Kara Demmrich has worked with some of the biggest businesses in Australia’s building industry, but when it comes to her online retail store, she favours the little guy. Since starting KK Homewares in 2017, Kara and her husband, Kyal, have collaborated with Central Coast and Sydney artists on handmade products that don’t play into fads. Instead, Kara is all about timeless homewares you won’t find featured in every #homereno on Instagram. It’s no surprise the couple is anti-fad, given their environmental ethos (they’re ambassadors of locally-based Take 3 for the Sea), but they’re also pleasantly practical. With two young children, Kara is mindful of wear and tear.
‘We want products that will wash well,’ says Kara. ‘So, we stock Pony Rider for example – a Northern Beaches business. I’ve been using their cushions on our renovations for 10 years and they just wash so well … they stand the test of time and still look good.’
Their store, found via kyalandkara.com, is a carefully curated collection of cushions, candles, artwork, kitchenware, books and more. Among these, you’ll find products Kara and Kyal have created in collaboration with small businesses, such as Klaypots Handmade. Finding creators to work with is an organic process, Kara says, and often starts with a chat on social media. But she also has plenty of artistic friends, such as Hannah from MayClay Ceramics. The women grew up together, and now Hannah’s stunning clay light pendants are sold in Kara’s store.
KK Homewares was launched while Kara and Kyal were renovating a house in Long Jetty. The pair had recently finished a renovation in Toowoon Bay, which had been filmed for television, and they were also filming the Long Jetty project, sharing their journeys on social media. Whenever they highlighted a product in their builds, they were flooded with questions about where to buy it. This inspired them to create the store and meant they could direct their large Instagram following (now sitting at 335k on @kyalandkara) to one place. The move also helped streamline work life.
‘I was getting to the end of these renovations and scrambling to find product that I liked,’ says Kara. ‘…When we’re actually renovating ourselves, we (now) have this store that we can shop our own look, and it’s all there and readily available.’
Kara says it’s also about ensuring that when people buy from KK Homewares their house won’t look like everyone else’s. ‘It’s all about creating that unique look,’ she says.
The transition from renovation reality TV stars to online retailer is a natural one, and their dreams don’t end there. Kara hopes to one day have a bricks and mortar store but says she won’t be rushing into it. Instead, she’ll wait for the right location and the right building – and no doubt she’ll find exactly that.
Kara’s winter style tips
- Find timeless pieces
- Cull or declutter spaces
- Create vignettes and nooks that make you happy
- Change your cushions for a new look
- Add throws to the couch
WORDS JENNIFER ENNION