A Small But Glamorous West Hollywood Studio

A Small But Glamorous West Hollywood Studio

Erin Galvin
Sep 9, 2018
(Image credit: Erin Galvin)

Name: Dominic A. Cerino IV
Location: West Hollywood — Los Angeles, California
Size: 560 square feet
Years lived in: 4.5 years; Rented

When interior designer Dominic submitted his House Call, many of you proclaimed that you couldn't believe it was a rental. Well, that impression is all down to Dominic's incredible attention to detail. He convinced his landlord to refinish the bathtub before he moved in, he painted or wallpapered every wall in the place, and he even had a custom faux fireplace/TV enclosure built for the living room.

Take a video tour of Dominic's apartment:

(Image credit: Erin Galvin)

Dominic has managed to craft every detail of his apartment, and his design vision helped him define individual spaces within the studio layout to such great effect that visitors easily find themselves actually forgetting it's a studio,—and that his bed is only ten feet away.

I visit on what turns out to be one of our few overcast days in Los Angeles, but the wintery light complements the greys and blues of Dominic's color scheme perfectly. The same tones dominate almost all of the apartment, but he uses shade and pattern to help accentuate different spaces and add variety. He balances the blues with pink natural accents, liberal amounts of white, and just a touch of wood. This refined palette gives him room to explore lots of textures; he doesn't shy away from woven and plant materials, but it's slick surfaces like mirrors and glass that give Dominic's home that Hollywood glamour.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Modern, clean lines with elegant and organic elements incorporated into the space

Inspiration: One of my biggest inspirations is nature. I like to incorporate nature into the interior environment. Having surfaces that reveal a lot of texture and warmth are important to me, which helps create layers in any interior space. I'm also inspired by paintings and artwork, which I can use as inspirational images to help create the look and feel for an interior space.

Favorite Element: My coffee table. It took me eight months from start to finish for this piece. I wanted a furniture item that was designed by myself which would be a focal point in the space. I sourced the purple geode amethyst rock from a scientist who studies these rocks in Brazil. I had to wait until he found the right size, shape, and color. I designed the stainless steel base as how a diamond ring base supports a diamond. I have a metal guy who produces custom metal pieces for furniture and he did a great job for the support. It's a very heavy geode rock! I had a glass company measure the glass top to create the same shape of the rock, organic and unique to create depth as well.

Biggest Challenge: I had many challenges to overcome, however there were two that took some time to achieve. They were the wet areas, the bath and kitchen. These are both small spaces, yet I needed to make them look designed, but also functional. I decided to paint these areas in gray tones to help make these spaces flow together, and gave the living areas a light blue for the wall color. My second challenge was finding the perfect window sheer color. I must have gone to 40 different stores and vendors, and I was determined to find the right blue/gray color that had a nice sheen to it. I finally found it at a fabric store in downtown LA in the Fashion District. I bought the entire roll of fabric because I was overwhelmed with joy that I finally found the right sheer color and sheen!

What Friends Say: They thought I was a little crazy putting so much work, time and money into my place, but I told them that I design clients' homes during the day and I want to come home to a designed environment as well. My interior environment represents my soul as a designer. When I had my house opening party, many were in shock. "I can't believe how you transformed this space," "This does not look like 560 square feet," "Omg it's beautiful," "I want to hire you!" "This is amazing," and "I love your coffee table!" Some were also speechless… haha.

Biggest Embarrassment: After my custom fireplace unit was constructed, I had to paint the interior black (it's a fake fireplace, but wanted to give the illusion of a real fireplace). I spray painted it black, however the spray paint smeared all over and somehow appeared on my carpet—white carpet! I was so angry so I had to clean up, used basic black paint, and clean the carpet. I will never use spray paint in the interior environment again!

Proudest DIY: My handyman man made a custom TV unit for me that encases the TV, speakers, cables, and fireplace. The material is out of MDF and I wanted this piece to look like a slab of marble, so I found wallpaper that mimics Calacatta gold marble and covered this entire piece with wallpaper. This took seven hours and a bottle of wine. I'm proud that I matched up all of the marble lines and there are no seams! Flawless install.

Biggest Indulgence: My custom-designed coffee table. This piece will be with me for my entire life and it also inspires me because I want to have my own line of furniture one day. This piece looks like it is sourced from the PDC (Pacific Design Center) and everyone comments on it.

Best Advice: Always trust your gut with design. If you are not 100% satisfied with the color, fabric or furniture item, find something else until you have exhausted all options and you are satisfied with the overall look and feel. I will constantly source the perfect color or fabric for a client. It can take two days or a month, however when the entire interior space flows and exhibits my skills as a designer and what the client asked for, both client and designer are happy. I want the client to feel like the interior space is part of them, their soul, and when that happens, an interior designer is successful at his or her role as a designer.

I am also a fan of color. I always try to incorporate color in a space and many people are afraid of it. A lot of people need to get out of their comfort zone of grays, browns and whites. Have some black walls with a pink sofa! Furniture pieces can be considered art, and let your designer be in control and trust him or her because your space is a blank canvas and the designer wants to make the space flow with artistic and creative elements.

One last thing to note for advice, a lot of people don't realize the cost and time it will take to design a space. This is not done in a week. It takes time to select the colors, order the items, and make sure everything is managed correctly. Whatever you think it will cost you, multiply this 3x and that is your approximate cost, and however long you think it will take, multiple this 2-3x also.

Dream Sources: I love the PDC! Holly Hunt, Thomas Lavin, Donghia, Robert Allen, Aran Cucine, Euro Concepts, Baker, Lee Jofa, Spec Ceramics, Wolf Gordon, ARudin, Wired Lighting, Arteriors Lighting, David Sutherland, Tai Ping—there are so many, but these are just a few I visit every week to source materials and get inspirations from.



Entry — Sherwin-William Sleepy Blue 6226
Living room — Sherwin-William Sleepy Blue 6226
Dining room — Sherwin-William Sleepy Blue 6226
Kitchen walls — Sherwin-Williams Argos 7065
Kitchen cabinets — Sherwin-Williams Peppercorn 7674
Bedroom — Sherwin-William Sleepy Blue 6226
Dressing area — Sherwin-Williams Tempe Star 6229
Bathroom stripes — Sherwin-Williams Peppercorn 7674 and Argos 7065
Office — Sherwin-Williams Tempe Star 6229

Console table — Room & Board
Table lamp — West Elm
Flowers — Rolling Greens
Wall mirror — CB2
Wall frames — IKEA

Sofa — Z Gallerie
Side table — Z Gallerie
Coffee table — custom
Teak wood décor balls — Foreign Affairs Home Decor
Sofa pillows — custom
Ceiling pendant — Lamps Plus
Glass ball pendant — custom
Rug — FLOR
TV — Best Buy
Other AV equipment — Best Buy
TV/fireplace unit — custom
Fireplace candles — Restoration Hardware
Flowers — Rolling Greens
Marble wallpaper — Ferm Living
Blackout shades and window shades — The Shade Store
Sheer drapery — custom-made in the Downtown LA Fashion District
Window soffits — custom

Dining table — IKEA
Glass table top — custom
Chairs — IKEA
Console table — Overstock.com
Rug — FLOR
Flowers and tree — Michaels Arts & Crafts, Rolling Greens
Mirror — custom
Candy jars — Michaels Arts & Crafts
Chandelier — Overstock.com, crystals added

Bar — IKEA
Wall mirror — IKEA
Countertop — IKEA
Wall shelves — IKEA
Accessories — CB2, IKEA

Bed — Overstock.com
Bedding and linens — West Elm
Bed pillows — custom
Nightstands — IKEA
Bookshelves — IKEA
Table tamps — West Elm
Dresser — IKEA
Dresser leather backing — Holly Hunt
Flowers — Rolling Greens
Rug — FLOR
Bookcases — IKEA
Bookcase wall covering — Phillip Jefferies
Painting — custom

Wall covering — Phillip Jefferies
Drapery — IKEA
Wall shelves — IKEA
Interior closet carpet — S&J Biren Carpets
Rug — FLOR
Chandelier — Overstock.com
Accessories — Z Gallerie

Wall shelves — IKEA
Bath towels — Bed Bath & Beyond
Carpet — Bed Bath & Beyond
Accessories — IKEA

Wall covering — Phillip Jefferies
Drapery — IKEA
Baskets — IKEA
Flowers — Rolling Greens
Desk — IKEA
Chair — IKEA
Desk lamp — IKEA
Wall mirrors — Crate & Barrel
Rug — FLOR
Art — IKEA

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