Kara & Her Home
We've professed our unwavering love for the bohemian interior aesthetic before, but this home—which is located in the heart of Boston—is undeniably a dream come true. With a vision set on breathing a mid-century mod vibe into her space (all while staying true to her boho-chic roots), Kara Evans has created a home full of personality and life. This home definitely ticks off all the must-haves on our dream home wish lists.
Her stylish, neutrally colored space features exotic-patterned rugs, throw pillows, bold artwork and the dreamiest swing chair our team has ever seen. Kara certainly has a keen eye for detail, and a knack for creating an atmosphere brimming with beauty and warmth. If we had to play favorites, her kitchen would win hands-down—its color palette resembles its earthy surroundings with greens, browns and bronze to create a calming, cozy feel that simply can't be ignored.
Take a peek inside Kara's living space below for a lesson in blending mid-century design with the boho style we're all falling oh-so hard for this season. Be sure to take note of the masterful way she has managed to inject a heady dose of color, pattern and texture to reinvigorate her space, too. All we can say is this: Prepare to Pin this one, folks!
Can you start by telling us what you were hoping to achieve with the overall look and feel of your home?
It's funny, but when I was redecorating, I said I was going to have a minimalist approach. I failed miserably at this, but am really happy with the way it turned out. It’s definitely jam-packed with so much love! I really love spaces that have warm and cozy vibes. They have a certain feeling to them that just makes you want to stay and never leave. I wanted to create that perfect cozy vibe, even if it's summertime.
Do you ever meet people who have a soothing and calming way about them? Kind of like their energy soothes your soul? I don't consider myself to be one of these people, but I wanted my space to emulate these traits. I find that tons of green helps to achieve this! I believe green heals—I really do. I don't know when or how I became the crazy plant lady, but there's no turning back now.
My style right now is basically mid-century mod meets boho. I'm really into rattan and palms, so I'd say it also has a kind of “Golden Girls” flair to it with my own little 2016 twist. It's really still evolving, but I'm happy with the layers so far.
What does your interior design process look like?
I'm not really sure I have a process. I think, for me, I just gather things I love. It's really kind of an obsessive passion. When I walk into a thrift store, an antique shop or a flea market, I get a little high. My mind races and I immediately start staging in my head. I usually will find a piece that is my favorite and I'll make it the focal point of the room. I'll start designing around that. As time goes on and more and more pieces are added, eventually a new piece becomes my favorite and the new focal point of the room. I'll then start designing around that. I think this is how things become perfectly layered. I think our spaces need time to evolve.
It's funny, but when I was redecorating, I said I was going to have a minimalist approach. I failed miserably at this but am really happy with the way it turned out. It’s definitely jam-packed with so much love!
Did you have any particular pieces that shaped the design?
When I first moved out, I had this awful couch from Bob's. It just had no “oomph.” It was all I could afford at the time. It was small, uncomfortable and contributed nothing to the space. I felt like I needed something a little more mature, a little more sophisticated. I found my couch at IKEA, and I love it! It's a creamy white so it helps keep my space light and airy. It's also really low to the ground, which I love because it just has this, "slide in and stay a while" feel. It's pretty contemporary looking with clean lines, so I think I rolled with that, and that's how I found myself adding more mid-century pieces to my space.
Name some creative people that really inspire you.
Oh my gosh, there are so many! I am so grateful for Instagram and the design world! For me, it's just a passion and a hobby right now, but I love having a place like Instagram to share ideas and to get ideas. There is so much inspiration out there—almost too much! I'm constantly inspired and find myself continuously starting new projects because of this! Although, it's amazing, I really just need to chill sometimes.
I think in my dream world, Jennifer Harrison and I would be best friends. She's amazing. You already know this. I really envy the risks she takes. Her home is fearless while still maintaining a tremendous amount of flow. She's the goddess of boho, so I'll always bow down to her. I also look up to Justina Blakeney, another boho goddess. I really respect people like Erica Reitman, Nichol Naranjo and Judy Aldridge, too.
What pieces in your closet would you consider your staples?
I recently turned 30, and I've unknowingly adapted a much more classic look. This summer, I'm all about dresses. I like to layer with vests, blazers or kimonos, and I love belts to accessorize. Last year seemed to be the year of the coat—at least for me. So I'm really looking forward to fall because I miss those pieces.
Is your design style organic or planned? Let us in on your process!
I would have to say that it is a little of both. Let's say I get an idea for a room. I'll sit on it for a little bit, planning it out in my head, literally arranging and rearranging things in my head for weeks. The thing is, it never really goes as planned. I might try to stick to the general plan, but as I'm gathering pieces and attempting to find the things I need, the "plan" takes on a new direction and I think that's where it becomes organic. Sometimes I find something for a particular spot and when I get home it finds its way fitting in elsewhere. I won't force it; I'll just go with the flow. I also think once the general outline of the room is in place, the rest of it tends to organically evolve. Does that make sense?
What are your favorite home trends happening now?
I'm not sure if you'd consider it a trend, but I am loving a no-rules home. I really don't believe in following rules when I'm decorating. In fact, I'll do the exact opposite of what someone would expect. Bohemian décor is obviously a huge trend and I firmly support it! Boho chic is my life right now! Mid-century modern design is still so hot and I'm riding the wave. I think the design is timeless and I love the clean lines. I'll also forever love peg legs.
Sometimes, I'll find a mid-century piece and it'll be flawless and amazing as is. But other times you get it at a really great price and it needs a little work. I love these finds because I get a chance to really make it my own. I can take this vintage piece and modernize it a little bit. I'm working on a new sideboard piece now and I really can't wait to share.
When I walk into a thrift store, an antique shop or a flea market, I get a little high. My mind races and I immediately start staging in my head.
What’s your favorite secondhand find?
That's an easy one! I love my giant beast of a macrame. It's vintage and I've never seen anything like it. It's such a stunning piece and I can't even believe something so beautiful found its way into my life. I'm lucky enough to have an apartment with super high ceilings. Otherwise, this macrame would never exist here. I honestly can't say enough about this find!
I also have somewhat of an emotional attachment to my cow skull. It was probably about three years ago now when I was at this commodities market that I spotted him. The thing was priced ridiculously high so I decided to wait it out. You see, every month when something doesn’t sell, there is a reduction in price. Out of fear he would be purchased before I was able to do so, I took it upon myself to help this all work out in my favor. I proceeded to hide the skull. I went back every week to check in and re-hide if necessary. I hid this skull all over the store. At about month four, I went back and offered them forty bucks, and victory was mine!
We love how fearless you are with mixing patterns, textures and colors! What’s your secret to making it all work together?
I'm just really into breaking the rules. I'll listen to people talk about how they want to do, "this or that because that will match that and go well with that.” I don’t know—I just don't think like that. Most of the time I pick out pieces I love individually. I obviously follow somewhat of a theme, but I never go out of my way to match colors. In fact, I do quite the opposite. My living room is really an eclectic mix of colors and textures. I found this old desk that I decided to refinish for the room. I wanted to paint it something a little outrageous and unusual. I went with a shade of pink that popped so well. It was so unexpected but it worked perfectly. I didn't really overthink it or question it too much. I just did it and it worked!
What’s your secret spot for finding gems for your home?
I hit up a few different places every week! Even if I'm not looking to purchase anything, I like to at least walk through. It’s my therapy. I live in this little secluded town. We have antique shops on every corner so I'm constantly distracted. There's this place called the The Blessing Barn. It's a thrift store run by the church. It always has the best finds! My pink desk with all the drawers is from there. There's also a place called the The Wrentham Country Store that always has cool vintage finds. It's a multi-dealer shop and you never know what you're going to find there, so it stays exciting. Just make sure you pounce on what you want because I promise you it will be gone if you think about waiting.
I also love Etsy! I absolutely love supporting these little shops. I order something off Etsy at least once a week. It has everything! I love it because you can get such unique pieces to add to your space. That's how I think you can really make a statement. Find pieces nobody else has. That's the best part. I try not to shop at those well-known decorating stores for this exact reason.
What's the story behind the chair hanging in your kitchen?
I love my egg chair! It hangs perfectly in the corner of my kitchen. I'm single and live alone so I hired a contractor to come and hang this retro beauty. He did a great job. I say this because it holds all of me, no problem. He was super nice and didn't even bother to charge me, so I am forever grateful. I was trying to keep with a jungalow/bohemian/mid-century modern vibe, so obviously this chair fits right in and gets the job done. I created this secret garden-esque environment in my kitchen, so ultimately adding a playful swing to the mix felt right. I am a double Gemini ruled by Mercury, so I feel like this chair perfectly captures my inner mercurial flower child and is, therefore, a focal point in my kitchen.
What vignette or room in your home makes you the proudest?
That's a really hard one because I put so much love and thoughtfulness into every inch. My apartment is actually very small at only 800 square feet, so I think it's pretty easy to spread the love evenly. I guess if I had to choose, I would pick my bedroom. I love the shape of the room and the amount of light that floods in. I'm not a late sleeper so I have zero complaints. It's just a really serene spot I think.
I really don't believe in following rules when I'm decorating. In fact, I'll do the exact opposite of what someone would expect.
Were there any DIY projects that went into making your home look the way it does today?
Hell yes! I'm on a budget—I have no choice but to DIY! I'm really into the yarn wall hangings right now. I like the texture it adds to a room. I like to play with the colors of the yarn. I'll even dip into my hair styling skills a bit, adding some braids and knots—just anything really to give it some originality. In my living room, I made some plant swings that hang above my couch. It was a fairly simple task. I got some wood from the sawmill down the street (they're so good to me) and bought some rope from Home Depot and there you go! I got to use a drill, so I felt extra independent and handy. I think the rest of my apartment is just my art of displaying other people's art so I can't take credit for all that.
What are your favorite things to do in Boston?
I'm a foodie for sure. I love trying new restaurants. I like places with small plates best because I have a hard time committing to just one. I have this one friend who is on the same level as me when it comes to food. I'm so grateful for her. We don't mess around! And when it comes to food, there's never a budget. Brunch on Sunday is an all-day event and we take it pretty seriously around here. The SoWa Open Market in the South End is the place to be in the summer. It's a collection of local artisans, farmers and food trucks, which brings us back to food. That's pretty much all I do around here—eat and decorate!
What’s on your summer playlist?
So between you and me, my ex has really great taste in music and happens to post a lot about what he's listening to. He doesn't know this, but I actually stalk his social media for all of his music recommendations. He keeps my playlist poppin'! I actually appreciate all different music, so I would say my playlist is a little all over the place. When I'm cleaning, I like to listen to music with a lot of feeling like Janis Joplin or Amy Winehouse. I like jazz—especially on a Sunday with a mimosa in hand—and '90s R&B, obviously. Lately, I've been driving around listening to classics like Huey Lewis and Tom Petty. This is my feel-good type of music. Adele is my spirit animal and her song “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” is pretty much my anthem right now.