Take Ten with Krista Coupar

For the second installment of our Take Ten series, we've turned to Coupar founder and CEO Krista Coupar to learn more about her background in design and the inspiration behind the one-of-a-kind business model. Read on to learn more about Krista's take on interior design and approach to working with designers in the Bay Area and beyond. 

How would you describe Coupar’s signature style?
Krista Coupar: Our signature style is clean, uncomplicated, with a focus on materials and form. It’s understated, and draws inspiration from the intersection of art and technology, nature and urban with a focus on balance of calmness and energy within the space. But for our clients, we design in line with their vision, brand and aesthetic requirements. Good design takes all shapes, forms and points of view, and we love embracing that in our work with other designers. 

How is that reflected in the spaces you design for clients?
KC: At Coupar, we collaborate with numerous designers, builders and architects to execute their design projects, rather than create our own. We support them through all the technical aspects of design and execution—from initial concept boards to installation. This allows our style to mold to mirror that of the client and lead visionary, and traverse all modes of design. No matter the project, we bring an attention to detail and well-trained eye to every task we complete.

How would you describe the style of Coupar's SFDC office?
Our office style is fluid but at the moment, it includes artwork from local artists such as the late Rex Ray and Danielle Mourning. Our space is a work environment too, so we try to create a sense of calmness with momentum. It’s a nimble space that has the ability to transform given what our current client and project focus is. Used as a workspace for other designers, a meeting space for teams, or an event space for seminars and lunch and learns. Most recently we transformed it into a pop-up space to showcase a luxury LA furniture, lighting and textile line. Our space is an incubator for the design industry and has to allow for the flexibility for us to transform it into whatever we are experimenting with at the moment while collaborating with clients and the industry at large.

What have been some of your favorite design ventures?
KC: The San Francisco Decorator Showcase is the West Coast’s premier design showhouse and one of our favorite annual affairs. This year, we represented eleven designers, assisting them with everything from installation to securing national press coverage. The process is exhilarating and we love seeing our clients’ spaces come to life.

What do you want clients to take away from their visit? How is that reflected in the office's design?
KC: That we can really do anything. We are a multidiscipline firm with deep connections in the industry at large that we are able to take ideas and through collaboration with top industry creatives and professionals bring those ideas to life.
What inspires you? Who are your style icons?
KC: I am inspired by visionaries and innovators, people who are able to take from their world experience and transform it into art, an experience or a thing of beauty. At the moment, I am fascinated with mixing a youthful perception of the world with a wise world view. Ageless Innovation. I am finding the most inspiration with my clients that are 70+. How do you take their worldview and mix it with technology to create something innovative that combines design, education, and an experience that inspires and engages? Curiosity is my main muse, along with the diversity of experience as you meet and interact with people. I love that the world is not one color, not one point of view. The best design is made through the melding of different points of view and the courage to push into new territory. Syrie Maugham, Tony Duquette, Elsie de Wolfe, Michael Taylor, Anthony Hail, John Dickinson, Sister Parish and Albert Hadley are all my interior icons. You trace the design family tree out from there and you will find the best designers designing today. Excellence and commitment to the craft is what creates a superior space. 

What first drew you in interior design?
KC: I think I was born with the innate belief that there is beauty in all things and whenever possible all things should be beautiful. I think we should all strive to create beauty and honor beauty in the world around us. A walk in nature, a trip to a new city, all things I come across I find beauty. My work is to perpetuate that feeling in spaces, in business, in everything I come in contact with.

What is something that surprised you when you first started in this field?
KC: That from chaos comes order. It gets messy before something worth living in is created. And this chaos lasts up until the installation. 

What are your personal rules for designing a space?
KC: Hire an expert to help draw out your best vision and expand your understanding of what is possible in design and follow what you love and what brings you inspiration when pulling the elements together. Your space should reflect your best self. 

What interior design rules do you LOVE to break?
KC: Mixing metals.

What is your best kept design secret?
KC: If you are new to designing your space, don’t have a full understanding of what your aesthetic or budget is, go with an online design platform or service. Even if you eventually end up hiring a full service designer, it’s an economical way to discover the world of design, its offerings and associated costs. 

What advice do you have for people who want to create a home that is both beautiful and livable?
KC: I have six children, and as I said before, beauty is a non-negotiable. But I also need items that can stand the wear and tear. Because of how I live, I mix retail with custom pieces. For the kids rooms I rely heavily on retail, and I am not afraid of repurposing where needed. I recently took a retail parson’s desk, skirted it and put it in my entry. It is great in a crunch when I have to hide shoes, backpacks and soccer balls at a moment’s notice. Pick retail items you are not going to move from house to house throughout your lifetime and take some creative risks in those areas -- you can play with trends without paying the price.  I do focus some resources on custom pieces that I will love and use throughout my lifetime. I try to invest in items like rugs, art and more substantial case goods that I will likely use for the long haul. Design to your style and not what is in trend, it will save you from reinvesting in key pieces.

What is your favorite part about designing a space?
KC: Learning about the people that live there, how they live, what they love and what makes them unique. Taking that set of loves and interests and creating a space that reflects their personal point of view.

Interested in learning more about how you can collaborate with Studio Coupar and Coupar Communications? Click here to learn more.