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A Phoenix Living Room Gets an Artsy Upgrade

Nora Burba Trulsson | August 30, 2019 | Home & Real Estate Feature

Katie Bowe Taratsas’ design of a living room takes its inspiration from the 1960s Space Age.


When Scottsdale interior designer Katie Bowe Taratsas was asked to create a common living room space for the residents of, what is now, the Green Leaf Arts District in downtown Phoenix, she duly noted that the luxury apartment homes were next door to the Phoenix Art Museum and in the neighborhood of Arizona Opera’s offices. “I definitely took some inspiration from the arts location,” says Taratsas, principal of Katie Bowe Design, “but I thought it would be fun to inject a 1960s vibe into the setting.”

Taratsas started by scaling down the room’s two-story volume with the addition a faux mezzanine to one wall—opposite the real mezzanine—to balance the room. She worked with a backdrop of monochromatic neutrals, including concrete-finished walls, cold rolled steel accents, and blackened iron and white oak millwork.

The room’s theme came from a pair of black-and-white Richard Avedon photos of model Jean Shrimpton in a space suite, circa mid-1960s, zhuzhed up with pink neon lighting around her face. Taratsas echoed Shrimpton’s helmet shape with a pair of vintage-style clear acrylic bubble chairs, another nod to the Space Age. A grid of blue-green barn lights dangling from the ceiling adds more punches of color to the setting and further serves to bring the room’s volume to human scale.

A sofa in a putty sharkskin velvet fabric, white lacquered consoles and a deeply textured area rug create a cozy space in which residents can watch TV or gather for conversation. Taratsas added polish to the room with an eclectic array of accessories, including vases, bowls, books and bookends.

“I wanted this space to truly look residential,” the designer says, “like the owners had collected the furniture and objects over time.”

Photography by: Roehner + Ryan