Interiorssneak peeks

A Bohemian Apartment In New Orleans Makes Pattern Play Look Seamless

by Erin Austen Abbott

Liz Kamarul on Design*Sponge

As someone that has moved, crisscross style, around the United States, I understand the personal growth and adventure that moving to a new location can bring. After college in Florida, I moved to Boston, then Seattle, San Francisco, Memphis, New York, back to my home state of Mississippi, then Los Angeles — only to eventually settle back in Mississippi. Every time I moved somewhere new, I would set up a plan to explore as much of the area as possible, never sure how long I’d be staying. I worked odd jobs, usually as a nanny, just to have the experience of living in different places. I never wanted to look back with regret that I missed out on something.

Liz Kamarul, a stylist and designer, along with her husband Tim, a graphic designer and graffiti artist, have had a similar journey. Based in Portland, OR for years, they decided to sell off everything they owned, hopped into an RV and traveled the country for six months straight, with their two dogs. “We love starting our lives over and over again. It feels like it challenges us to grow creatively and personally,” Liz shares. It was through those RV travels that the couple visited New Orleans, LA for the first time and fell in love with the city, bringing the road trip to a halt. Six months in and they are embracing their new lives in one of the most vibrant cities in the country.

True to most New Orleans homes, they live in a two-story, shotgun-style quadplex, sharing a front porch with their neighbors, often spending evenings out there talking until the sun goes down. Liz tells us, “We chose this home because it had so much character and the neighborhood is beautiful and very walkable to the rest of the city.” New Orleans is one of those cities where the beauty and character lies in the patina, antiquated architecture, and the cobblestone roads. It’s pieced together, yet it all works seamlessly. Liz and Tim have welcomed this about their new city and have brought that style into their home. “I think living in New Orleans has confirmed that I love color and quirkiness because that’s what New Orleans is all about,” Liz says. “Our daily afternoon walks are full of so much character, that it inspires me to keep things interesting inside our home, too.”

Mixing so much pattern and texture into a home that is three-fourths thrifted can’t be easy, yet Liz’s eye for design shows us that it’s possible with this piece of advice, “Only purchase items that you truly love and can’t live without. I often let the items I find dictate how it will turn out, so it’s always a surprise and always evolving.” This home tour only makes me love the style of New Orleans even more. Enjoy! —Erin

Photography by Liz Kamarul / @liz_kamarul 

Photo above: “This is our main living area. I’m often asked about our sofa… I got it at a staging consultation. The guy was just giving it away! I had the seat cushions reupholstered and added the wood panels on the side,” Liz shares. 

Liz Kamarul on Design*Sponge

Liz, Tim and their two dogs, Cudi and Bo, in their living room.

Liz Kamarul on Design*Sponge

An overview of the living room, which has mostly thrifted decor.

Liz Kamarul on Design*Sponge

Cudi and Bo embracing their New Orleans home.

Liz Kamarul on Design*Sponge

In a open-floor room, the living room, dining room, and kitchen share the space under 15-foot ceilings. Liz adds, “I would love to renovate our kitchen and paint the cabinets, but we are only renting so there’s only so much we can do.”

Liz Kamarul on Design*Sponge

Another peek at those sweet dogs and that stunning sofa.

Liz Kamarul on Design*Sponge

Adding a little neon never hurt anyone. Replacing the sealed-up fireplace with a fake flame is one way Liz embraces the home’s quirkiness.

Liz Kamarul on Design*Sponge

A dining table next to the window, perfect for street watching.

Liz Kamarul on Design*Sponge

A mix of art and found pieces fill a corner in the living room.

Liz Kamarul on Design*Sponge

Mixing patterns and textures is not an easy feat. Liz has managed to not only make it look easy, but feel attainable at the same time.

Liz Kamarul on Design*Sponge

Looking back towards the living room, from the kitchen.

Liz Kamarul on Design*Sponge

With little vignettes throughout the home, the kitchen area is not without one itself. Artfully hung mugs, stacks of plates, and art make this scene one to give you pause and invite you to take a longer look.

Liz Kamarul on Design*Sponge

Vintage rugs give texture and draw your eye to the kitchen bar. Behind the wall with the cabinets are the stairs to the second floor.

Liz Kamarul on Design*Sponge

Liz hangs art in a way that looks more like an installation or a sculpture.

Liz Kamarul on Design*Sponge

Keeping some structure and order to the design, “Tim has an enormous collection of ‘like new’ Nikes next to our bed, organized by color,” Liz notes.

Liz Kamarul on Design*Sponge

Playful design is everywhere in this couple’s home, like the tall cactus art, holding down the fort with a living plant.

Liz Kamarul on Design*Sponge

Taking what would be the main bedroom as their shared office, Tim and Liz work in a sun-filled, street-side room, filled with vintage finds.

Liz Kamarul on Design*Sponge

In the office, another sculpture-like installation, this time using mirrors.

Liz Kamarul on Design*Sponge

“We used a peel and stick wallpaper so we can easily remove after we move out,” Liz shares about this wall mural.

Liz Kamarul on Design*Sponge

“What I love most about our home is that the majority of it has been thrifted,” Liz shares. “I’ve also started to be more mindful about what I bring into our space and try to make sure that it’s special and unique and something that I can’t live without. When we moved out of our Portland home and sold almost everything it made me realize that a lot of what we had collected wasn’t special or necessary. After living in an RV for six months, I realized that we don’t need that much to be happy. So now our home is a carefully curated selection of items that bring nothing but joy.”

Liz Kamarul on Design*Sponge

This is the first floor of Liz and Tim’s home.

Liz Kamarul on Design*Sponge

The second floor shares the office, the bedroom, and the one bathroom.

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