Photo by Shane Wynn

Photo by Shane Wynn

Meet Karen Starr 

Co-Owner, designer

Karen Starr’s path to a career in interior design began under the tutelage of nationally recognized residential designer, Joel Wolfgang. Karen apprenticed under Wolfgang at Studio W Interior Design Group, learning the industry standards and honing her natural eye for composition and balance.

In 2009, she opened Karen Starr Redesign, where she focused on one of her deepest passions: sustainability. Her redesign work was rooted in the principles of rethinking a client’s space with local, sustainable design approaches and maximizing what they already owned and loved. This kind of creative resourcefulness helped Karen build a cache of local artisans and manufacturers who can create beautiful and functional pieces either from sustainable materials or by modifying an existing object into a new use. These principles of creative reuse and local-sourcing continue today.

Hazel Tree Design Studio opened in 2010, combining Karen’s interior design business with her husband’s picture framing business for a one-stop shop of creative ideas for transforming spaces through art and design.

This job is about problem-solving and creating beauty and whimsy for our clients.”
— Karen Starr

Walking into a new project space for the first time, Karen loves the energy she feels as she and her client begin to explore the possibilities. She learns about how the client wishes to use the space, yes, but she also susses out their hopes and inspirations, their dreams and esthetic vision for how the space might influence and support their life. Often, she’ll uncover ideas the client never realized they had.

Karen’s passion for design is matched only by her love of the Akron community, in all its quirky awesomeness. She is a co-founder of GAINS: The Greater Akron Innovation Network for Sustainability, Free Akron Outdoor Movies, and the Highland Square PorchRokr Festival. Karen works within her home and work neighborhood of West Hill, doing projects whenever possible with West Hill CDC and neighborhood businesses, groups and residents.

Because of her civic activism, Karen and the Hazel Tree team were recently asked by Akron Civic Commons to redesign and lead the Lock2 project, turning an underutilized outdoor park into an intimate place for conversations and gathering. From string lights overhead to the use of color to create an upbeat atmosphere in the space, Lock2 is now creatively set up to feel like an outdoor living room. In 2018, the Hazel Tree team is at it again, as they reimagine the park spaces at Park East, another Akron Civic Commons project along the Towpath/Ohio and Erie Canal.

We know you’ll enjoy exploring your own vision for a functional yet gorgeous space inside or outside your home or workspace with Karen Starr. Schedule your consultation today, and begin to see the possibilities.