Obsessed with fashion since she was a little girl, Taraneh Kameli has decorated her apartment in a style that embodies romanticism and bohemian-chic.
And, as the manager of The Cabana, a Lilly Pulitzer store in Camana Bay, she is able to indulge her passion for fashion and design, both at home and in her workplace.
The fashion pieces don’t just stay in the closet, however, as Taraneh uses many of her most treasured belongings as part of the décor and furniture.
“Some of my shoes are pieces of art,” she says. “I’ll bring them out and display them on bookcases. They are conversation-starters when I have guest and friends over. I like to play up color palettes, texture and scale and incorporate my love for fashion and design into my home.”
Taraneh has a particular fascination with vintage Louis Vuitton suitcases, with her latest piece, acquired from a consignment shop in Boca Raton, Florida, repurposed as a side table.
“I’m always fascinated with the dings and dents in a suitcase,” she says. “I wonder where it has gone in the world and what fashionable lady owned it? What’s her life story?”
Taraneh came up with the idea for the suitcases and other fashion items being used as props while following The Coveteurs, a Canadian-based website.
“They go into fashionistas’ homes and closets and ‘Coveteur’ them with the most incredible photos incorporating fashion and home décor,” she says.
Eiffel Tower model bought in Paris trinket shop, antique English china cream jug.
“My secret obsession is snooping in closets, and The Coveteurs give you a glimpse into some of the most fashionable women’s homes and closets around the world.”
Taraneh has lived in the one-bed San Sebastian apartment, which she shares with her poodle Kai (named after Cayman Kai), for the last two-and-a-half years.
And, having moved to Cayman from Toronto, she brought just a few belongings with her when she arrived on the island.
“Most of the things in my home have been collected within the past five years through travels around the world.” Taraneh reveals. “They come from souks in the Middle East, antique shops in Europe, my favorite online home stores and little boutiques around Cayman.
“I also have treasures from the beach; I’m an avid seashell hunter and bring home lots of beach finds. I love finding a treasure and making it my own.”
Upcycling is one of her favorite pastimes, with a great example being her back patio dining set.
“I found it on Ecay here in Cayman,” she says. “It was five different shades of brown but I could see the potential in it. It was heavy-duty rod iron and had so much character. I spray-painted it white and reupholstered all the cushions. It’s now one of my favorite second-hand finds.”
Another example is the stunning mirror, which hangs above Taraneh’s bed.
“My best friend is queen bee of garage sales,” she says.
“I decided to stop at her latest one and, lo and behold, came across the most obnoxious gold mirror. It was hideous but I saw potential. I purchased it, spray-painted it white and it turned out amazing. I have some serious laughs telling the story and my friend always wants to buy it back from me.”
Taraneh’s apartment is pretty and feminine with her eye for design proof that fabulous décor doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
“I see things the average eye doesn’t pick up on,” she says.
“What is garbage to one person is a treasure to me. You must always have an open eye to see the beauty in things, and the potential to make it fit into your home. My most treasured items in my home cost pennies.
“It makes me giggle when people come into my home and they love items that literally were sitting in a dingy consignment shop in France. With all things in life, a little tender loving care can make the darkest piece the brightest piece.”
Taraneh’s love for fashion started at a young age with her chicly dressed mother as a role model, and their family home that was filled with color, texture and trinkets from around the world.
By her own admission, she spent more time reading Vogue than listening to her professor at university. She also made her own clothes and took part in fashion shows as student.
Following an undergraduate degree at Western University in London, Ontario, she was accepted into Ryerson University’s School of Fashion in Toronto, beating thousands of applicants for one of 90 coveted places.
After completing the four-year course, she was hired by Hudson’s Bay Company, Canada’s most iconic retail department store, where she worked in The Room, a specialty department only found in the Toronto and Vancouver branches.
“I worked alongside some of the most influential fashion designers and people in the industry,” she recalls. “It was an honor and I learned so much. It’s shaped me to be the woman I am today and helped me strengthen my work ethic and determination to never give up and follow my dreams.”
Now, working at the Lilly Pulitzer store, which sells brightly colored ladies clothing and accessories, allows Taraneh to do everything she loves.
“I travel around the world to all my favorite cities, I visit Lilly Pulitzer headquarters a few times a year to view the collections of the season, I create all our marketing material, work with local charities in Cayman, keep our clientele up to date via social media and plan fun social events,” she says.
Taraneh’s personality and love for the arts is evident in both her home décor and at The Cabana store.
“I think both places give off a sense of positive, care-free energy where friends, family and clientele can relax and enjoy both environments,” she says.
“Running a business and traveling can get overwhelming. When I moved in, I wanted a home where I could surround myself with all my favorite things, relax and feel at peace. I am living my dream and feel incredibly blessed.”