Kalyn Rothaus is the interior designer and host of Office Spaces™, a new series airing on Lifetime Television®. The series explores ways in which to turn drab, inefficient offices into a well-designed working environment with that “wow” factor.
In the show’s premiere season, our designflooring was selected for the project, which saw an outdated warehouse converted into a modern, eco-friendly office space for the large marketing firm, BrandStar. Kalyn recently took some time to speak with us about the importance of design and how this was applied to BrandStar’s unique office renovation.
What inspired you to become an interior designer?
Studying business at Vanderbilt, I quickly realized that while the business background would be an asset, I am a creative person and need to be in a creative industry! Since I was a kid, my Mom pushed me to go to Art School so after Vandy, I headed to the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale to gain my BS in Interior Design. So, of course, my Mom was right! I blossomed while studying interior design and became a passionate force, graduating first in my class.
What’s the most important element you look for when stepping into a space?
Great details. When an end-user walks into a space, they should instantly sense and feel the experience of great design. A well-designed space should evoke an emotional experience, telling a story along the way, and to achieve this I think it ultimately comes down to the details in the design.
What’s the biggest and most common design mistake you see in commercial spaces?
I think the largest concern I see in the corporate environment is not giving workers enough privacy. There has to be flexibility and choice in how we work nowadays, because of technology people can be very mobile. I believe it is important to have spaces where you can work collaboratively and also a work station which offers enough privacy. The open plan environment has lessened productivity for many organizations due to not enough private areas.
What’s the most important aspect or element in commercial design?
For me, the most important aspect in commercial design is the user experience and the story you can create through flow, functionality and aesthetics. I believe, it’s about sticking to the concept, telling a story through the space and creating a genuine experience for the end-user.
Are there any particular trends you are incorporating into your latest projects?
Sound Masking! It is not new technology, but boy does it help to create an environment where people can collaborate AND focus. It’s another layer of acoustics that can be hidden above the ceiling plane.
What’s the first question you ask a client before undertaking a design project?
“Have you ever taken on a commercial construction project before?” My first job as a designer and project manager is to educate the client on the process.
What has been one of your favorite design projects to date?
I have to say, Office Spaces of course! I have never been in front of a camera in my life and overnight, I am the project manager, interior designer and TV host of a brand new TV show! I wore a lot of hard hats on this job. Pun intended.
How does flooring affect the way a room or space is defined?
Flooring can dictate movement and help direct flow around a space. It can cause one to pause, or to meander. It can also create a sense of arrival through transitions and assist in creating the user experience.
Regarding the BrandStar project in Season 1 of Office Spaces, how did you approach the flooring selection? And why did you ultimately choose Van Gogh Tawny Oak?
I specified Tawny Oak first for its look and durability. LVT is very easy to look after and maintain, with a strong wear layer I know the design will be on the floor for the life cycle of the business. Also, aesthetically the linear wood plank look that it created - with its texture and movement - was perfect to hide everyday mess.
What prompted you to use a herringbone design instead of laying the floor in a straight pattern? In what ways does this pattern impact both open areas and narrow spaces such as hallways?
The building itself has a 45 degree turn within its footprint, so I decided to lay the wood look design in a herringbone pattern in order to keep the pattern parallel to the structure in one large zone, and shift to a 45 degree pattern on the other side of the space. While designing the floor plan, I began the pattern centered on the main corridor, letting it take the natural turn in the space. This way, I have no breaks and it creates one large seamless installation. At first the installers looked concerned, but once they began snapping lines and laying the pattern, there was little product wasted and the install moved very quickly!
What was your inspiration for the finish choices in the BrandStar restrooms, such as the concrete walls and colored glass stalls?
I always love it when someone comes out of a bathroom and tells their friend to go check it out! Being instructed to dull down the color in the offices, I took the opportunity to sneak some bright colors in the restroom cubicles. Wanting to create a strong contrast of materials, I incorporated hand troweled and stamped concrete on the walls. The colored glass is all part of the brand’s logo, and it adds a little sparkle and unexpected fun to the bathrooms, which I love.
How would you describe Karndean Designflooring to friends or colleagues in your field?
I would tell them Karndean is super easy to specify and install. As a result of this project, I’ll definitely be considering the flooring for future projects, and I am so happy with how beautiful our floor turned out for BrandStar. When people come into the space they always ask, “Is this wood?”. It creates such a beautiful illusion of wood and looks very rich in the space. Thank you Karndean Designflooring!
We’d like to thank Kalyn for speaking with us about the world of interior design and her experiences with Karndean on Office Spaces! Tune in to Lifetime Television® on Fridays at 7:00 am (ET) for upcoming episodes of the show. To learn more about Kalyn and the series, visit the show's website.