Tampa-based interior designer Karen Post has a unique way of describing her business – delicious! Her full-service luxury interior design studio, Home Frosting, is all about delivering homes that create a sensory experience that feeds the soul. She creates diverse and delicious spaces reflecting how clients live, constantly ensuring they experience joy in their homes.
Home Frosting designs curated homes that stand the test of time. Karen steps into the client’s shoes to understand their needs and provides innovative solutions wrapped in beautiful design packages. She believes in a “less is more” philosophy prioritizing clean lines and unique designs over cookie-cutter projects.
Karen sits with me to share her thoughts about interior design, her business model, and what drives her passion for great design. So please welcome, Karen.
Q: Your portfolio showcases multiple design styles – including Mediterranean, contemporary, and traditional. Do you have a signature style or a design strength?
Karen: Home Frosting's style is elevated, curated, and guided by timeless design principles. We create diverse and delicious spaces that reflect how our clients live.
Q: You started your career in fashion and visual merchandising and moved on to advertising and branding. How and why did you decide to shift your career to interior design?
Karen: Interior design has always been a strong passion of mine. However, it was not until I sold my personal real estate that I ever considered my entrepreneurial and fashion, and graphic design skills could transfer to this industry. Prior to starting Home Frosting, my career included strong visual creativity in fashion merchandising, advertising, marketing, and professional speaking. In 2016, I was looking for my next career/life chapter and was spending a lot more time in my home market. My longtime love of interiors and my past experiences had an aha moment, and the rest is history.
Q: You have a huge stock of interior design inventory in your showroom warehouse. Does that support your interior design projects, or is it strictly a retail endeavor?
Karen: Both. When Home Frosting first started, our focus was exclusively on luxury staging. Our studio was filled with inventory to stage with. As the design side of our business grew, we started stocking items that clients could see before they buy. Now, we have a showroom mix of both. As our studio presence invites more consumers into our studio, I do see it expanding into a retail destination.
Q: Can you walk us through the major steps in your design process, from when a client rings your phone to the final installation?
Karen: The Home Frosting design process is an exciting stream of phases, including exploration, onboarding, research and development, implementation, and the final cupcake toast. The exploration phase starts with the client intake form that dives into the client’s needs, style, timeline, and budget. Then, after a 30-minute phone consultation, we establish the project scope in an on-site meeting to gather the final details for a formal proposal leading to a contract.
We then onboard our clients by establishing deadlines, budgets, and deliverables. At this time, the client shares any visions, inspiration pictures, or special requests. From this information, we present a design brief and bubble plan. The next phase of our design process includes high-level concept research and design development based on the design brief, exchanged images, and meetings. Working from the approved design concept, we refine the ideas and add details to the preliminary conceptual plan to build a master plan which may include specifying finishes and documentation, identification of best trade experts, and project tracking. Once the master plan is approved, we create a project dashboard that kicks off our implementation phase of the design process. The project dashboard includes purchasing trackers, specialized teams, equipment needs, and installations.
Toward the end of the project, we coordinate the installation of furnishings, art, plants, and final touches and then photograph the space. After the project journey is complete, we schedule the big reveal and have a cupcake toast with our clients in their beautiful new interior!
Q: You share that your interior designs make life and homes delicious. It’s a unique way of using a sensory experience to describe your design approach. Please share about this.
Karen: A delicious home is beautiful, feels great, is in good taste, and has an intentional harmony. A delicious life is a state of mind where all your senses feed your soul, your world is full of joy, and you are happy.
Q: What makes you and your design approach different from other interior designers?
Karen: Our pink glove approach to service, business acumen, pro-America products, and support of other entrepreneurs.
Q: Do you have a team of trusted tradespeople you work with? How do you choose your team for each project?
Karen: Yes, Home Frosting has a deep network of trade and artisan professionals we have a history of working with. We build teams based on schedules, expertise, and budgets.
Q: Who is your typical client, and what makes you uniquely suited to fulfill their needs?
Karen: Home Frosting’s typical client is a busy person who values an elevated aesthetic, a high-quality standard, customer service, and creativity. We are very empathetic and compassionate with our clients, which is why we work well with clients who are going through change: city transplants, empty nesters, recently single, combining households, just sold their business or retirees.
Q: Online reviews for your design studio frequently site your attentive service and capacity to work within your clients’ budgets. Tell us about your approach to value engineering. What tips and tricks do you use to ensure budget-friendly results?
Karen: Price is typically not a motivation in why clients hire Home Frosting. We deliver the most value by maximizing their investment. We do this with creativity, a vast network of suppliers, and a problem-solving mindset.
Q: What type of services do you offer for transplants? How do you ensure new residents have a soft landing in their new homes? And, can this all be done remotely?
Karen: We have had huge success in this area with professional athletes, executives, and young families moving to Tampa. Our visual tools make it easy to communicate remotely because clients can see the vision of their projects. Beyond design, we provide luxury concierge services for local service providers they may need and offer introductions.
AA: Thank you so much for sharing your time with us, Karen. It has been an enlightening conversation. Always a pleasure to talk with you!