My Style: Non-Profit Pro Cassidy Karakorn Shows Off Her Chic Digs

UPDATE:: This story was originally published on May 28.
It's easy to spot Cassidy Karakorn in a crowd — with her jet-black tresses, trademark red pout, and enviable jetsetter-meets-goth style, she's a familiar face in D.C.'s most creative circles. With a day job as the Human Rights Campaign's deputy director of marketing and a side gig as a DJ, Karakorn gets to do awesome things on the reg — like hang out with Karen O. backstage for an HRC shoot. So naturally, we needed to see her personal space — and it didn't fail to amaze us. Ahead, get to know our newest girl-crush and take a private tour of her amazing digs.
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Give us the 30-second version of who you are and what you do.
"By day, I’m the Deputy Director for Consumer Marketing at the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve LGBT equality. My role is to grow our visibility through merchandise collaborations with fashion designers, artists, and musicians. I also oversee the marketing efforts for Energy & Environment LLC. We specialize in environmental cleanup and provide sustainable solutions in building construction and operations. Driven by my passion for social activism, I need to feel that I’m working for something and not someone. When I’m not fighting for equal rights, I’m protecting Mother Earth. Some nights you may also find me moonlighting as a DJ."

Alexander Wang cardigan, T-shirt from Self Evident Truths photo project, Joe's jeans, and Tod's boots.
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How would you describe the aesthetic in your home?
"My home is a playful balance of masculine and feminine; light and dark; industrial and organic. There’s not really a defining theme — each room has its own unique character. I like to think of it as a romantic collection of high-end pieces, repurposed wares, salvaged goods, curiosities, and flea-market finds."
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Karakorn scored her awesome charms from the Hollywood flea market (they're made from repurposed bullet casings!) and added them to an Alex & Chloe chain.
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"I'm a very sentimental person, and there's a tale behind every piece in my home," Karakorn says. "Walking through my home is like reading the story of my life."
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Tell us a little about your personal style.
"While my style has evolved over the years, I would describe it as 'business goth meets girl-next-door geisha.' Ninety percent of my wardrobe is black, and that’s what I wear most of the time. The other ten percent is completely unpredictable — expect the unexpected. In life and in fashion, I like to keep people on their toes."
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Tell us about your Visionaire collectibles — and the gnome!
"I’ll happily talk about my toys. As a child, we couldn’t afford them, so perhaps I overcompensate as an adult. I was gifted the Visionaire artist collectibles at Art Basel in Miami during [one of my yearly] visits. My best friend worked for Visionaire at the time. They came as a set of 10, by different artists, each consisting of three nesting figurines. Though I’m fond of them all, the Alex Katz and Kurt Vonnegut ones are my favorites. The accessories are interchangeable, which allows me to add my vision to each artist’s creation.

The gnome was a gift from a friend of a friend visiting from NYC. After I talked his ear off about my obsession with the gnome from Amelie, he told me that he owned the actual gnome used in the Toyota Tundra commercial series and, because it was my birthday, he offered to give it to me. Sculpted and painted by hand, the gnome was an elaborate production. It’s often that strangers make promises that never reach fruition, so imagine my surprise when I received that package at my office the next day. That one evening over drinks was our only encounter. Never underestimate the kindness of strangers."
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We love the clean, simple style in the living room — and the clever ways she utilizes antlers in her decor. Can you spot them in this picture?
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She has a serious shoe collection — See by Chloé sandals and Alexander Wang boots are just a few of her favorite pairs.
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Where do you find your furniture, home decor, etc? Do you have any favorite stores or websites?
"I absolutely love Muleh. Each visit to that store causes an endorphin rush. They carry Kenneth Cobonpue, whose pieces largely make up my living room. I also love searching for salvaged treasures at Community Forklift and Second Chance, because you never know what you’re going to find. Vintage ping-pong table, antique globe, driftwood to be repurposed as shelves? Check, check, check."
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The cutest DJ ever? We think so.

Karakorn wears a vintage hat and a blouse she scored at a thrift store for $1.
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"In terms of decor, I feel strongly that a house is not a home without flowers, which are essential to promoting good Feng Shui. French tulips and roses (both in white) are my weakness. I order them religiously from Bloom Fresh Flowers in Alexandria."
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You've lived here for a long time — what attracted you to this house, in particular?
"My initial attraction was its proximity to H Street NE and the lot size — it’s enormous. I wanted to invest in a property that would appreciate. Built in 1923, it had been completely renovated and had all the amenities of a modern home. I knew when I walked through the door that I had to have it."
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Pretty embroidered pillows and a low-profile bed make the guest bedroom a perfect spot to lounge.
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What inspires you on a regular basis?
"I’m inspired by love. Having been recently engaged, it’s important for me to continue to do my part to ensure that marriage equality prevails, so that we are afforded the same rights as all loving, committed couples. I'm inspired by my late father and wonderful mother, who sacrificed so much to give me a shot at the American dream. I'm inspired by my brilliant and talented friends who never cease to amaze me. Having visited 25+ countries, I'm inspired by new experiences, adventures, languages, and foreign cultures. I'm also inspired by starry nights, heartbeats, the sound of children's laughter, and full moons."

Joe's jeans, Alexander Wang boots.
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Another peek at those amazing shoes!
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We're so inspired by all the unique ways Karakorn has introduced nature into her decor, especially these cute mason jars-turned-cactus-planters.
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The master bedroom features the home's boldest design scheme, from the wide stripes to the wolf-emblazoned bedspread. The apothecary cabinets, found at a flea market in Delaware, are now home to a collection of books and knickknacks.
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What are you coveting right now for your home, and your closet?
"For my home, solar panels and pervious pavers. My goal is to leave the smallest carbon footprint possible. For my closet, I'm on the hunt for the perfect vintage Rolex or two."
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Did we mention that she uses antlers in the coolest ways possible? We love this quirky take on displaying jewelry.
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What are some of the things you've done to make your house feel like "you"?
"I just renovated the bathrooms, adding a two-person soaking tub in the master bath. Needless to say, candlelit bubble baths have become a part of my nightly routine."
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Walk us through your beauty routine — how did you come to your signature look?
"I'm a creature of habit and, believe it or not, am very low-maintenance. From the minute I step out of the shower, I can be ready to walk out the door in 15 minutes flat. I typically air-dry my hair and have used the same products for over a decade. My step-by-step routine: Clinique Dramatically Different moisturizing lotion and Superbalanced foundation; L'Oreal Lineur Intense Brush Tip liquid eyeliner; Almay One Coat mascara; MAC Cosmetics lip liner in Cherry and lipstick in Ruby Woo; and Givenchy Amarige perfume."
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The bathroom's abundant natural light and soothing palette of cream, white, and silver make it an ideal place to prep for the day — or unwind at the end of it.
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Describe your dream home (and wardrobe!).
"My dream home is Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater. The idea that a house can be harmoniously at one with nature atop a waterfall is sexy, sensual, and simply beautiful. However, I would transplant the home from rural Pennsylvania to the Amalfi Coast. My dream wardrobe would be made up of hand-me-downs from Daphne Guinness."

Vintage kimono and TK heels.
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The backyard is Karakorn's private oasis in the midst of the city, where she gardens, relaxes, and entertains friends. Who could pass up a cookout with a little ping-pong action? Not us.
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"I love spending time outside. Gardening is therapeutic for me, and I take pride in my collection of fruit trees," Karakorn says. "I grow my own herbs for cooking and hydrate my plants each morning with water collected from my rain harvesting system. I recently added a deck — it's a serene place to catch sunsets and, on rare occasions, sunrises."

Anthropologie dress, Oliver Peoples sunglasses, and Marni heels.
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A pretty orchid, a Venus flytrap, and an array of seedlings share space in the backyard.
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What do you love most about your neighborhood?
"Its history and legacy. Once a shopping and dining hub, the area was nearly destroyed after the 1968 riots following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Over the past seven years, H Street has experienced a renaissance and resurrection, and I’m proud to be a part of it. I love seeing new restaurants and businesses pop up. It’s definitely a perk to live just blocks away from my favorite spots: Le Grenier and Toki Underground. I'm also very excited for the new street car and organic market."

Karakorn's sweet collection of Vespas.
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Talk about sitting pretty! We're smitten with Karakorn's sustainable and all-around chic outlook.
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