Ask an Expert: Kari Whitman

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Q: Hi Kari! I have pet lovebirds and would love to incorporate their cage into my apartment. I don’t live in a huge space so what’s the best way of making their home look like a part of my home? Thanks!

A: Amazing! Any time there’s a pet in a home, it brings in energy that no piece of furniture possibly can. I love birds and there are so many wonderful birdcages available, especially vintage ones. I recently found this treasure (below left) that would be the perfect addition to a bird lover’s home. I wanted to buy it and fill it with lights, but simply didn’t have room in any of my homes. If you hung a vintage birdcage like this one (below middle) with a thick, brass chain from a hardware store, it would look incredible!

I also like lining pieces with vintage mirror (below right), which I just installed in my client Melanie Griffith’s Central Park West home inside her fireplace. It looks so cool! Omega National Products is a great wall coverings source with reasonable prices.

Ask an Expert Kari Whitman on the Interior CollectiveImages: (left and middle)1st Dibs (right) Flavor Paper

Q: Not everything that’s eco friendly is necessarily pet friendly, right? Are there any eco friendly materials I should shy away from if I have a cat or small dog?

A: This is a tough one, but you’re right! Certain fertilizers and flowers can be especially harmful to pets…holiday poinsettias come to mind this season! Even organic products can cause sickness or death for dogs or cats, large or small, so always read the fine print. Mrs. Meyers makes amazing products for the home and pets and they are always on my must-have list!

Q: HI! I’m about to purchase the wood stick panel wall paper from West Elm for a singular wall in my college age sons bedroom…I’ve painted the other walls a beautiful grey blue. I’m also adding the wood pendant light, what do you think?

A: Wow, this sounds super cool! I happen to absolutely love wood wallpaper and actually just wrapped the beams my Colorado vacation home (below) with paper from Innovations. I love the way it looks!

If you want to mix things up with your wall color, I recently used lacquer for my client Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas’ stunning Central Park West residence. Putting a water-based lacquer with epoxy over your grey blue wall will make it really shine. I love the way this finish adds dimension and a definite wow factor!

Ask an Expert Kari Whitman on the Interior Collective

Meet The New Ask an Expert: Karen Schakarov

Ask an Expert Karen on the Interior Collective

Karen is the VP of Marketing for Caesarstone US and one of the founders of The Interior Collective. She is a lover of inspiration; a supporter of creativity and passionate about life.

This Week's Topic: How to Make Your House a Home for Winter

Karen will be answering the top 5 questions on January 10th. Ask your questions here!

1 Comment

  1. Hi Karen,

    I have been drawn to design and home styling ever since I was a kid. I have always had this creative side to me where I would make sensible pieces of work again out of junk/broken jewelry/stuff. I did not have the resources or the opportunity to learn more about interior design while growing up or when I was working toward my master’s degree in Project Management. Past couple of months I have been out of work and that time I started using the Autodesk homestyler app to design homes; it made me realize how much I would love a creative career. I follow different blogs for design ideas but I want to learn how to evaluate the aesthetics of a home, find the inspiration for color, to create and define a space. I don’t have a bachelor’s in arts or design. So I wanted to ask you how and where can I find mentor for my quest.


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Kari Whitman, celebrity interior designer and television personality, is one of Hollywood’s most sought-after talents. Clients including Jessica Alba, Kristen Bell, Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas, Don Johnson, Virginia Madsen, Emilio Estevez, Don Henley, Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas have flocked to her firm Kari Whitman Interiors ( for her trademark eclectic style, and knowledge of eco- and pet-friendly design. The elegant and inviting spaces she’s created have been featured on the covers of Luxury Home Quarterly, ASID Magazine, Avenues, and her most recent design for royalty was the Spring 2013 cover story of American Builder’s Quarterly. She’s also been featured in In Style, Home and Décor, People, Statement, GENLUX, Modern Dog, and US Weekly, among others.