Kera’s Modern Cultural Family Home in Abu Dhabi

published Feb 23, 2015
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(Image credit: Patrick Cline)

Today, we continue our collaborative series curated by Jeanine Hays and Bryan Mason of Aphrochic for Apartment Therapy. They handpick homes from around the world to share that capture the culture and style that they celebrate in their book, Remix: Decorating with Culture, Objects, and Soul.

Name: Kera, McSean, Owen, Asher and Elena Thompson
Location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Size: 2,800 square feet
Years lived in: 5

Kera Thompson is the design mind behind the global textile destination, Interwoven. That the former model and mother of three has an eye for fashion-forward textiles becomes obvious after just one look at her stylish home in the Emirates. A few looks more at Thompson’s stylish abode reveals a modern family space in which white walls dominate the interior, while sleek, streamlined furnishings serve as the perfect counterpoint to the home’s numerous cultural touches.

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A few looks more at Thompson’s stylish abode reveals a modern family space in which white walls dominate the interior, while sleek, streamlined furnishings serve as the perfect counterpoint to the home’s numerous cultural touches. Throughout the home, Kera’s enviable collection of global textiles is the final touch, adding layers of warmth and sophistication through the use of color and pattern.

A creator and purveyor of “artisanal home decor”, Thompson’s home superbly combines the aesthetic of a well-travelled citizen of the world with the needs of an active family home. Her children are right at home amidst her collection of global treasures. Here, Indian poufs and hand-carved stools become the perfect perching spot for little ones. A vintage kantha quilt draped lovingly adorns the crib in her daughter’s nursery. And antique kilim pillows scattered about the sofa add comfort and style to the family’s living room.

Redefining what many of us expect from the home of a growing family of five, Kera has curated a contemporary space where the modern and the cultural sit together beautifully side-by-side. With her mission of bringing artisanal and storied pieces to homes around the globe, this designer, mother and model has created a unique space where cultural style reigns supreme.

-Introduction written by Jeanine Hays and Bryan Mason of Aphrochic

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: My style is very much bohemian chic. I love modern, traditional, and global elements… clean and bright backdrops with lots of organic and natural finishes

Inspiration: My biggest inspiration at the moment is Justina Blakeney. I think she’s a fabulous woman who designs with her whole soul and her personal space and work reflect that consistently.

Favorite Element: My favorite element in an interior space is probably flooring. Whether it’s an painstakingly restored hardwood floor, or an amazing rug… What you’re standing on, grounds everything else around you. Floor coverings in general are my favorite things to hunt for, and there’s nothing better to me than finding a one-of-a-kind rug that takes your breath away.

Biggest Challenge: My biggest challenge is balancing my high-end tastes with a sensible budget, all while designing with children in mind. It’s easy as a design lover to get attached to the beautiful things we find… but in my world, things get broken every day. Having children has been a huge lesson in learning to love and enjoy things in the moment, because nothing lasts forever.

What Friends Say: When friends come into my current space, they are firstly amazed by what a wonderful view we have. I like to think that with how bright everything is when they enter, that it is a refreshing, happy, and comfortable place. Hopefully it’s a space where they can experience the story my family and I are weaving through pictures and treasures we’ve picked up along the way.

Biggest Embarrassment: My biggest embarrassment is my walls! They are riddled with crayons, markers, pencil marks, and dirty handprints from my kids. It’s the worst, but it also makes the place feel a bit lived in which I suppose is nice.

Proudest DIY: To be quite honest, I’m not much of a DIYer, but I will always love my Tracy Reese skirt that I had made into a pillow. I didn’t really do it though…is that bad? I paid someone else to. ha Even still, every time I look at it, it makes me happy, and I was so glad that I didn’t have to thrift it once it didn’t fit anymore.

Biggest Indulgence: : I’m not really in the place where I can indulge when it comes to home furnishings yet. It just doesn’t make sense with my young children. But I did recently buy a custom Swedish mattress, headboard sofa, chairs, and footstool that I’m in LOVE with.

Best Advice: My best advice is not to overthink things. I’ve worked with clients that seem to agonize over every decision in the design process. While being thoughtful is extremely important… making a space a home shouldn’t be painful- it should be fun! So if you like something, get it… if it doesn’t work, you can always return it or repurpose it. Keeping a pin board (whether literal or virtual) full of inspiration keeps you in touch with what you love, so when you come across something that fits into your aesthetic… it should be easy to recognize. When you are continuously and thoughtfully collecting things that you’re drawn to, it somehow always ends up working together.

Another major piece of advice is never to think of your space as finished. The spaces around you are living, breathing things. Don’t finish a room in your home, and then leave it for the next 15 years. Your home should feel alive and be constantly refreshed just like everything else in your life.

How Do You Bring Culture Home: Easy! Textiles! Starting Interwoven has been my greatest opportunity to connect to all the cultures I’ve been surrounded by these past five years. A handmade pillow, or a tunic, a scarf, or rug speaks volumes about where you’ve been and the stories of the artisans who crafted them.

Original Art: I have two pieces that are the beginning of my collection from two Iraqi artists… Ahmed Naseif, and Mohammed Qassmi. I love the way they use color.

Discover More of Kera’s Style:

Resources of Note:


  • Blue Arm Chair (The ONE)
  • Red Crewel Pillow (Repurposed Tracy Reese skirt)
  • Abstract Art (Mohammed Qassmi)
  • Large Clay Urn (local souk)
  • Indian pouf (local souk)
  • Large Grey Sofa (Custom made)
  • Pillows on sofa (Interwoven)
  • Coffee Table (The ONE)
  • Rug (local souk)
  • Quilt on sofa (Interwoven)
  • Media center (IKEA)


  • Table (The ONE)
  • Iranian tapestry (local souk)
  • Acrylic Chairs (IKEA)
  • Light Fixture (IKEA)
  • Kashmiri Rug (local souk)


  • Headboard (custom made)
  • Cushions and Bedspread (Interwoven)
  • Footstool (custom made)
  • Rug (Morroccan Souk)
  • Wicker Chair/side tables (IKEA)


  • Red Dresser/Green Rug/Number Picture/Bed/Bedding (Ikea)
  • Zebra (local souk)
  • Elephant Tapestry/Zebra/Accent Pillows (local souk)
  • Star Trellis Durry (Interwoven)
  • Map (Toys R Us online)
  • Keep Calm Poster (Etsy)


  • African Mobile (local souk)
  • Kashmiri Pillow (local souk)
  • Brown Carved Accent table (local souk)
  • Crib/Dresser/Chair/Light fixture (IKEA)

Thanks, Kera (and Jeanine and Bryan)!

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