Interview with: Katie Zamprioli
Photography by: Katie Zamprioli
Katie Zamprioli dazzles the social media world with her knack for thrifting vintage items and injecting color and pattern into interiors and clothing.
Where did you grow up? How did it contribute to who you are today?
I grew up in Salisbury, a small town in Maryland. Even though I always wanted to get out and explore the world, I adore my hometown, and it definitely played a part in shaping me. The house I grew up in was built in the 1930s, and my mom filled it with beautiful antiques and art. My parents are avid thrifters, and I grew up going to yard sales and antiquing with them on weekends. They still go every weekend.
How long have you lived in LA?
I’ve been in LA for twenty years now—the longest I’ve lived anywhere. I love the diversity, the art, the culture, the fashion, the food, and the scenery.
What design eras are you drawn to the most?
I particularly love seventies and eighties design and feel that the quality of the pieces from those decades are far superior to most of the recreations you see today.
How would you describe your style?
It’s undeniably eclectic. I don’t get too caught up in sticking to one particular genre or style. I call myself “retro boho” and say that I live in a desert sunset. My home and style are ever-evolving things. I love vintage, pastels, plants, and postmodernism. I’ve dubbed my style “The Little Mermaid if she grew up to be a Golden Girl.”
What is it like being a public figure on Instagram?
I love being a content creator and inspiring others through creativity, fashion, and design. I truly believe it’s my life’s purpose, and I find it so fulfilling and fun.How did your social media popularity transpire?
It happened quite organically. I didn’t initially intend on it becoming my full-time job. When we bought our first home in July 2017, I knew I wanted to document the process of decorating it on Instagram, and it kind of just took off. I started posting every day and became friends with a community of other decor lovers, and the rest is history.
Are there aspects of it that have surprised you?
I don’t think I expected to find such an amazingly supportive and kind community. The decor community especially is all about building each other up and sharing in each other’s victories. It’s also a lot of work. I think many people assume you just snap a shot and boom, you’re an influencer. It actually takes about ten hours of work a day to be successful, and a lot of it is mundane. You also wear a lot of hats. Especially now with reels, you are expected to be a director, actor, music supervisor, and editor, in addition to coming up with creative ideas.
Wallpaper: yea or nay?
I’m a big fan of wallpaper! The wallpaper in our living room (Cosmic Abstraction by Photowall) was the first wallpaper that my husband and I installed in the house. It took us about seven hours to do it, but we were so proud of ourselves. I still love it almost four years later. I was so nervous before I put it up because it was a bold statement, but I trusted my intuition. It was the first step toward really finding my voice in decor, and it kicked off my personality in the design world. I’ve now wallpapered eight walls.
What is your most treasured thrifted item?
The large vintage double-arc floor lamp by Nova of California in my living room was sourced for me by @thevintagetheory. It’s super rare, such a statement, and probably my favorite vintage find of all time. I also have a seashell lamp in my bedroom that my mom thrifted for me in Florida for two dollars, and I treasure it so much because it reminds me of her and Florida.
How do you decide which art pieces to take home?
I gravitate toward pieces that evoke a strong feeling. Sometimes it’s wonder, excitement, or even disgust. I know that sounds weird, but I’m drawn to ugly pieces sometimes. I love pieces that are raw and vulnerable that make you think about the subject and how it relates to your own life.
Have you always been this self-assured? What advice would you give to people trying to find their style?
I definitely have not always been this self-assured; years of therapy have helped me become the person I was meant to be. I think letting yourself and your process be somewhat uninhibited is truly the way to create a unique space. Gravitate toward the pieces you love, and don’t worry about what others think or what’s popular. It’s important to take risks. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t, but you find your true voice when you listen to it.
Who do you look up to?
I love Iris Apfel and aspire to be as fashionable as her at 100. Kelly Wearstler is an all-time favorite designer of mine. I love her bold and shapely choices and the way she executes her designs. They are the perfect juxtaposition of vintage and modern.
What is your process when redesigning a room?
I first envision the changes in my mind and create a mood board to make sure the room will look as good as I’m planning in my head. I’ll start with the color and the feel of the space that I’m going for. I also choose a color or wallpaper for an accent wall. I like to keep things somewhat monochrome so it doesn’t feel like a circus. After deciding on a color, I’ll pick a big focal-point piece for the space, like a couch or bed, and then continue building around that.
How do you manage stress?
I write in a journal every morning when I wake up and make a gratitude list. I also meditate, listen to music, and get out in nature to destress.
How important is purpose to you?
Purpose is what fuels me. I used to get depressed in my twenties when I couldn’t figure out what it was. I was a singer/songwriter for many years and thought it was my only purpose in life. When it didn’t work out, I was initially devastated. I’ve come to realize over time that inspiring people is my true purpose, and it’s as simple as that. Creativity on any level is what makes me happy, whether it’s music, decor, fashion, art, etc. I love when people tell me that I’ve inspired them to add more color, patterns, and plants to their home or to think outside of the box and try a new hair color or to thrift—that brings me so much joy!
For more info, follow @candycoloredhome on Instagram.