Interview with EK Interiors

Hello again! Y’all rock for coming back to read our second bit. As promised, this is the first of many blog posts where we are featuring fabulous interior designers! Each week will be a little different— before and afters, business tips, mood boards – but to start us off I figured I would keep it close to home and do a simple interview with remodel extraordinaire and dear friend,
Emily Karempelis, of EK Interiors.

 
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Emily has over 10 years of experience designing unique, functional homes in the Southeast. She’s also a total boss lady, and at 28, runs her own company, manages over 15 projects at a time, AND tends to her sweet new baby boy, William. Since she doesn’t have enough to do, I went ahead and took some time to interview her. 


INTERVIEW

SLIGHTLY EAST: Who/what are some of your design inspirations? 
EMILY KAREMPELIS: I reference a lot of architecture books. I try to keep everything timeless, so I find myself flipping through pages of Bobby McAlpine and Historical Concepts. Both of them create elegant, classic homes. 

SE: What is your creative process? 
EK: Depends on the project. I start by listening to the client’s goals for the space from both a functional and aesthetic standpoint. I also ask them what they do and don’t like about their current space as well as show them images from my other projects or Pinterest. I like to show my clients a variety of different styles to figure out what they like and dislike immediately. Then, I assess the space (and their budget) and figure out if their goals are attainable. If not, I make alternative suggestions— you have to manage their expectations up front. Then I come up with several schematic plans. We tweak or merge plans as the client sees fit and finally draw up the elevations with detailed cabinetry and millwork. From there I really get into inspiration boards with stone, fabrics, photos, etc. 

SE: What is your favorite project?
EK: The Lake Allatoona project is definitely my favorite because the clients were a total dream. They gave me a ton of creative freedom and trusted my vision from the get go. Even if there were things that they questioned, once I explained it, there was rarely a no. I know them well and they trusted me to create a space that mirrored their personalities and lifestyle. I think we were successful in that; the space it is rustic, but elegant.

SE: What’s your biggest challenge as an interior designer? 
EK: Managing the expectations of clients. Most of the time, people have a strong misconception of cost and timelines.  I attribute this to television— you see projects that are completed very quickly on a dime— it’s unrealistic.

Stacy Milburn Mirror from  The Lake Allatoona project

Stacy Milburn Mirror from The Lake Allatoona project

SE: What is a “no” and “go” trend right now?
EK: A no trend: all gray everything. Gray is safe, it will tire very quickly. A go trend: incorporating a pop of color. I love to see something like a clean, white background with a bright blue island, a little bit of fun and a break from the gray. 

SE: So what's your favorite color to “pop”?
EK: I’m a blue person, but I’m also really loving a poppy or rust right now.

SE: How about an accessory?
EK: Stacy Milburn mirrors. They’re a subtle piece of art. I would put them on every project if I could! 


THIS WEEK AT SLIGHTLY EAST

More ikats coming!! This past week has been really busy preparing for fall. We had a photoshoot on Thursday with the lovely Amber McDonnell, and we are making samples and sewing wings. All new patterns should be on our website by September 1st. If you’re in NYC and want a sneak peek before that, contact me! XO


COLOR INSPO OF THE WEEK

 
Nature morte (Le dessert), Pablo Picasso, 1901

Nature morte (Le dessert), Pablo Picasso, 1901

 

Hi, Friends!

This is my very first blog, and I have absolutely no clue how to go about this. What I do know is a hell of a lot of talented people anddd a little bit about design. So, I thought I’d start a weekly blog post featuring designer spotlights, fun color combos, fabulous finds, and a little bit about what we’re up to here at Slightly East. 

Before I go about that next Sunday, EVERY “blog help" article I read said that I should give y’all some background info, so here it goes: 

On one fateful day in 2008 I met Lynn Seiller, my textile mentor and forever friend, at her shop in Louisville, Kentucky. I know what a lot of you big city folk are thinking, but you should have seen this place! It was chocked full of tent bands and carpets and embroideries and grain bags and kilims and mud cloth… it was a beautiful, explosive, cohesive mess.  And so my textile journey began...

 
A small part of Lynn's shop in Louisville, KY

A small part of Lynn's shop in Louisville, KY

 

A few trips over seas and a college degree later (hey, Colonels!), I moved to Atlanta, learned the inner workings of a showroom, and ended up corporate at my dream company….Jim Thompson. This was where I really learned the fabric trade. (Thank you, JT!) These experiences I have mentioned pretty much set me up for my business, so to be quite honest, it fell together on its own. 

 
Turkey 2012. Learning the difference between "bad" and "good" quality.

Turkey 2012. Learning the difference between "bad" and "good" quality.

 

I started Slightly East in June 2016 by accident. At the time, I had a friend from overseas call to see if I could help sell a few (200) ikat and suzani pillows that they had leftover from a show here in the states. Sin shipping account and a soul (so sorry Sarah and Jake), I flew seven hundred miles to make packing slaves out of my friends. After successfully transporting the pillows back to Atlanta, I compiled and sent a super simple powerpoint to a few designers. Turns out, a lot of them sold. I thought it was a really great side gig until I started getting inquiries about fabric, not just pillows.

So, I did the logical thing and I booked a test trip to New York City. I’d shoot out a few emails, take some ikat up there, and if it gained interest, I'd make a deal with several sources to sell stateside. My first appointment was with Miles Redd. 

 
 

Shortly after I took a terribly stupid risk and went full time. It’s been a rollercoaster of hard hits, hustle, and a lot of luck, but finally I have it together! Slightly East opened in our first showroom this past May and is currently partnered with fab independent reps. We also have some exciting things in the works on the production side involving new, original designs (EEK— upholstery weight anyone?!) as well as ready made products. 

Typing this story out now I still can’t believe how fortunate I am, and I certainly wouldn’t be able to continue without you and the wonderful spaces you create! So keep rocking and making and reading this blog . Remember, the good stuff comes next Sunday! 

Xo, 
Mollie