Passion for personalities

First Coast interior designer combines creativity with client’s character


The First Coast has a lot of natural beauty and unique locales of which to draw design inspiration, but one Northeast Florida interior designer prefers to let people’s personalities guide her creativity.

Karen Rothen is an interior designer who works in Jacksonville, the Beaches and Ponte Vedra areas. She began her career in New York City, working primarily on commercial space planning and design, started her own interior design business after moving to Ridgefield, Connecticut, and relocated to Ponte Vedra Beach in 1999.

“We now call Nocatee home and I have been fortunate to work on more than 100 residences and commercial projects ranging in size from 2,000-to-10,000-square-feet throughout. Jacksonville area beaches, Nocatee, Vilano Beach, Riverside and Naples, Florida,” Rothen says. 

Rothen has an extensive background in commercial design, including the redesign of The Restaurant at National Hall, a Relais & Chateaus hotel in Westport, Connecticut and establishing a Design Center for Beach Terraces. But residential projects are her primary focus — and passion.

“I’ll work with clients on projects that range from a simple refresh to an existing room in their house to building a home from the ground up, working alongside architects and engineers to ensure all the moving pieces come together as planned,” Rothen says. “I’m budget conscious and practical — keeping the kids and pets in mind when making selections. My goal is always to create a beautiful, livable space that my clients are happy to come home to each day.”  

It’s also important to Rothen that the clients’ personalities shine through in her design.

“Finding ways for their passions, lifestyle and unique qualities to show through results in a truly custom space all its own created just for them,” she says. 

The tremendous growth in around Northeast Florida also provides more opportunities to try new things, and Rothen says there’s really almost nothing off limits.

“As far as design trends I am seeing — anything goes these days,” Rothen says. “Modern, cottage, splash of Bohemian —– it’s all over the map. There is less Mediterranean inspiration in our area. In terms of architecture and floorplans, we’re seeing eliminating formal dining and living rooms for a more casual lifestyle. Home offices are also increasing in popularity as more people are working from home.” 

While Rothen appreciates being able to explore her creativity and eye for aesthetics, it’s the impact her designs have on her clients that really excites her. 

“I love it all,” she says. “But the reaction on my clients’ faces when a project is complete and seeing how our collective vision has come to fruition is my favorite part of all.”

For more information on Karen Rothen’s designs, visit


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