Kudzu Vintage Home News

“Design Tribe” – The Hunt for Great Vintage Pieces

Posted on: July 2, 2012

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Design Tribe

Karen Moore is the dealer responsible for the booth, “Design Tribe” at Kudzu Antique Mall. The booth offers an eclectic mix of items from vintage movie posters to beautiful china. I sat down and spoke with Karen to get an idea about the inspiration behind her design style, her booth name, and how she sees herself evolving over the next few years. 

How did you get interested in interior design, accessories, and antiques?

It’s always been a personal passion. Early in my 30s friends started asking me to pick their paint colors and come over and help them arrange their furniture. So, I turned it into a business. At the time, I was an interior decorator. As a result of that process, I began to deal with the antique business so that I could blend interiors for clients.

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Al Hirschfeld caricature of Lucille Ball

Was there a specific event or series of events in your life that lead you to grow so passionately about interiors and design?

I was blessed with the ability of being able to pick colors. Friends were always asking me to help them with their interiors. I’ve learned at this stage in my life that you go through many chapters and that the work that you do at any given point and the mileage that you gain is transferable when you go in a different direction. I’ve never just done one thing in my life and the common thread has always been my love of design, color, art, pottery, and accessories. I’ve done everything from interior design consulting to holding office and working together with architects to build a courthouse. After that I went into community re-development, which gave me an opportunity to take what I had learned and operate on a much broader scale in terms of what it takes to combine the elements of design and please clients. I was able to take those things that I had learned along the way and put them to good use in neighborhood re-development. It’s a really important thing that I did before I retired. It brought me to where I am now. I have incorporated these same design elements in everything I do. It’s about understanding the human need to be comfortable in our own space.

Right now are you doing any interior designing or decorating?

Just a little bit but not professionally. It’s really nice at this stage in my life to be retired and not have the pressure. It can just be fun!

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The custom shelf that Karen designed for the back wall of her booth

How did you get started at Kudzu?

I was a customer and a new resident of Decatur. I lived right downtown so this was on the path. I came in and loved the atmosphere and the mix of goods being provided by the various vendors. I thought the people at the front desk were very friendly, so I thought this might be a fun thing to do.

Tell me about the inspiration behind the name of your booth, “Design Tribe?”

The inspiration behind the name “Design Tribe” is the idea that people who love to collect- whether its midcentury or primitives or anything in between- love the process of hunting and gathering, which is basically a tribal activity. So my booth is called Design Tribe for everyone who loves the hunt as much as they love the acquisition.

How would you describe your booth?

I think it’s very eclectic. I try to appeal to a broad base. In terms of home furnishings, I am more traditional. Accessories and artwork are the two things I really love. That’s what I concentrate on. For me, it’s like a little laboratory. I love the arranging and rearranging. That part for me is the really fun part. I also think I have a very visual booth. I designed the shelf for my back wall. It gives my booth a very different and artistic feel. But I am new at this and I have a lot to learn. It’s a process. My taste is still changing. People evolve and my taste is still evolving.

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Authentic vintage lobby cards

Where do you find most of the things in your booth?

We are fortunate that we travel quite a lot. We take all the back roads down to the coast through middle and south Georgia. We also travel from here to Sky Valley. We stop at all the little towns and little flea markets along the way. My husband is a collector so I don’t really have to twist his arm to get him to stop.

How do you see your booth and your design style evolving over time?

I have had a wonderful opportunity to purchase a collection of English transfer ware that will be coming to Kudzu soon. Most of it dates from the early 1800s and it’s absolutely exquisite. I can’t wait to get it here and get it put together. Hopefully people will react to it in a very positive way. I have always wanted to collect transfer ware. It’s coming late, but coming in a huge way! It’s really going to give me an opportunity to learn about something new. When someone buys a piece, I want to be able to provide them with an accurate description of what the piece represents.

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Karen holding a beautiful piece of blue and white John Ridgeway transfer ware circa 1846

Do you think you’ll be doing this forever?

I’ll be doing something with design forever. It really is the one thing, other than family and friends, that makes me the happiest.

Karen Moore and her booth, “Design Tribe,” dare to shake things up at Kudzu. From being an interior designer to holding office, this antique dealer definitely has more going on than meets the eye. The next time you’re at the ‘zu, check out Design Tribe. Booths like this sure do make the “hunt” more fun!

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