Karrie Dean's Happy Habitat Mixes Function and Eco-Fashion

Designer Karrie Dean mixes function and eco-fashion with her Happy Habitat blankets.



   Karrie Dean believes you should have a home you enjoy being in. 

“You should want to look around and be happy in your surroundings.” explains Dean, the brand’s owner and designer.

   Through her earth-friendly home decor brand Happy Habitat, the Kansas City native helps others achieve that feeling of “home sweet home” with an array of soft, vibrantly colored and intricately patterned throw blankets that are functional pieces of art.

   The throws are machine washable and made of 80 percent recycled cotton (think leftover cotton fiber and threads from making T-shirts) and 20 percent acrylic. They come in full-sized, which at 50 inches by 60 inches are big enough for two adults or a blanket hog, and mini, which are 30 inches by 40 inches, making them the perfect size for a kid or a lap blanket.

   “I didn’t want something you just look at,” she says. “I also wanted something that was a sustainable product. I didn’t want something that was going to be thrown away, that was going to be a piece of crap a year later. It needed to have lasting quality. I wanted to put good out, not something that was going to fill a landfill.”

   Happy Habitat was created back in 2011 after Dean was laid off from her human resources job at an advertising agency. Although she was unsure of where to go next, she started a blog to document her interests in home design, decor and color and pattern trends.



   “My parents were both business owners, and I think I have that spirit in me somewhere,” Dean says. “I’ve always wanted to work for myself and do things my way, not have goals and break rules and do things differently. I knew that I wanted that, but I didn’t know that it looked like, so I tried a lot of little things away.”

   Her love for art is evident in her designs, which she says are inspired by ethnic patterns from around the world as well as color combinations she finds every day. Her Alhambra throw is inspired by the “wicked” geometric patterns created by the Moors and found in the Alhambra palace located in Granada, Spain. And the Kenichi throw, which happens to be her best-seller, is named for her son, whose middle name is Japanese for “healthy firstborn son.”

   Dean used what she learned during her time at the advertising agency, along with free software and her neighbor’s camera, to launch the brand. She chose throws because they offer a larger canvas to “paint” with, but also because they’re usable and she likes the challenge of coming up with interesting ways the throws can be used to create a happy habitat. To date, she’s sold more than 20,000 throws and can be found in boutiques across the nation, including Coveted Home, The Middle KC, Made in KC, Westside Storey and The Little House.

   For more information, visit happyhabitat.net.