Kansas Citians know that the West Bottoms is home to some of the best vintage finds in the city.
That’s where Nicole Mertz got her start in home design. As a vintage dealer and furniture artist, she learned a range of skills including interior decorating, hand-painting furniture and vignette styling. These talents come to life in her boho-eccentric home in Overland Park, where every corner tells a story through vintage artifacts, do-it-yourself projects and playful textiles. Take a walk through her home and keep up with her projects—she recently painted her kitchen cabinets—on her Instagram, @kansasgirlvintage.
The goal behind the layered and angled rugs in Mertz’s living room is to take away the square shape of the room. To do this, she recommends to start working with what you already might have or try thrifting before indulging in multiple pricey rugs. “It’s something that takes a lot of tries until the right flow comes to shape,” she says. “Don’t be afraid to play around.”
Mid-Century Modern Coffee Table
“If you think about antiques and vintage, we’re a relatively young country, right?” Mertz says. “And as we progress each decade, it’s getting harder to get our hands on quality furniture. There’s not much left.” She’s had this coffee table for nearly twenty years, and she believes it was built in the sixties or seventies.
A huge drive of Mertz’s work is coziness. “I like design,” she says, “but I also like to be comfortable. Both are possible.” Test-drive a piece of furniture before buying it. If a couch matches your space but isn’t comfy, it’s not worth the investment.
“I work part-time for a wedding florist,” Mertz says. “That’s why you’ll start to see florals kind of creep into spaces.” She painted the vanity and decoupaged floral paper to it, which is seen on multiple pieces of furniture in her home.
The black accent wall in the dining room is contrasted with painted pink shutters. And if you’re really trying to spice up a room? “Paint the ceiling,” she says. “I mean, that’s your fifth wall.”
Mertz and her husband dug these pocket doors out of a basement during a Westside estate sale. “I used them once at a show and they fell on my husband’s head when we tore down. I think they’ll stay here a while,” she jokes.
Mixing patterns and colors in a scene is an art, and Mertz takes it in stride, allowing herself wiggle room and time to perfect it. When creating a mixed-pattern look, Mertz recommends starting with an inspiration piece, whether it be a painting or a textile, and building a color story off that.
The mid-century modern hutch in Mertz’s living room is one of the pieces she’s most proud of, as it was one of the first real furniture items she invested in. “The owner actually allowed me to put it on layaway,” she says. “I took a lot of pride in paying off this piece bit by bit. I believe I was twenty at the time. Quality vintage pieces are timeless and worth the investment.”
Mertz’s craft room is where you’ll find some of her favorite vintage pieces, including a card table turned desk, a woven basket collection and a Kokeshi doll collection.
Most of the items on these farmhouse cabinet shelves are antique, with the exception of a few books gifted to Mertz. She says the keys to styling a shelf without it looking cluttered is playing with heights and having a constant element—in this shelf’s case, that’s a bronze accent.