Playa Vista - Open Living Area

I can finally sit down and give you a few more details about the Playa Vista project now that its been on Domino. I want to start with the main living area which entails a grand sized kitchen, the dining area, and the living room. Its the main reason my clients chose this house. For the generous space alone.


The kitchen is simply divine. Just look at that huge island. The house is a new construction where the developers had a very fixed idea about modifications - there are NONE. So as soon as the keys were turned over to my clients we got busy personalizing the home by replacing a lot of fixtures  and adding many customized personal touch to make it feel more special. 


It hurt part of my soul to swap out perfectly good brand new fixtures with newer ones, but the space would have felt pretty blah if we hadn't and the contractor was able to take a lot of it for reuse on other projects. The kitchen cabinets are traditional so we added some youthful pep with brushed brass modern handles, oversized bronze pendants over the island, the bikini stools, and the antique Persian runner. Salvaged wood accessories and plants, bohemian textiles added warmth and texture to the very white space as well.


We really wanted the island to be  a welcoming spot where family and friends frequently gather so the stools were chosen for their style and comfort. The last details were all considered, even the place settings.


Moving into the dining area, we added a built in banquet with drawers for toy storage, lots of ethnic pillows piled high, and black Eames chairs to coordinate with the bikini stools nearby. Comfort and functionality were taken into consideration. We pushed the dining nook against the wall so that the kids would have open floor space to play on that beautiful Indian rug.


Can we just talk about the oversized textile art?! Its a framed black and white Senegalese fabric that is simply stunning in that scale.


Moving into the living room, lots of custom features had to happen to make it work. The first was building a custom fireplace face out of cement hex tiles and a salvaged wood mantel to house the gas fireplace insert. Figuring out how the geometry of the tiles would lay out and overseeing the install was a nail biter.


The second thing we had to work out was a sectional that would be extra cushy, extra deep, extra long and fit the space perfectly.  Clad Home was awesome to collaborate with. We had a unique idea to have an ottoman that could be pushed against the sofa to make it into a sectional, or stand alone as an ottoman. With a walnut table straddling it for placing drinks, THAT could also stand alone as its own piece. Clad Home was able to make this and to very high quality standards. Its a beast, a beautiful beast.


We looked for floor cushions for weeks and couldn't find the right color combinations or global style. So we made our own from African mud cloth. And those tie into the throw pillows and baskets throughout the house.


See that coffee table? Its terrific, but its the third one we tried in the space. We tried wood and other metal alternatives but when something is wrong, it feels wrong. Once this guy got into the space, it was like trying on Cinderella's glass slipper. A perfect fit.


We were able to reuse my clients' existing credenza and Venetian mirror as the entry console. Styled up very pretty it fits into the home's new aesthetic.


Next up, the bedrooms upstairs....

Playa Vista on Domino

Happy Day! The project I completed at Playa Vista this summer just made Domino Magazine and I couldn't be more elated. Domino has been a source of inspiration for me for years and years and I am pleased as punch they thought my work was worthy. 

Now that the "reveal" is official, I can start blogging away about the different areas of this gorgeous house. I will break it up over the course of the coming week. For now, you can get all the dirt over at Domino's site

Design for Fundraising

My son attends Ocean Charter School which provides the equivalent of a private Waldorf education for free. Its a truly magical environment for him and us. Since it is a public school and their goals quite lofty, they require a good deal of fundraising throughout the year. One way I can contribute to the school is by donating a room design to the annual silent auction.  I figured to pay it forward and share the boy's room I designed with you, along with the sources.

The budget was very limited to under $1000. The little boy who occupies this room told me he wanted his room to be "raccoon". That's it. That's all I got to his mom's horror: "raccoon". Um, okaaay. She pulled together very Scandinavian images of black and white kids rooms. No problem. I pulled the color scheme of raccoon - black and white and created an inexpensive new scheme to make them both content. 

I started with recommending to paint the existing white walls with a dark grey or black lower portion. Either the lower half in a straight line or a jagged semi mountainess graphic. Something like Oh Joy's nursery. Then bring in the Ikea Kura lofted bed, and for extra points paint it grey and build an A frame out of 2x4s to create a playful feel, inspired by this Ikea hackBelow the lofted bed, you can create a hang out area with a low black Eames style rocking chair and a super plush sheepskin throw rug.

To break up the stark black and whites I recommended a vintage midcentury wood dresser, with curved styling. The wood tones will add warmth and the vintage aspect works with the budget. I'm assuming they could luck out on Craigslist. The ceiling light will be swapped out with the matte black industrial style flush mount light, perfect for the abuse it might take in a boy's room. Finally some actual raccoon imagery by way of a pillow and framed print. The triangle wall decals can be installed near the bed and relate to punk feel of the print.

If you like what you see, ask me about e-design. 

Noteworthy 12

Happy Friday.  I have two recent photo shoots to share with you soon, very soon. For now, I will leave you with my recent collection of noteworthy links. You can thank me later and have a wonderful weekend.

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1) I dig the cute graphics from Honey & Bloom 2) Lovely Brooklyn home tour; this lady seems to trip into a charmed life. Jealous. 3) Someone sure understands how to bring greenery into a minimalist contemporary interior via Inside Out 4) OMG! That rope railing 5) Honey & Bloom also makes jewelry. How do you choose? 6) Another super cool Brooklyn home via Lonny, the epicenter of cool clearly 7) Have you found Sole Society yet? I have bought two pairs of shoes from them already online. Awesome style, nice fit, great prices. All of their booties are just too good. And now they have a store in Santa Monica 8) This minimal wood and leather hook is beyond "me"

Ellendale Update

Its been about a year and half since Ellendale opened to its student residents near USC and a cool addition has made an appearance. A custom graffiti mural in the courtyard.


And I don't think you ever glimpsed the completed pool area and lounge. Look to your right. How ridiculous is this set up for its student residents?!


Back to School: Student Housing Modern Victorian

A second SC Student Housing rental property wrapped up by mid August in time for the returning students to occupy it. This one is a massive Victorian that used to be a grand single family home at the turn of the last century, but if you know the West Adams neighborhood near USC you know what sad state a lot of these old houses are in now. My clients came in to bring it back to life. It needed to be modernized while maintaining its historic sensibilities. 


There is a lot of wood paneling and trim throughout that was left unfinished and dark. Immediately I knew it needed to be painted. Its hard to commit to painting wood because once you do there is no going back. The guys were skeptical but after it was done they saw how much it brightened the gloomy spaces and were happy we painted it all.


The kitchen is large. It was obvious to me that Shaker style cabinets were called for to tie it back to its traditional roots, yet still maintain the clean lines I prefer. Even with the Victorian notes, I wanted to make the kitchen feel edgy and different. I used crazy graphic hex tile in black, white, and gray, then had the lower cabinets painted dark gray  and bright white for the upper cabinets. With matte black hardware and plumbing fixtures. 


I have been working with the boys to develop a certain branded look for all their properties in the past couple of years. Different colored upper and lower kitchen cabinets is one part of it, the requisite black chalkboard wall, funky tile, and the white subway tile with black grout are all components of the SCSH branded look. The idea is that when students are shopping around for housing, the SCSH properties stand out consistently. Without fail, we used the subway tile with black grout in the bathrooms. For bathroom flooring I referenced both the large kitchen hex tile and old timey Victorian tile by using small black and white hex mosaic tile. With almost black walls and black fixtures, the bathrooms feel traditional and modern at the same time. Quite jarring yet fun juxtaposition.


I think we did a pretty good job with a little (ok...a lot of) paint and inexpensive tile, as well as unique fixtures to create a very cool housing situation that honors its Victorian roots. 


Nothing has given me as much dollhouse related joy as the dollhouse reno by @littlelinzi on Instagram. This dollhouse will blow your mind. Its not antique twee preciousness. Its boho modern living defined and I can't help but squeal every time there is a new post. This crafter has nailed every Pinterest related hipster trend out there with a sly wink: dip dyed indigo bedding, hanging chairs, tree stump side tables, tassle garlands, subway tile, woven wall hangings, and lovingly pokes fun at our style obsessed lifestyles.

Is there such a thing as wishing I lived in Maddie's dollhouse? It's where I want to be right now. 

Back to School: Student Housing Duplex

Just in time for the USC fall semester to commence, I wrapped up another project with SC Student Housing. This is a new construction duplex meant to be used as student housing rentals. What's great about the guys at SCSH is that I have been working with them as their sole designer on any new project since I launched Veneer, and there is a level of trust and communication there that is very special. Also because we are looking at rentals with a yearly turnover, the guys are cool with experimenting with new design ideas and materials. Why not? 

With that in mind, and continuing a certain branded look we have been developing for the past few years, I tried out walnut flat front cabinetry with black countertops and black walls for the kitchens. Intense yet handsome.

I took the location of the bar height counter where I imagine students will eat in, view TV, and work on laptops to do matte black Tom Dixon inspired pendant lights.  


And you will notice that I carried the black accents throughout the house, like painting the doors glossy black as well.


The other kitchen is almost a mirror image of the first kitchen, with the same design elements for consistency and fairness.


Things got a little crazy in the bathrooms. We were itching to try an idea where 3x6 mirror tiles would be installed amongst ceramic white subway tile and aggregate to create the vanity mirror. A few random mirror tiles would work their way into the shower stall to keep it interesting. Of course, the vanity would be a floating version of the kitchen cabinets. 


The mirror tile element was very specific and we only used it as the "show" element in the downstairs bathrooms. Upstairs we kept things simple for budget reasons but jazzed it up with dark purple paint.

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The bedrooms are simple as well and designed to allow 2 or even 3 occupants. They are large and on the upper floors have quirky little nooks and angled ceilings to add a lot of architectural interest to the plain almost monastic accommodations. What I think is the smartest thing we did was install wood grain porcelain floors throughout. From the kitchens, into the bedrooms, and even the bathrooms - they provide the look of wide plank white oak floors but with incredible durability and the continuity feels very high end.


Another cool property in the world of student housing has entered the scene. This is nothing like the sad drab student housing that you and I experienced. There is actually a second property I worked on concurrently that I will post photos of soon.