Olivia's Rental Loft in Venice

Olivia's Rental Loft in Venice

Marcia Prentice
May 1, 2013

Name: Olivia Williams, interior designer
Location: Venice Beach; Los Angeles, California
Size: 1,800 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year; rented

Olivia and her landlord are lucky to have found each other. Olivia often walked past her the building that is now her residence and fell in love with it so much that she started stalking the property and asking neighbors about the space - she had to live there! She finally got the name of the landlord and when she called him the loft was available to be rented, but...

...it was in really bad shape and would need a lot of work to get it to a comfortable living condition. Since Olivia is an interior designer, she overlooked the state of the home because she immediately knew the loft had so much potential. As soon as she moved in, she went to work cleaning the home, making updates, and decorating the space. Now Olivia has a beautiful and unique home steps from the beach - I still can't believe the loft is a rental!

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I guess I would say my style is a relaxed eclectic mix of old and new. I am very sensitive to my surroundings and without sounding snobbish, I appreciate things that are aesthetically pleasing. It also speaks about who you are and where you've been. My style is ever evolving and I like to change it up as much as possible. In summer your home can feel lighter and brighter and in winter cozy and warm by simply changing things around and changing slipcovers. It's fun!

Inspiration: My house is in Venice Beach very close to the water, so naturally I was inspired by the relaxed vibe of Venice. I think that it is important to decorate a house in a way that complements the architecture and general feel of the house. Luckily, this space has a great loft like feel to it so I was inspired by that. It brings back my New York days.

Favorite Element: My favorite element of the house is that it is really open and light. There are skylights and big windows and doors, so it feels very indoor/outdoor. I love throwing all the windows and doors open all year round.

Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge was hoisting my 12' dining table up and over the top deck. No easy feat, but well worth it!

What Friends Say: My friends love the house because of the open kitchen. We all love to cook and have great gatherings around my table and in the garden. All the dogs love it too!

Biggest Embarrassment: Hmm, probably the biggest embarrassment is a drawer in the kitchen that can't open because of the Ikea sink – when I changed the sink out it blocked it by an inch. Everyone tries to open it!

Proudest DIY: My proudest DIY – there are many. I am a big DIY girl. Maybe it was when I was in a time crunch with family coming to stay and I managed to get a queen size mattress and box spring downstairs and my sectional sofa upstairs – ALONE! It took a while, and I laughed a lot.

Biggest Indulgence: My biggest indulgence, hmmm, probably my garden. I absolutely love working in my garden and eating the things I grow. But it is perhaps a little indulgent given the current drought conditions in California. I try to off set it in other ways.

Best Advice:

Best advice I was given was to get a sonos stereo system. It changed my life. It is so important to have good music and that system makes it so easy. I have speakers in every room.

Best advice I can give – make your environment beautiful and happy today! Not tomorrow or next month. It is so important to wake up every day and see things that make you happy. It's not about having expensive things, it's about getting rid of anything that creates a negative response in you and making your space feel alive and clear. Little things like cut flowers or just clearing up the clutter will alter your mood and make the world a better place!

Dream Sources: My dream source would have to be Paris – honestly I would go once a month if I could. Locally, I shop all over and these days it is so easy to see something online or in a magazine and find it with a little online research. I am constantly finding new things from so many different sources. Part of it is that I am always looking.

Resources of Note:


  • The house is in a basic white from Home Depot, but for my clients my go-to paint stores are Farrow&Ball and Portola Paints.




  • My Dining table is from Big Daddy Antiques

    Eames chairs from DWR

    Folding chairs are flea market finds

    Sofa is Gervasoni from Malibu Market


  • Counter top and sink are IKEA

    Shelves are reclaimed wood from E&K Wood


  • My bed is from Gervasoni at Malibu Market

    Lamp is classic Floss arco

    Drapery is linen from Diamond Foam&Fabric

    Sheets are from Merci Merci in Paris

Thanks, Olivia!

(Images: Marcia Prentice)

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