Blues Keys

Larina Kase is a New York Times best-selling author with a doctorate degree in psychology and a master’s degree in business. But it’s interior design that has been her lifelong passion. Maybe it’s because she grew up surrounded by the arts; her father is an art and antique dealer, while her mother is a gallery docent and artist herself.

Kase graduated with Distinction from Cornell University with a degree in interior design, but pursued other higher-education interests before returning to the design industry in 2013. “I missed the visual world,” she explains. “My background and passion is fine art and design.”

So Kase established her eponymous design firm, combining her unique background, education, and skills to create beautiful spaces that, to her clients, feel just like ‘home.’ 

“Our mission is simple - to create beautiful spaces that make people happy. We want our clients to have their dream homes in which to enjoy each moment and make treasured memories,” says Kase. 

In her recent project in Malvern, Kase was brought in to design a vibrant, timeless and inviting home for a busy family of five. “When we saw the home for the first time we fell in love with it and it’s possibilities. We love to entertain and this house functions wonderfully for that. The open sight lines and layout give it a really comfortable, ‘homey’ feeling,” her clients explained. 

From the start, Kase’s goal was to bring her client’s updated traditional style to the beautiful colonial home built in 2007. Because they have three young children and a seventy-pound dog, a functional design plan was just as important as a stylish one. Fortunately, with three children of her own, Kase is well-versed at balancing these seemingly contradictory requirements.

Her process begins by getting to know her clients and their lifestyle. As Kase explains it, “our main goal is to listen and understand each client’s style and needs to design spaces uniquely suited to them.” She draws upon everything she learns to put together eclectic and personalized design plans. 

To create the timeless look her Malvern clients craved, Kase began with a neutral palette accentuated by both pattern and pops of color. “Having an overall color scheme and then varying it in each room guarantees a cohesive feel,” she explains. Neutrals and shades of blue and green flow from room to room, and the classic herringbone pattern was repeated in varying scales throughout the home.

When it came to furniture, both Kase and her clients knew that prioritizing child and pet-friendly options was a must. They also required a furniture plan that functioned for the immediate family on a daily basis as well as accommodated extended family and friends when entertaining. 

“We were on the same page with the goal of selecting great quality, beautiful furniture pieces and rugs that will stand the test of time. They didn’t want to redo their selections in the near future and there is no reason that they should have to,” explains Kase. Furniture shopping went quickly for the team. “We purchased almost all of the furniture for the first floor in one day at Studio 882.” 

To keep their upholstery looking new for years to come, Kase selected stain-resistant, easy-to-clean, and durable performance fabrics from Studio 882 in a range of textures from linens to velvets. Studio 882 dining chairs are upholstered in a virtually stain-proof, bleach-cleanable Crypton velvet, and the upholstery in the formal living room uses Sunbrella and Revolution fabrics. This guarantees that these more formal spaces, used frequently for entertaining, are as practical as they are elegant. Custom drapery panels by Urban Loft Window Treatments add even more softness and elegance to the rooms. 

Naturally, this practical approach to fabric choices was just as important in the family room. Pieces were selected for their comfort and durability. High-performance fabrics like Sunbrella, Revolution and Crypton make sure they stay looking new without much maintenance.

The team visited Knots & Weaves in Malvern to select rugs that coordinated with their fabric selections. Kase and her clients focused on updated versions of traditional rug styles. “The family room rug is like the ocean, it changes colors in different lights and from different angles,” she says. 

Using her background in psychology, Kase is adept at encouraging her clients to move beyond their comfort zones when they’re ready. Both the powder room wallpaper and the dining room rug were design risks for the her clients. “It felt a little risky, but they were great choices that added so much vibrancy and depth to the home,” she says.

Vibrant, timeless and inviting. These three words perfectly summarize this Malvern home. The finished design reflects a true collaboration between designer and client. As Kase explains it, “we saw it as our job to give them options to bring their style to life.” And here she succeeded.

Photography by JON FRIEDRICH


Katie Groves