Great room designs don’t just happen. They are the product of a plan—ideally, a plan that takes into consideration light control, fabrics, color, textures, furnishings, floor coverings and all the myriad touches that create a beautiful, unified whole. Pulling all of these together, and offering a historical perspective on style, has been one of Karla Nielson’s trademarks as a longstanding contributing writer for Draperies & Window Coverings.
Karla will present the luncheon keynote address, “Innovations in Custom Home Furnishings,” at D&WC’s Southern Design & Workroom Conference, February 28 to March 2, at the Knoxville Convention Center, Knoxville, TN. She will present solutions to both common and unique design dilemmas and inspire confidence to create outstanding rooms.
Karla’s wide-ranging knowledge and experience as a freelance designer and educator inform her articles, which can cover contract design, accessories, natural influences, urban design, media rooms, global influences, safety . . . and that’s just in the past 12 months!
Her work extends far beyond the pages this magazine, however. “I am first and foremost a design educator,” Karla says. She has taught interior design at Brigham Young University for 33 years and has a strong relationship with her students. “I spend a lot of time encouraging them and helping them to plan their futures,” she says.
Nielson also puts a tremendous amount of time and effort into each of the books she has authored—at least four to date. (She is making plans for others.) The fourth edition of Karla’s “Interiors: An Introduction” (McGraw-Hill) was printed last year, described as the starting point to the elements, practice and aesthetics of residential and nonresidential interior design, as well as their application. Also published in 2007 was Interior Textiles (John Wiley), which gives working professionals the technical and aesthetic considerations of using textiles in interior design. Karla’s “Window Treatments” (Van Nostrand Reinhold) is the textbook used for the Window Coverings Association of America’s window treatment consultant certification course. In 1996 she was presented WCAA’s Industry Achievement Award in recognition of her outstanding contributions and service to the industry.
Karla’s affiliation with Draperies & Window Coverings began some 25 years ago. She attended the D&WC World of Window Coverings™ event in 1982 as a member of the BYU design department. Recognizing she had something to offer, she soon began presenting seminars on the creative use of fabrics, the psychology of color, historic interiors and how designers and decorators can increase profits with soft treatments.
For Karla, writing articles, teaching or preparing a book represent the research and educational opportunities she loves. For her, writing and teaching is a way to make a long-term contribution to her readers’ and students’ futures.
NEXT STOP KNOXVILLE
It would sound as if Karla had little to no spare time, yet she manages to stay very active in her community and church. “I have just finished a four-year voluntary assignment with the Boy Scouts of America where I helped 20 young men each achieve the rank of Eagle Scout and numerous others progress toward it,” she says.
Every second of spare time Karla has goes into her very large family—including five adopted children, there’s 10 in all! “All children are healthy, happy, productive and good citizens, whether professionals or students or missionaries,” she reports. Her three married child have given Karla and her husband, Asa, four grandchildren. Of the remaining seven: one is applying to medical school, one is serving a mission in Canada, one is preparing to serve a two-year mission, two are in junior high school, one is in sixth grade and one is in fourth grade.
Nielson’s husband is an environmental consultant and archaeologist, and together they are preparing his archaeology stories for publication,“What more can I do? Oh, yes—get back on the lecture circuit,” she says. Her next stop is Knoxville, TN, at the D&WC Southern Design & Workroom Conference, Thursday, February 28.
Southern Design & Workroom Conference