Nosy Questions with Karen Pulaski

Building a new nest or refeathering an old one? Either way, we can probably agree that the bedroom is life’s most personal space, a retreat that should look good and feel good. After all, we spend about a third of our lives in our bedrooms. Meet Houston designer Karen Pulaski, who has devoted the last eight years to helping clients create exquisitely stylish and ever-so-comfortable bedrooms. Her shop, Tribute Goods, is located on West Alabama near Timmons and is a showroom for her exclusive line of luxurious Italian linens. To quote a Eurythmics lyric, “Sweet dreams are made of this.” We recently reached out to Pulaski and posed a few nosy questions.

Tell us about your education. University or straight into work?

I have a degree in Interior Design from the University of Texas at Austin.

Who was the best boss you ever had?

Nancy Bulhon was a wonderful mentor. I worked for her residential design firm while I attended UT Austin, and it was equal in importance to my studies. I learned how to run a business, manage projects and people and, most importantly, to maintain balance in your life.

Vivian Baraban was also an incredible woman to work for. I worked for her in Los Angeles, and we completed some of the most beautiful projects for a handful of high-profile clients. I was exposed to the best home builders, architects and vendors.

What made you want to focus on bed linens after having so much success with interiors?

I always loved selecting bedding for clients (and myself). I also am a supporter of the arts and wanted to pair fine linens with beautiful art. After a lengthy process of [locating] the best resources in Italy and developing the original artwork, I launched my company about eight years ago. We have been fortunate in the response to our prints and the quality of our linens. We have also added cashmere blankets and unique soft goods to our collections. The vintage Hermès silk scarf pillows have been a big hit with our customers, too.

The biggest bedroom décor mistake?

The biggest mistake is not selecting what you love. And [you should] always chose the best natural fibers. They will last longer and feel so great on your skin. I encourage our customers to focus on the basics and slowly add pieces at the rate that works for them. People all have different needs in a bedroom. Some like a pure white space and need that for relaxation. Others want more color. It is important to be able to learn that about yourself, and I never push anyone in one direction or the other until I feel like I really understand them. It is an honor to help someone create a sanctuary.

What’s the most common question people have about buying bed linens?

Often people ask about thread count. That can be a bit misleading, I think. Fiber and finish are more important. We use only the best long staple Egyptian cotton sateen, and they are all finished with a silk mercerization finish. It is what gives it that wonderful hand and luster. We also get lots of questions about down inserts. I think that the inserts are equal in importance to the linens. It is like buying nice clothes but not investing in quality alterations. Your linens won’t look right if they are not filled properly. Using the best quality down inserts is naturally hypo-allergenic, too.

Do you have pets?

Yes! Two dogs. A Cavalier named Riley and a rescue Lab mix named Waffle. Life is so wonderful with dogs.

“At 5 pm, I’m usually thinking about …”

What I want to watch on Netflix.

You are well known as an art collector. Who is your favorite artist?

I really love so many artists. Some of my favorites are Ed Ruscha, Jennifer Bartlett and Trent Doyle Hancock.

Your favorite Houston building?

The new Glassell School and the new Kinder MFAH building. The way that the exteriors are connected and the sculpture and landscape flow into one another is brilliant and so inviting.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that most people wouldn’t know.

I love to cook and enjoy small groups that are super casual.

What is your favorite personal item?

I really am focused on the treasure of my relationships these days. I feel so fortunate to have the love of my daughters, family and friends.

Favorite food and drink pairing?

I love anything spicy with a citrus-based drink

What websites or apps do you always have open?

Dropbox for our imagery and Favor for food delivery!

What made you choose your manufacturing partner?

They are simply the best in Italy.

What’s next for Tribute Goods?

We just leased the space next door to us on W. Alabama and we will be expanding. It felt like this is the perfect time to take this on. So much hard work and investment, but we have turned a corner and our business grew a lot in 2020. We treat all of our customers like royalty, and our products are really special. We do not cut corners on anything and our customers see the difference. We also have a new collection that we are about to receive samples of. It is beautiful. I love what I do and am so, so grateful.