Designer Kara Mann of Chicago and New York shares her wish list and what's on her radar.

By Brielle M. Ferreira
April 11, 2013
Photo: Jonny Valiant

Ideal wallpaper for a bedroom?
KM: I like bedrooms to be serene, light, and airy, so anything from de Gournay is usually great. I'm crazy about their lovely Lilac Hint naturally textured silk paper.

How does geography affect your design approach?
KM: For a lake house in Illinois, I'd use more subdued palettes with beautiful deep greens and true reds. For a house in the Caribbean, though, I'd kick up the intensity with vibrant fuchsia and Yves Klein deep blues.

Advice for homeowners?
KM: Edit, organize, and curate everything you own! Take time to get rid of what you don't want or need so that you can display the things you love with purpose.

On your wish list?
KM: I'm always searching antiques stores and flea markets for the perfect threadbare rug, no matter what the style—Khotans, kilims, anything that's faded.

Tips for a quick makeover?
KM: Switch out your accessories to change the feeling of a room instantly. For spring, go lighter: Use fewer pillows, and put away the heavy throws. Bring in brighter, more saturated colors.

Favorite beach brew?
KM: It's called a chelada, and I learned about it in Mexico. It's light beer on ice with fresh lime juice in a glass with a salted rim—kind of like a beer margarita!

Fill your beach house with...
KM: Beautiful pieces made from natural materials that have a well-worn patina. Your home should be simple and comfortable, not complicated.