By Lin Stranberg
Inspired by Art, Nature and TV
Even in the high-flying world of interior design, Karin Bohn stands out. With her striking good looks, endless drive and relentlessly upbeat attitude, she’s a whirlwind force in interior design and a high-energy entrepreneur. Her Vancouver design firm, House of Bohn, has an impressive portfolio of commercial, residential and multi-family projects with more in the works. Locations range from the far-flung (a penthouse in China) to the familiar (a plant-based pizza joint in Vancouver). She’s a hard worker who’s always busy — and she makes it look like fun. At 37, she is on top of her game, using her creativity and drive to build her brand and expand her base. She’s a passionate vlogger and storyteller, posting weekly on a range of topics including entrepreneurship, interior design, travel and lifestyle. She has close to 60,000 subscribers on her Karin Bohn YouTube channel, and she recently added a separate series called Bohnafide, a step-by-step look at her North Vancouver townhouse reno, to help her audience with their own renovations
After moving in two years ago with her husband, Chris, and their French bulldog, Oscar, she had it gutted it to the studs, installed walk-in closets and opened up the kitchen, which she then painted black. “Black interiors are back in a big way,” she says, “we’re moving away from the white-on-white trend. I’m a big fan of colour – I think living without colours is like living without love.” She describes her decorating style as “eclectic,” a heterogeneous blend of colours, textures, styles, trends and time periods, and attributes her sophisticated taste to the influences of her mixed cultural background: “I spent summers with my grandparents on my dad’s side in Germany and ate chicken feet with my mom’s family right here in Vancouver.”
Inspired by art, nature and the visuals in TV shows like “The Crown” and “Game of Thrones,” she loves working with big spaces, cool finishes and fantasy interiors. In the end, though, “it’s more about the client than the project. I love the collaborative process and the creative freedom that my clients give me. From an early age, I knew I wanted to have my own business. And after ten years in this business, it just keeps getting better.” She has been entrepreneurial since she was a young kid, selling chocolate bars in the grade school lunchroom. As a teenager at high school in Kelowna, she threw big parties, selling tickets, hiring DJs and putting up flyers. Her energy and drive took her through a stint in competitive sports and then to starting up her business after university and design school. With her innate skill at reading space, interior design was a natural for her.
Although she takes great pleasure from her high-end residential projects, she says renovating her mom’s North Vancouver space was probably her favourite assignment of all. “It’s small, chic, warm and humble,” she says, “and it seems to be our family’s favourite gathering place. Redoing it turned out to be a surprisingly intimate and rewarding project.”
She was excited about appearing on Boulevard’s cover wearing that dreamy Valentino dress. “It’s so light and ballerina-like. If I hadn’t chosen interior design, I might have gone into dance or fashion. I’ve always been fascinated with style and the architecture of clothing.” Most significantly, the cover spot showcases her as a visible and active community member, and the community aspect is what Karin Bohn likes most about her life and career. “I love meeting new people, I love Vancouver, and I don’t want to be anywhere else. I really love being part of the heartbeat of this city.”