Design Q&A with Molly Luetkemeyer

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Molly Luetkemeyer's space from CA Home & Design's "Small Space, Big Style" House Tour floored me (the opening shot and the one with the drums are both photos of her work). 

Beyond the beautiful aesthetics of the rooms is the fact that she took a beyond-awkward area (a landing that wrapped around a bathroom) and created two usable and design-savvy environments that both reflected the interests and satisfied the needs of the faux-people who lived there. Decorating a well-balanced room, plump with light and space, is one thing. Creating beauty out of the ugly, awkward, small, dark and unusable — and on a budget?  That, to me, is a true test.


What is your favorite design moment (house, restaurant, building, public space) in Los Angeles? 

David Wiseman's lyrical installation in the stairwell of the recently completed West Hollywood library. His plaster, bronze and porcelain branches grow out of from the walls and create an unexpected, slightly surreal canopy that is both dreamy and whimsical.


Let’s pretend you have $400 to update a 250 square foot space, how do you spend it?  

In a word, paint. You can radically change the feeling and style of a space with paint. Consider a deep, dark color in high gloss to add drama and depth, a soft blue-grey in a chalky finish for a polished and European vibe, or punch it up with a dynamic wall mural. Don't forget to consider the ceiling. A slight metallic will make the room feel taller and more glamorous; a much paler shade of the color you use on the walls will add a tailored feel to the space. The key to your success is prep, prep, prep. Take the time to sand and prime the walls, tape all edges carefully, and brush or roll on a number of coats for the most professional and sophisticated results.


Tell us a little bit about your window for LCDQ's (La Cienega Design Quarter) Legends of La Cienega event? 

My windows are at George Smith, so I decided to create two spaces that are a mirror image of one another - one side done in a more old-fashioned, English style in muted sepia tones and the other punched up to current day and beyond with lots of color and manipulated materials. I am lucky to have wonderful custom colored Raoul textiles in both scenes and delicious, deep truffle-colored walls courtesy of LCDQ-member Sydney Harbor paints. I am excited to see the past and the present/future juxtaposed!


What 5 things would you put in a time capsule?  (NOTE: The theme of this year's LCDQ event is Time Capsule: The Past, Present and Future of Design). 

Hmmm....well, definitely an iPhone, as it is the defining device of our time; a box set of Breaking Bad. A Jason Koharik lamp. A pair of Isabel Marant ankle booties. A Filip Dujardin photograph.


What period of history would you most like to have lived in?  

The 1970s. It just seems like a much cooler, sexier time. Studio 54, Yves St Laurent in Marrakech, the Rolling Stones at their peak, Willy Rizzo - need I say more?


What would you bring with you if you were time traveling?

A sense of adventure, my wits...and comfortable shoes.


What 5 things do you recommend keeping on hand for unexpected guests?  

Bulleit Bourbon, a handful of soft bristle toothbrushes, Jo Malone Red Roses travel candles, slippers from the souk in Marrakech, Edward & Sons black sesame rice crackers and hummus (always a crowd-pleaser).


What’s your biggest design or home-related indulgence?  

Books on design - interiors, jewelry, fashion, furniture, new, vintage, out-of-print — I just can't get enough. I am addicted!


What’s your favorite home from a movie or tv show? 

The Villa Necchi Campiglio from the film, "I Am Love". Complete perfection.


What do you love most about LA?  

The smell of Pittosporum blooming through the canyons in March. It is completely intoxicating.


What’s your favorite cheap design trick or tip?  

Take down all of your art and clear your tabletops and counter space and take a look at what you have with fresh eyes. Try grouping things according to color or theme or shape — you'll be surprised at what you discover. Maybe you have lots of art with solitary figures or you discover you have more black-and-white photography than you realized. Experiment with hanging a bunch of your small art pieces together in a gallery-style hang. For tabletops, use your pretty art and design books to create height and splashes of color and top them with your new-found collections. I do this a few times of year and always find my space feels more fresh and interesting as a result (and I haven't spent a dime). Just add a few fresh flowers to make everything sing!


To learn more about Molly and see more of her work, click here. To learn more about the La Cienega Design Quarter Legends of La Cienega event, which begins May 7th in Los Angeles, click here.  


(Image: Molly Luetkemeyer)