"The interiors blog Homebodies might not offer hands-on home-improvement instruction, but it is itself the do-it-yourself project of the New York-based design writer Liz Arnold. Frustrated with writing house features for glossies based on fact sheets and JPEGs, she wanted to linger longer in personal spaces “to show how people are really living.” Her subjects — shot on an iPhone or Lumix — tend to be under-the-radar designers, artists and chefs, living in Brooklyn or Echo Park, Los Angeles, with forays to Iceland and Italy. Copies of Apartamento can sometimes be seen on their coffee tables, and Arnold is not above snooping her way into armoires or even R.V.’s to sniff out the ways in which the most private environments can tell universal stories. “To me, truth is always stranger than fiction,” she said over a glass of Gran Sangre de Toro at SoHo’s Boqueria restaurant (whose chef, Seamus Mullen, appears on Homebodies), “and the way most magazines shoot these places is like fiction.”
Arnold’s descriptions of domestic effluvia read like captions for an interiors magazine that she believes could never exist in a world that encourages aspirational “self-improvement through objects”: “An iPod is hooked up to a Tivoli near the nub of a mostly eaten carrot”; “This is where the ambiguously employed trio keeps a breast implant on the counter to use as a paperweight.”
In an unanticipated twist, Arnold — whose approach is so rough-and-tumble that she’s been referred to as the “anti-Selby” — has been approached by suitors interested in acquiring the rights to Homebodies, which she started in February 2009. Similarly, Apartamento — which is planning a pop-up restaurant during New York’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair next month — has had success on the advertising front. Velardi says pages from the likes of Vitra, Iittala and André Balazs Hotels have helped them scrape by from issue to issue."