CNY: Tim & Kara [Kara Paslay Designs]

This week we are super stoked to be sharing with you another talented and fun loving couple! Not only are they practically our neighbors, living in Tulsa, but they are one super cute and powerful team that truly enjoy working together. In fact, you might have seen some of their fun projects in magazines, blogs, and even TV with their easy DIY’s and functional decor affordable for any budget!

Meet Tim and Kara Paslay with Kara Paslay Designs:

“We do a lot of different creative jobs, all which fall under our business “Kara Paslay Designs.”  It is a full time, all consuming business and we love it.  Basically, we will take on any job that involves creative design.  We do or have done interior design for residential homes, retail design for Anthropologie and other Tulsa boutiques, window displays, we write a daily blog, we host DIY classes, we serve as art directors/set decorators for commercial, TV shows, & movies, and we are in the process of developing our own design TV show! :) Basically we love creating and will take every opportunity to do so!”- Kara Paslay

Q1) What was the inspiration behind starting Kara Paslay Design?

A1) Kara- Growing up I promised myself that no matter what I ended up doing that I would love it. I refused to work at a job that I dreaded every day. There was a problem though- my college days were focused on playing basketball. Around my junior year, I realized that I wanted to do interior design after my basketball days were over, but my college didn’t offer the major. So, I went about the rest of my college days trying to squeeze in furniture redo projects and small things I could take on in my apartment. After college Tim and I bought a home. Tim took a job at a construction company to learn the basics of construction/building so that we could apply that knowledge to our home and one day our business. Meanwhile I worked at home honing different skills- designing and redesigning rooms to create a portfolio for myself. We looked at our home as a hands on learning university where we could get the education that we needed to eventually start our own business.

Tim- I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do out of college, but I knew I needed to try things to figure out what I did and didn’t like. I took on the responsibility of bread winning while Kara was getting established and now the rolls have reversed a little bit. I still pitch in, but with a better understanding of what I enjoy doing, I am working on some projects that aren’t necessarily making money yet, but will one day be an enjoyable (and hopefully profitable) business of my own.

Q2) How do you balance a healthy home and running your own business as creative entrepreneurs?

A2) Kara- Luckily, we work together, so there is no shortage of time spent together. However, a business you love can easily consume every waking moment and it can be hard to step back and spend quality time together that is not filled with stressful situations and deadlines. I believe we have work to do in this area, but what helps is that we talk often and in depth about the dreams we have. Because we are on the same page in regards to what we want in the future, we are willing to make sacrifices in the present. Basically we have very little social life but we do make time to workout together at Crossfit almost every day. This helps with stress levels and provides great friendships that we can nurture almost every day.

Tim- We get plenty of time together and our work spills over into every part of our life. It isn’t necessarily what we planned, but it is what we enjoy doing. When we aren’t working on projects for other people, we are experimenting with new tools or techniques to learn new skills. That is one of our favorite things about our new space. We don’t ever really have to stop with projects now, because they are always with us.

Q3) How are your personalities alike and how they are different?

A3) Kara- When it comes to personalities Tim and I really are on opposite ends of the spectrum. I am the more focused/driven one, while Tim is the life of the party. Tim is hilarious and makes me laugh constantly. . . this is the reason I married him. I need that happy go lucky spirit in my life. Oh, I also married him because he is pretty darn handsome too! ;)

Tim- They are completely different and I think that is why we make great partners. She is always trying to go, go, go and I am the one chasing her making things are somewhat in order. If I didn’t have her, I wouldn’t ever get anything done. I would plan forever and never pull the trigger.


Q4. What advice do you have for creatives and/or couples wanting to start their own creative business?

A4) Kara- You must, must make sure you are on the same page as far as what your goals are and the ideas you have on how to get there. Being that most of us are married to personalities different than our own, you have to be able to appreciate the way your spouse conducts business and goes through life in general. I appreciate how easily Tim can cultivate and nurture relationships, while he appreciates that even when things are not going as planned I can stay focused and get things done.  

Tim- For someone who is like me who loves to research, plan, and analyze, DO IT! Start moving, do something, quit reading and go try it. There is only so much you can learn reading and talking to others. You have to actually be doing things for some of the lessons to sink in. Don’t get discouraged if things don’t grow as quickly as you would like or as much as someone else. Things take time and be careful, because the reward for hard work is… more hard work. Make it something you love!

Q5. What is the design project/space that you are the most proud of thus far? Why?

A5) Kara- Definitely our first home! When we bought the house, we had zero experience and by the time we moved (4 years later) it had not only jump started our business, but it got us featured on The Nate Show, in Better Homes and Garden’s DIY Magazine, and on!

Tim- I would say our new space, even though the drywall isn’t done. I was just kind of figuring out that I enjoyed design when we were working on our house, so I was doing most of the construction stuff while Kara was designing. The bones of the new place are much more in line with my design aesthetic and I can’t wait to take on some of the projects I have in mind. (I don’t know if you can really be proud of something you haven’t done yet, but I am.)

Q6) How does where you live inspire your creative process?

A6) Kara- We loved our previous house, but it’s main downfall was we didn’t have room to build and create all the things we wanted. Our new space (a 4000sqft warehouse) not only has enough room to live in (about 1000sqft) but there is plenty of space to create. We also have a ton of storage space which means I can hoard all the things that inspire me! When I’m lacking inspiration I simply walk around the storage area and look at all the cool, random things I’ve collected! :)

Tim- I am naturally drawn to industrial pieces and living in an old building with steel, wood, and brick exposed has been great. The neighborhood has been even more inspiration than the building it self. The scale of the downtown buildings and being so close to the craftsman and industry in the city has been awesome. When you don’t live in a traditional space I think you have even fewer restrictions on your design process. You don’t have to worry about breaking any design rules, because there really aren’t any.  

Q7) Describe a typical Tim and Kara date night?

A7) Kara- Right after college, before we were designing every day, we would go on “Home Depot” dates. Basically we walked around Home Depot and dreamed about all the cool stuff we would make one day. Now our dates either consist of movies (it’s about the only way we can stop thinking about our projects) or sitting down to dinner and discussing our big dreams and how we’re going to make them come true!

Tim- I don’t know about typical, I am not the best about making time to take Kara out. I think getting to spend everyday with me is treat enough. Ha! We are pretty cheap so one of our favorite dates is to get $5 burgers on Monday nights and then rent a movie or here lately we’ve been watching playoff basketball.

Q8) What is your favorite home remodeling memory OR catastrophe?

A8) Kara- OMG- I don’t even have to think 2 seconds about this one. Two weeks after Tim and I moved in to our old house, the entire plumbing line backed up. Having little money and believing we could remedy the problem ourselves, we dug 10 ft across and 5ft down to the sewer line in our back yard. We took it apart to replace it and found the entire thing filled with tree roots. Somehow, a drainage problem didn’t make it into our disclosure. Anyway, after a few days of digging (mind you, we could not use our bathroom at all during this time) we were finally able to replace the pipe and things were good. . . or so we thought. A few weeks later the pipe backed up again. This time we called a plumber. The pipe was so filled with roots (further down the line than what we had replaced) his tool got stuck. Come to find out, the city was responsible for replacing the line for a number of reasons. Tim and I then waited a month and half while the city tried to find time to come out and fix the issue. Worst start to a new house ever!!!

Tim- the plumbing debacle was pretty bad, but my favorite is probably the story about how we got the concrete pavers for our backyard. When I was working my construction job I had to help out with the company booth at the Tulsa Home and Garden show. Kara stopped by to visit and then walked around to check things out. She found a company that did outdoor areas that had poured a slab of concrete and stained and stamped it. She asked what they were doing with it afterwards and when they said they planned to take it to the landfill she asked if we could have it. They were happy to let us have it so we borrowed my boss’s circular saw and bought a diamond blade from Lowe’s. When the show ended Sunday night we started cutting the whole thing into 2′x 2′ squares. We finished about 2 am and left a huge dusty mess and may or may not have scored the conventions centers concrete floor with a gigantic tic tac toe pattern, oops.

Q9)  List five ways you keep creativity fresh in your day to day:

A9) Kara-

  1. Walk through the hardware store or my storage space.
  2.  Visit flea markets and look at how stuff was made in the old days.
  3. Make something with my hands multiple times a week, even if it’s small.
  4. Traveling anytime I can.
  5. Test out random processes and ideas just to see what happens.

Tim- I don’t know if I can come up with five…

  1. Unlike Kara I love looking through websites for cool stuff.  
  2. I like to look for new tools and techniques to do things and try to adapt them.
  3. It is not day to day life, but I love checking out cool places when we travel.
  4. I like industrial processes and seeing big machines make lots and lots of things.
  5. Watching playoff basketball. (I figure Kara can’t get to mad if I say it inspires my creativity.)

Q10) Describe what the word “home” looks like to you?

A10) Kara- Home looks like us. It’s a place where everything in it tells a story about who we are- where we’ve been and where we’re going. Home is the place where I am inspired to try all our crazy ideas. . . home is our laboratory.

Tim- For me it is the place we can try new ideas and not have to worry about how long they will last. It is really difficult to try new things in a clients house without knowing how it will turn out or how it will hold up. We know if it doesn’t last we can just change it and try something else.

Q11)  What is your favorite go to paint color? Why?

A11) Kara- I love grays! Light gray, dark gray, medium gray- I think they are all beautiful!   

Tim- Kara picks paint. I like grays and blues.

Q12) (Complete the following statement) In 10 years we want to be…

A12) Kara- hosting our own Design show that isn’t just about design but about inspiring people to go after their dreams! Oh, and splitting time between Tulsa, LA, and NYC would be awesome!!! :)

Tim- Hosting a design show, have a line of furniture and products and inspiring/encouraging people to pursue their dreams.

We have truly enjoyed emailing Kara back and forth and can honestly say that Kara and Tim are some of the most sincere and down to earth people. They truly love what they do (as if that wasn’t obvious!?) and they truly love sharing their creative life together.

Thanks for inspiring us to take the leap and do what we love! We are definitely looking forward to that dinner date someday! ;)

Follow Kara and Tim on their blog, Facebook, Twitter, and even Pinterest!

From the Farm

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About meg:

I like curly lines, and the simple joys of life. Good coffee and the perfect souffle.

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4 Responses to “CNY: Tim & Kara [Kara Paslay Designs]”
  1. I just started following them and I loved this guest post! It made me chuckle when Kara said they used to go to Home Depot and look around for ideas…we just did that this past weekend! This has really inspired me, as we have only owned our home for about a year and we’ve done so much already, but I have MUCH bigger dreams! :)

    • 06.27.2012

      We hear you Whitney! We love meeting other couples who continue to dream BIG and go for those dreams. Thanks for the stopping by. So glad you liked the post.

  2. 07.27.2012

    Your designs are very attractive. The color combinations are perfect. Keep it up guys. I hope to see more of your designs.

  3. John Sanders

    This interview is really engaging and very fun to read. In addition, the pictures reflect the design talent of these two. I love to hear from you soon!

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