A huge element of our ethos at Decor A List is to embrace each other’s style, whether that be contemporary, traditional, minimalist or even maximalist — whether you prefer antiquities or Ikea (and everything in-between of course)! Editor-in-Chief at ESTILA Magazine, Karolina Barnes explains to me what makes her unique and how this is manifested in her home. I can actually relate to her as recently especially I’ve been juggling what seems to be hundreds of things at the moment (a business that is full time, alongside a part time job in interior design, a Master’s in Art Business at Sotheby’s and the occasional babysitting job). But I love it! I love being busy and how each day isn’t the same – that truly makes me unique as I don’t subscribe to what’s ‘conventional.’
While Decor A List clearly predominantly focuses on interiors, home furnishings and art, I like to believe that there is a wider picture here: variety, diversity and acceptance. Since everyone has a different background and their own ‘story’, we like to embrace that and promote this through individuality in your home. Let’s find out more about Karolina:
Please could you quickly introduce yourself? Tell us what you do, what your hobbies are, your passions in life and what makes you smile.
My name is Karolina Barnes and I’m the editor of Estila magazine. I started the magazine almost two years ago but renamed it last year. My journey to launching the magazine is more zig-zag rather than straight. After we closed down our importing business in 2013 and a life-changing diagnosis, I found myself at a crossroad. I evaluated what I enjoyed doing while running the business and concluded that design and interiors were my jam. I enrolled at KLC Design School in London and started my Diploma course to gain more knowledge. Since I’m very impatient, I also managed to find myself a job in the field to see if that’s something I could pursue. By pure accident I came across an American designer’s blog, which by the way was so inspiring, and so I got into blogging as well. I was struggling with juggling all the balls in the air, and in the end I decided to leave London behind and focus on my own thing again. I focused on blogging and started to experiment more with graphics, layouts, stories and topics. I noticed that I unsubscribed from all magazine’s subscriptions I had because I found consuming blogs more current, interesting and inspirational. However, I got really overwhelmed with all of the information out there. And, I was also struggling to find clients. I was frustrated and while brainstorming with my content mentor, we came up with the idea of an e-magazine. She suggested to try and test the waters but I went full steam ahead. When I make my mind up, I just go for it. So I contacted few other bloggers in their field of expertise and we published our first issue two weeks later.
I think the magazine really reflects what I like and what I’m about – colour and style. My passion and mission in life is to inspire women to find their own style and embrace it. To me, style is about who you are. It’s the way you present yourself to the world, whether that’s through interiors, your wardrobe, where you go on holidays, the food you enjoy or the way you communicate with others.
Part of our ethos at Decor A List is to embrace everyone’s individuality and innately stylish flair which makes them unique. What makes you unique and how is this reflected in your home?
As a practical girl I’m drawn to timeless design, longevity, versatility and multifunction. My home is filled with furniture which we bought a decade ago. Colour is also present, of course. Each room has its own personality yet the whole house is cohesive. I think in terms of style I’m about modern mixed with classics.
What was your childhood ambition?
Unfortunately, I was one of those kids who never new what they wanted to be. I was thrown into my parent’s business as soon as they felt I can manage to deal with customers on my own prior to which I was involved in every possible aspect of marketing of an early start-up. This experience really made my ambitions quite blurry. The only thing I knew at the age of 18 was that I didn’t want to work for my parents and the only way to do that was to leave the country for good. So I did. And now, after almost 2 decades I’m back..remotely.
Who is your hero?
Richard Branson. I think he is a great role model to anyone who wants to turn their dreams and ambitions into a reality. His life’s journey shows that one can achieve anything they set their mind to. One has to dare to dream big, never being afraid of those dreams and voicing them out to others.
What is your secret to success?
Success to me is being who you are and doing what you love. As they say, we have only one shot at life and so we must explore who we are. So many people try to pretend to be someone they are not, to have and reach ambitious goals yet to find out that they wasted time chasing something which isn’t what they are about. Or, they wait until the kids grow up to only find out that it’s too late to pursue their real passion. Most people don’t reach their full potential for these two reasons. They simply give up somewhere on the way. My attitude is to constantly challenge myself and to learn new skills so I can reach my own potential. If I can look back on my live and have no regrets, helping and inspiring others on the way, I see that as a success.
What’s your advice to any aspiring designers?
Learn, test and adjust. Don’t copy, always create your own way of doing things. Look to progress and never stagnate. Reach books, network a lot, make new connections, ask a lot of questions. I always say that it’s what and who you know that will help you, in life and business.
Favourite interior hub in London? (Hotel, restaurant…)
I like visiting Anthropologie and any of the Firmdale Hotels. Every time I go in, I get inspired by so many things.
If you would like to be interviewed for a Decor A List interview in a similar manner — or you know someone who would be a good fit — please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the heading ‘Interview: What Makes Me Unique’ with your name.