Designer Q&A: Tyler Karu

We are kicking off our Designer Q&A series with one of our favorite interior designers in Maine – Tyler Karu! Tyler and her mother, Candace, partnered with us in custom designing one of our signature pieces, the Karu Dining Table. The original Karu table was first featured in the Vanderbilt Carriage House Designer Showhouse in Bar Harbor and now resides in Candace’s art-filled dining room in Cape Elizabeth. This trestle-style table, with its raw steel accents, is a Huston & Company favorite. We love the way the custom grey stain on the white oak looks with the raw steel running through the tabletop and along the outsides of the trestles.

We recently had the chance to photograph Tyler and the Karu Dining Table at her mother’s home, which is as beautiful as you might expect with the blending of their two aesthetics. You can view more of Candace’s lovely home near Kettle Cove on Tyler’s website here. Scroll down to read more about Tyler, her experience working with Huston & Company, her design philosophy, and more. 

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Professionally, I have an interior design/renovation business that I have had running in some capacity for almost 9 years. Unprofessionally, I am a dog mom to two Great Danes and a Brussels Griffon, whose perfect day would include walking my dogs by the water, a little tennis, and some s’mores by the fire pit. 

What was the inspiration behind the Karu Table? 

The Karu Table was inspired by my interest in mixing materials. I wanted to incorporate metal and wood into a table. We designed one that could work with different metals and wood finishes to create different looks for future pieces.

When do you advise your clients to consider custom pieces for their home?

I advise them to consider going the custom route when we are specifying pieces that will endure many years of use. Dining tables being number one. They can be passed down for generations. Beds, case goods, high quality furnishings that can stand the test of time are best to be created specifically for the client.

Describe your experience working with Huston & Company.

I love working with Huston & Company for a few reasons. They are incredibly collaborative. While I may have a design direction in mind, they are expert craftsmen and I value their opinions regarding what will work well for each inch of each piece. They also play close attention to form and function as well as design. Their pieces feel like timeless heirlooms.

How would you describe your style? And what is your design philosophy?

I would describe my style as collected, yet edited, casual, yet refined. My design philosophy is rooted in the successful mix of materials, price points, textiles and pieces that aren’t necessarily expected, but still work together.

What are some of your favorite sources for unique, quality items for the home?

My favorite source would be all the various custom craftsmen I have met over the years. Just because a piece is custom doesn’t mean it’s a bank breaker. This applies to furnishings, lighting, built-ins, etc. Unique, quality pieces are at their best when you get to design them for your exact needs.

A dream project or collaboration?

My dream project would be a floor to ceiling, full-scale Mid-Century remodel and furnishing project in Maine. We don’t have many Mid-Century homes in these parts, so I doubt it will happen, but it would be THE BEST.

A special thanks to Tyler for her thoughtful answers for our Q&A series. Be sure to keep up with Tyler’s most current work by following her Instagram account – it is full of wonderful design inspiration!

Photos and content by Willard Creative for Huston & Company.