Kari Payne and her husband John are proof that opposites attract. John is the CEO for a nonprofit organisation and Kari is the artistic one. ‘He’s always been analytical,’ she says. ‘He’s the left-brain type, and I’m definitely more right brain.’ But when the time came to buy their home in California, they were of the same mind. ‘We both loved the ranch style, the layout, and the lovely setting,’ Kari says.
As to her eclectic decorating, Kari is quick to credit her parents. ‘My family is such a mixture ethnicity-wise, but my parents’ all-encompassing styles have had the biggest impact,’ Kari explains. ‘My Dad was an interior designer in the 1970s, and my childhood home had old barnwood on the walls and ceilings before reclaimed wood was even a thing. The rooms were filled with Persian rugs, antique cabinets and farm furniture, marble Art Deco tables and mirrors, cow skulls, leaded glass windows, and more. My parents have given me the confidence to mix styles and eras.’
It is no wonder that Kari embraces a multitude of genres in her home–– from theearly simplicity of Native American and the Southwest to the elaborate Spanish and Mediterranean renditions, and more. ‘I love incorporating things from everywhere, from Morocco to vintage American farmhouse pieces. I think the connecting factor to all these cultures is their rustic, artisanal, and handmade quality,’ she says. Social media also provides endless inspiration for Kari. ‘There is such incredible talent online,’ she recognises. The most notable impact came from the relationship she and her friend Kate Keesee (of Salvage Dior) formed via Instagram. ‘Kate’s instinct for creating beautiful spaces using only reclaimed items and pieces from thrift shops is pure magic.’
Travels also influence her approach to décor. ‘We recently visited Mexico and New Orleans, and were captivated by the architecture and sense of history in both places.’ Kari says. ‘I love warm, cosy interiors with a mixture of rustic and modern, and a collected, eclectic vibe. To me it’s relaxing and inspiring all at once.’
Kari’s home is always evolving, though she has some items she says are here to stay. ‘My antique wood furniture pieces are my favourite because they stand the test of time and work with so many different styles, regardless of the current trends.’
It is clear that Kari favours items with interesting stories and various pedigrees. ‘Take your time and combine what you love,’ she advises. ‘Design your home to be unique and personal to you, and a reflection of your life. That is what really makes a house a home.’
Global Bohemian by Fifi O’Neill, published by CICO Books (£19.99)
Photography by Mark Lohman © CICO Books