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Design Hunter Q + A: Karie Soehardi

Design Hunter Q + A: Karie Soehardi

Ella and Sofia’s creative director Karie Soehardi has always seen creativity as a legitimate way to earn a living. She’s worked with jewellery and fashion through to, more recently, interiors. Karie’s latest collaboration is with Sydney Living Museums where she re-worked old collections into new designs. We take a moment to meet the woman behind a fascinating range.


Where do you live? Annandale Sydney

What do you do: I am textile and furnishings designer

When did you first know you wanted to be a…

I knew from an early age that I was interested in creativity. My father is a magnificent portrait and landscape artist yet gave it all up as an immigrant to support our family, so I think that sense of ‘creativity for a living’ was something that I felt was always going to be my part of my path. I originally started off as a jewellery and object designer, loved fashion so worked in the industry for several years both as a milliner and in buying but then found that it was SO fast and I wanted designs and products to be timeless, so I looked to interiors.


Karei Soehardi, Ella and Sofia - Habitus Living


Your latest project: A partnership with Sydney Living Museums, where we went into their collection and created new designs out of furnishings they have in the Caroline Simpson Library from the art deco period here in Sydney. We are very proud of the collaboration and we are hoping that people are inspired to use the wallpapers, fabrics and furnishings in their home. (Images throughout).

Karei Soehardi, Ella and Sofia - Habitus Living


Where you find inspiration: I love societies and culture. I am a big fan of just looking at all different types of architecture and its different components. I feel very grateful to go into people’s homes on a weekly basis. I will find inspiration in a way a vase has been placed on a table or a photograph on the wall, our personal spaces are a thing of beauty because they are unique to the people who inhabit them. Just love it!

Three people that inspire/excite you:

1) Viljo and Armi Ratia
2) William Morris
3) Charles Rennie Mackintosh – sorry they’re all dead but pretty amazing

What is your favourite…

Chair model: For me chairs are like shoes, I don’t have one favourite pair of shoes… I love chairs from all different eras. There is nothing like finding a chair that needs TLC and doing it up, so that it lives again
Residential space: My home
Commercial space: The Hydro Majestic Medlow Baths
Decorative product: Wallpaper
Functional product: Curtains
Handmade good: Batik fabrics
Mass-produced good: Ikea’s Stuva Storage systems for kids
Item in your studio: Sketch book and pencils
Time of day to work/play: work – morning / play – night
Meal: I love any type of seafood
Restaurant: I have a 5 year old and a 3 year old, it’s the kitchen table
Drink: Gin and tonic or a glass of shiraz
Bar: Ditto the restaurant
Piece of technology: My laptop
Historical figure: Design wise Leonardo Da Vinci, how he understood the human form and how things would work. I once saw a documentary on how he had created this unique weaving mechanism that is still being used to this day in Italy
Fictional character: Don Draper
Vice: Coffee
Virtue: My bubbas and husband

What does the term ‘Design Hunter’ mean to you? A person that forages high and low to find, then collect, beautifully created objects that have been made for people to enjoy in both form and function.

Karei Soehardi, Ella and Sofia - Habitus Living


Ella and Sofia