While most people are working on their spring home tours, I’m sitting here looking at my home and thinking: what’s next? It seems in my life I have often been thinking: “what’s next?”. But sometimes it’s not so much about the decor, but about the life I’ve built within it.
I didn’t originally start this journey as a designer. I started my journey (way back when) by wanting to be a nurse. My mother in-law and best friend, who passed last April, had been a nurse, and she was such an incredible woman that it only seemed natural to want to follow in her footsteps.
That dream of what I deemed a very noble livelihood quickly diminished when I learned that I’d faint at the first sight of blood! The lesson was a little late, as face planting in front of a room of your peers and teachers is not the ideal way to learn that!
From there, and with the support of my husband, I went on to Early Childhood Education. It was a natural next step, and most of my credits could be transferred. I thought I had found my place, but after having my second child and going back into the field, there were some terrible things that happened, which set me on a very different course. I ended up back in school, with two little babies at home, and decided on a career in social work. I didn’t go into social work thinking that I would make the world a better place, that I would change things, or that I would have an impact – that wasn’t me. I went into social work because I wanted to understand. I wanted to figure out why people thought the way they did, what made them different, what made them do the things they did. I wanted to understand unusual behaviours and how people got to that point in their lives. What caused a man to rape, or a woman to beat her child? What is the breaking point? What are the circumstances that lead to that behaviour? Is it social or is it biological, or a combination of both? Schooling and a degree helped with this, but it didn’t answer all of my questions; it only created more… Once I started working in the field (my area of specialty was family maltreatment, sexuality, marriage and the family, sexual deviation and dual diagnosis) I only became more and more disenchanted with the world, and more and more unhappy. This career path lead me down a long and winding road and, don’t get me wrong – I wouldn’t be who I am without it. But, it didn’t really give me an understanding or answers to my questions. What it did instead, was make me less affected by the world around me. I began to see the deviations in people as part of every day life – after all, I was living them daily. They didn’t have the same impact on me, and I became unhappy and unaffected.
After winning the battle with cancer in 2002, I decided I needed to make a change and live life. I mean really live life! To see the beauty in every day! No more tip toeing around what I really wanted, what I was really passionate about. I decided that my life needed to take a turn, change direction to where things affected me, and where I could learn to laugh and see the world as warm again. A direction where I could give back in a different way, where I could be there for my family, and where I could be happy. My wonderful husband
was fully supportive, as he could see I needed this change as badly as I did. This is how I came to be an Interior Designer. I know it seems like the complete opposite from social work, but it was a creative outlet. Being married to a creative man, it was easy for me to embrace this, and find encouragement and assistance if I needed it. I took my Design courses, and when I finished, I decided I’d start my own business. My kids were in high school at this point, and I could be around more for them. It was a wonderful time, but also a terrifying time in my life. I started slow, with a little bit of advertising, and I got my name out there. I did some good work in town and word-of-mouth got around. Next thing I knew, my little company began to grow.
I’m often asked why I decided to go into Interior Design, and my answer is this: a house is so much more than walls and a floor. A house holds a family and keeps them safe. Throughout my life’s journey, I had always prided myself on making a home for my family, and now I wanted to help others do the same. I wanted to create safe havens for them. I wanted to create spaces that would represent their families, their needs, their hopes and their dreams. By helping them do this, I grew so much as a person. And believe me, my social work came in handy – talk about marriage counselling! Now at 50, I can look back on my life and I really feel like I’ve accomplished something. I’ve formed a lot of new friendships. I’ve really honed in on my creative side and I’ve created homes! That is what makes me happy. I now have Instagram and I share my thoughts, my home, my family and my creative side with others. This brings me so much happiness. The idea of lifting others up and giving them what they need to make their dreams come true, and hopefully helping other women feel empowered, fills my heart with happiness. I don’t know how or why I have the 100k+ followers on Instagram, but I am so grateful each and every day for this life, for this chance, and for this experience. I hope and I pray that I can lift others up in the same way.
So this is me, this is what my life is about. It gives you a little bit of an insight to the woman behind Inside Out Designs and @designsbyKaran.
I guess what I’d like to close with is – don’t be afraid to follow your dreams, and don’t be afraid to take a chance. You’ll never know unless you do! I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without taking that chance. So believe in yourself, and always, always lift others up!
With love always,