At the age of 18 Merel spent a year in Perugia (Italy), where she studied with an Italian fresco painter and made herself familiar with the Italian language. On her return to the Netherlands, she studied at the Design Academy in Eindhoven. After graduating she worked as a freelance designer for artist Irene Fortuyn, where she worked on projects in the public domain. At the same time she started her own company Studio Merel Karhof. In 2007 she received a bursary from the Prins Bernhard Culture Foundation to continue her studies for an Master’s degree at the Royal College of Art in London. She studied at Platform two led by Jurgen Bey and Martino Gamper, a platform with a focus on the public domain. Following her studies she was invited several times for residencies in Europe, amongst others at Fondazione Claudio Buziol in Italy where she spent 3 months researching the visionary city of Venice. The resulting body of work was exhibited during the Milan Furniture Fair in 2010. That same year she was invited to Italy again, this time for a residency in Vicenza where she worked on the production of a series of products made in direct collaboration with several local artisans.
Recently she was awarded a grant from Foundation Doen, which enabled her to instigate a collaboration between three millers, of whom she is one. In her role as miller, Merel Karhof works on upholstered furniture pieces, which are completely created with the inexhaustible and free energy source of the wind.