Ask a Designer: Karen Young

Former fashion executive and founder of the new textile company Hammocks & High Tea, Karen Young, answers your queries.
Writer: Sarah Latta

What memories from your childhood inspired this particular product line?
KY: I grew up in Guyana, South America, which has an incredible fusion of cultures. My grandmother insisted on daily tea despite the heat, so it was truly "hammocks and high tea." Classic Guyanese weavings infused with dramatic color influenced this collection.

What does a hit of tropical style do for a home?
KY: Textures like jute, mango wood, and bamboo instill a sense of natural peace; bright colors act as mood boosters. One thing I learned from South American design is that if you blend what you love, it will—more likely than not—work.

How do you interpret the Caribbean modern look for a bedroom?
KY: I use grasscloth walls, a tufted linen headboard with brass nailhead trim, a sisal rug, and hammered-metal side tables—plus bold pillows for punch.

What color can you not get enough of?
KY: I've never loved another color like deep, rich red. In my first apartment, I picked the deepest red I could find and painted a square on a far wall. It was like living in the MoMA, especially because I had little furniture to go with it!