I CREATE COMFORT ZONES!
Karen C. Wirrig, FIFDA, is the founder and owner of Karen Cole Designs, an interior design firm providing services to homeowners, boutique hospitality, and professional offices. The company opened in 1996 in Phoenix, Arizona and in 2005 established an office in Carlsbad, California to serve San Diego County. In 2020, the company moved to Estes Park, Colorado but still maintains a presence in north San Diego county part of the year. The company has completed projects in Arizona, California, Colorado, and Oregon. Her work has been featured in San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles, UT San Diego Coastal Homes, the Phoenix Republic newspaper, Arizona Lifestyles magazine, Log Home Living magazine. Her expertise is often sought by national shelter publications.
An active member of the Arizona Chapter of the International Furnishings and Design Association since 1997, Karen has served in numerous national and chapter leadership roles and on many committees. Karen credits IFDA with bringing value to her design practice by providing continuing education and vendor information while introducing her to incredible colleagues. Karen is the winner of the IFDA Tableau 2008 Most Elegant Table award.
In 2012, Karen and colleague Maureen Klein, FIFDA were invited to the IFDA Japan Chapter to present programs relating to show houses and tablescape design. From that trip, they developed an international fundraiser called IFDA Take a Seat to benefit charities around the world. This event, which featured one of a kind upcycled chairs, was hosted more than 15 times over five years in numerous locations and raised more than $50,000 for charity. In 2017, Karen led a group of design colleagues to Kyoto and Osaka, Japan to participate in an international exchange of ideas and attend trade shows.
In 2011, Karen was awarded the Honorary Recognition Award for exemplary service to the International Furnishings and Design Association. In September 2006, she received the prestigious distinction of Fellow by the IFDA. Fellows status is awarded to those members in recognition of outstanding service both to the Association and civic, educational, and industry contributions. In 1999 and 2001, Karen organized design trips to Provence, France for Arizona colleagues.
Karen spent five and a half years serving as a volunteer mentor to international students at Cal State San Marcos until March 2020 when the covid pandemic shut all programs down. Newly arriving to the US, often for the first time, this program introduced the students to the American way of life, slang, holidays, and social customs. She hosted students from around the world in her home at Thanksgiving and summer backyard barbeques as well as other special events. Karen has also been active at the community level having received the Clubwoman of the Year Award from GFWC-Paradise Valley Junior Woman's Club, a civic organization dedicated to community improvement by enhancing the lives of others through volunteer service. In addition, Karen is a past member of the Phoenix Art Museum, the Arizona Costume Institute, the Hilltop Guild, and is a past Big Sister in the Big Brother Big Sister program.