/At home with textile designer Karen Johnston

At home with textile designer Karen Johnston

Karen Johnson- The Print Society, At Home shoot

Textile designer Karen Johnson who is founder of The Print Society, pictured at her home in Como with a scarf that she block printed in India. Pictures: Richard Dobson

As founder of textiles and homewares brand The Print Society, Karen Johnston knows how to transform a dull piece of fabric into something vibrant and fabulous.

She has also worked her creative charm on her property at Como, having made the move from Sydney’s inner west to the south with her husband Adam and their six-year-old beagle, Cooper.

“I love the location — we’re really close to parks and the Georges River, which is great for Cooper,” Karen says.

“We sold our house in Enmore because we needed more space and knew we needed to look a little further out to get that.”

Karen says the house is quite old, but the large rooms and high ceilings sold them.

The couple spent the first nine months gutting the inside of the house, doing away with all the old timber panelling, installing new windows and doors, blackbutt flooring, and finally, a new kitchen and bathrooms.

“As soon as we saw the floorplan, we knew what we would do to open it up and put our own stamp on it,” she says. “

It also faces northeast, so we get beautiful light all day.

“The whole house is designed around entertaining, so we moved the kitchen closer to the centre of the house. Adam loves cooking — lucky me — but still wants to be part of the action.”

Currently, the couple are in the throes of renovating the exterior of the house and replaced the deck, and work is lined up for a new side courtyard and garage.

“The final item on the list is a dedicated studio for me, which I’m excited about,” she says.

Karen left behind a corporate career to follow her passion. Her plan is for The Print Society to become a certified B Corporation, which balances purpose and profit. In the meantime, she strives to minimise the environmental impact of the business.

Here are a few of Karen’s favourite items:

Karen Johnson- The Print Society, At Home shoot

This Japanese incense is incredible. It’s a regular in our house, and smells like warm summer nights. Picture: Richard Dobson

Karen Johnson- The Print Society, At Home shoot

Asian dumpling cook book. Picture: Richard Dobson

Karen Johnson- The Print Society, At Home shoot

Antwerp maps — They show what to do during the day, then flip over for things to do by night. I love the typography and the bright colours. They’re acrylic framed and hang in my home. . Picture: Richard Dobson

Karen Johnson- The Print Society, At Home shoot

I swear this candle has the best scent of all time. It’s from Jardan, and when lit makes the entire house smell divine. Picture: Richard Dobson

Karen Johnson- The Print Society, At Home shoot

Cuff My brother lives in Abu Dhabi, and a few years ago we went on a road trip through Oman. I picked up this antique cuff from a souk in Muscat. It’s falling apart but the detail is so intricate. Picture: Richard Dobson

Karen Johnson- The Print Society, At Home shoot

I started collecting Australian indigenous art many years ago. This is one of my favourites by Barbara Napangarti Reid. Picture: Richard Dobson

Karen Johnson- The Print Society, At Home shoot

This is another treasure from India. It’s an Indian miniature painting on salvaged paper of a bird with the most stunning teal and orange foliag. Picture: Richard Dobson

Karen Johnson- The Print Society, At Home shoot

Brass fish earrings from India . Picture: Richard Dobson

Karen Johnson- The Print Society, At Home shoot

African textiles book — One of the gazillion books on textiles from my library. I love the geometric shapes, weaving, printing and beading seen in African textiles. A great source of inspiration. Picture: Richard Dobson

Karen Johnson- The Print Society, At Home shoot

Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille parfum This is my fave perfume. There’s something about this one that reminds me of travelling and spice markets. Picture: Richard Dobson