Location: Long Beach, California
My husband and I recently moved into this space, and we decide to take on a small renovation. It's my own home, so I wanted to take some risks and I wanted it to be a little fun. As a relatively new designer I wanted to take the opportunity to design something that reflected my personal design aesthetic which is midcentury, eclectic, and can be a little glam too. The space had good bones, but it was dated. The vaulted ceiling and open floor plan were a great start, so from there we just needed a fresh coat of white paint, new tile, lighting and furniture.
The first thing I chose was the cement fireplace tile. The original fireplace was dated and unremarkable – you almost didn't notice it! As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted it to be something special. I chose the cement tile surround and had a custom wood beam made for the mantle. Next I focused on the lighting. I always focus on lighting as one of the first design elements and I always want to make a statement. A great light fixture can transform a room.
I wanted to bring attention to the height and grand scale of the room which is why I added the large Darlana lantern and a large piece of artwork to draw the eye up. The space is so open, and with the vaulted ceiling and all white walls, it took a while to make it feel complete. The addition of the artwork and accessories like plants really helped to round out my vision. In the kitchen, we didn't have the budget for new cabinets, so we simply painted them a fresh coat of white and added new hardware and Rejuvenation light fixtures.
One of the hardest decisions for me was to choose a sideboard/console. When it comes to using wood, I prefer a mixture of finishes. I never like to use too many of the same tones in one area. We had many different types and colors of woods to consider. We bought the dining table and chairs first, which are in a walnut finish, and we kept the previous owner's dark wood floor. Ultimately I decided to go with black. The challenge was that so many of the black buffets I saw were too modern for the space. Rather than ultra-modern, I wanted something a little eclectic and transitional for that piece. That's where online shopping comes in handy. It can be a little tricky when you don't see the product in person, but if you read the reviews and measure out the item in your space, there are fewer chances of surprise, and it can actually be great to be able to look at so many options you wouldn't have seen otherwise.
For the living room, we had existing sofas that we just didn't have the budget to replace, but we loved the color so I added a few African textiles and pillows to lighten the look and keep it fun. We also used an existing architectural print we had in storage of Frank Lloyd Wright's design for the Tokyo Hotel. I really wanted the space to be bright and fun – which I think is well represented by the large Kristi Kohut Hapi Art prints in the hallway. Originally I had ordered one for the dining room, but it just didn't look as I had imagined it, so I moved it to the hallway and loved it so much that I needed to order a second piece! Overall we are really happy with the statement pieces we have invested in but also the compromises we have made and areas we have been able to save and maintain our budget.
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