Designer Kara Mann’s New CB2 Collection Is Inspired by Her Teenage Bedroom

Brittney Morgan
·4 mins read
Photo credit: Courtesy of CB2
Photo credit: Courtesy of CB2

From House Beautiful

You see tours of high-end designers' homes all the time, but have you ever wondered what their rooms looked like back in their teenage years? For Kara Mann, the answer lies in her new home collection, a collaboration with CB2 that marries sleek, modern design with flirty details that call back to the '80s, all inspired by her own dream teen bedroom. Think: A ruffled sofa, pleated lamps unlike any you've ever seen before, and a rose-hued glass catchall inspired by a bracelet, of all things. In her own words, the collection is "chic, but it doesn't take itself too seriously."

"I crack up, because I tend to not like color when I design—and apparently it started at a young age!" Mann tells House Beautiful. "My room was white with—okay, I'm just going to admit it—I had a Patrick Nagel poster. Nagel was cool back in the '80s! But it was black, and the girl in the photo had this asymmetrical haircut that I ended up with. It was mostly white with little accents of black, so that palette is definitely coming through in the collection."

Photo credit: Courtesy of CB2
Photo credit: Courtesy of CB2

Mann's favorite piece in the line is, she says, the ruffled sofa, hands down. And that harkens back to her teenage bedding. "There were definitely these moments of flirtiness in my room," she shares. "My duvet cover had a ruffle to it, so I think of the ruffle sofa. When I look back and I think about the room, and I think about the collection—I was very literal in reinterpreting that room for the world of CB2."

And that ruffle theme carries on past the sofa, too. There's a credenza that totally stuns in what's called a "sprayed concrete" finish—essentially, a matte lacquer finish that feels smooth but looks like concrete—with architectural details down the sides and that resemble a ruffle. Then, of course, there are the pleated silk Scrunch Lamps, which Mann is so excited to talk about. ("Oh my God, when I saw those for the first time, I was dying—I love those," she gushes.)

"When you think of the lamps, the Ruffle Credenza, and the Flutter Sofa—the body of all of those are very clean and architectural and geometric, but they have a layer of this feminine touch to it," Mann says.

Photo credit: Courtesy of CB2
Photo credit: Courtesy of CB2

When she and Ryan Turf, CB2's president, first started working on this collaboration two years ago, Mann says that as both a businesswoman and a designer, she was interested in the behind-the-scenes journey of working with a big business. And for Turf, Mann's high-design background and eye for style made for a perfect collaboration.

"It's also super cool and exciting to partner with someone in more of a luxury world than we are, because so much of what we try to do at CB2 is offer that high design for a little bit more approachable price point," Turf says. "That was my favorite part, besides Kara's amazing personality."

Together, Turf and Mann describe the collection in a few key words: flirty, elegant, edgy, refined, and most importantly, attitude. And it's true—this collection definitely has a little bit of an attitude, which comes from Mann following her own best design advice.

"I strongly believe that with design, you need to be yourself," she says. "Really letting your personality out is important. It's a form of creativity! Everybody's got an opinion about design, so let that out, and don't be bashful. Design is subjective—I hate the idea of 'what's the latest trend?' because it really should just be what comes out of you."

Photo credit: Courtesy of CB2
Photo credit: Courtesy of CB2

As for how she'd style that bracelet-inspired catchall—aka the appropriately-named "Bangle" glass bowl in Dirty Rose—Mann has a few tips. "You always need a place to dump all your stuff when you walk in the door, so it was meant to be that. But it sort of evolved into all these different things. I can see it as a beautiful candy bowl. I love floating flowers in water, so it can be a really beautiful way to do floral on your coffee table. I mean, you could even use it as a place to put your remotes. Multiple layers!"

Shop the full collection at CB2, and check out some of our favorites below.

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