Alison's Modern Rustic Mar Vista Home

Alison's Modern Rustic Mar Vista Home

Bethany Nauert
Mar 12, 2012

Name: Alison Williams and her two daughters Lulu (6) and Stella (3)
Location: Mar Vista — Los Angeles, California
Size: 2173 square feet
Years lived in: 1.5 years — owned

Alison and her two daughters live in a great Marina Del Rey home decorated with warm vintage touches. The house has a modern structure and an airy floor plan, but that didn't stop Alison from bringing in her love of traditional and rustic flare.

Alison declares "If my house was burning down, they (her kids) are all that would matter. But otherwise I'm not so much about one thing in particular over another. What I like is the way all the objects and elements come together to create a home."

Designing a comfortable and functional family home came easy for Alison. For her, the the most essential part of designing a house is "the way it feels. To some people it is invigorating to have a lot of color or texture; to others, white simplicity energizes them. Thinking about the way people use the space and designing around that is also crucial."

In one of the most expansive and eclectic cities in the country, Alison found a spot that speaks to her idea of home. "Even though I was born and bred in LA, surrounded by city, the house where I grew up was in a pretty isolated area on the edge of the Santa Monica Mountains. I heard coyotes every night and deer and horses were a common sight. I think I am always unconsciously trying to recreate that feeling of nature within the city. I love living in Mar Vista because the community here is very down-to-earth, with a commitment to our farmers markets and local businesses and improving schools. Yet we are also very sophisticated and savvy with awesome restaurants and shops opening all the time. I love it here."

Thank you to the lovely Wendy Withers for introducing me to Alison!

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Rustic Modern

Inspiration: Barns, France and Belgium, old things. And Pinterest, especially Kim Kiwi. Ilse Crawford, Twig Hutchinson, and Sybella Court. Apartamento and Anthology magazines.

Favorite Element: The Master Bath, for sure!!! Wood siding on the exterior, glass tiles in the bathrooms and kitchen, windows in the stairs. The choice of where the windows were placed. Just the way the architect really carried the entire style of the house all the way through from concept to detail. We were lucky because we purchased the house after it had been completed, and it was if the architect had psychically read our minds.

Biggest Challenge: Marrying my passionate desire for a crumbling rustic manse in the country to the reality of my very contemporary house in the city.

What Friends Say: "It's so cozy in here." I think they're surprised because from the contemporary outside people might expect a lot of mid-century modern. But while that would have looked really beautiful, it's just not me. I like stuff my kids can ruin and it just looks better.

Biggest Embarrassment: That my gardener keeps chopping down the long grass in the front yard to nubs. It's finally growing out! Also that I have neglected the design upstairs. I pretend that it is minimalist. It's not. It's neglect plain and simple.

Proudest DIY: I'm not really a DIYer. I prefer finding things that other amazingly creative people have made and putting them together in my own vision. But I guess my garden? I'm really hands-on with that and I can't wait until spring. It's all about the vegetable flats, baby!

Biggest Indulgence: Chesterfield sofa and chairs from Timothy Oulton. DWR Sonno Prima Firm Mattress

Best Advice: Slow and steady wins the race. Nothing great happens overnight. This has been hard for me because we moved in a year and a half ago and there's so much I want to do. But everything takes time and money. Don't rush finding what you love, but rely on your instinct for spur of the moment inspired purchases. Counter this with making sure you have a vision. Stick to it. Create a mood board with pictures and products that you adore, both in and out of your budget. Pinterest is the BEST for this!!!

Dream Sources: Walnut Wallpaper, Lawson-Fenning, Schoolhouse Electric, Factory20, Adesso on La Brea, Jayson Home

Resources of Note:


    • Farrow & Ball: Charleston Gray
    • Farrow & Ball: Down Pipe
    • Farrow & Ball: Pink Ground


    • Pine Credenza: Restoration Hardware
    • Vintage French Chest


    • Rug: Calypso Home
    • Sofa and Chairs: Timothy Oulton
    • Side chair: Vintage with John Robshaw fabric
    • Armoire: Planks10 custom
    • Side table: My maternal grandmothers'
    • Lighting: Vintage
    •Paintings: Louis Metz, Vintage, My Mom


    • Zinc Table: Tumbleweed & Dandelion
    • Marais Chairs: DWR Outlet in Palm Springs
    • Mirror: Found in somebody's trash!
    • High Chairs: Stokke


    • Lighting: West Elm
    • Enamel Tea Pot: Tortoise, Abbot Kinney


    • Bed: Planks10 custom
    • Drapes: The Shade Store
    • Chandelier: Jean Pelle
    • Couch: Restoration Hardware
    • Side Tables: Pottery Barn Kids


    • Bunkbed: Ikea
    • Credenza: Weego Home custom
    • Vintage art and books

Thanks, Alison!

Images: Bethany Nauert

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