited about

Which are your 3 favourite pieces from the collection?

  1. The Caged Bed – “I love the balance between masculine and feminine in this updated canopy.”The Caged Bed
  1. The Block Cocktail Table – “The unexpected metal stretcher feels like a glamorous piece of jewelry.”The Block Cocktail Table
  1. The Cane Dining/Side Chair – “Simplicity meets edge.”

The Cand Dining : Side Chair

Check out the rest of the collection below. Kara Mann for Milling Road is available exclusively in Toronto at Elte. For additional retailers near you, click here

Baker_KaraMannForMillingRoad_lifestyle (1) Baker_KaraMannForMillingRoad_lifestyle (2) Baker_KaraMannForMillingRoad_lifestyle (3) Baker_KaraMannForMillingRoad_lifestyle (4) Baker_KaraMannForMillingRoad_lifestyle (5)

Images courtesy of Kara Mann.