In 2008 these Santa Monica, California, homeowners worked with their architects to build a minimalist, modern home. Several years later they still loved their custom home, but they thought it could be cozier and more touchable. They hired an interior design team to take their rooms to a new, warmer level.
Houzz at a Glance Who lives here: A landscape architect, her husband and their son Location: Santa Monica, California Size: 3,500 square feet (325 square meters); 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms
Interior designers Krista Schrock and David Dick of Disc Interiors picked up the design reins last year. To fully understand why they added earthy, touchable elements and nature-based colors to the pure white spaces, you have to know that the woman in the house is a landscape designer and her husband is an avid surfer who works at a nonprofit dedicated to restoring Santa Monica Bay. “They wanted us to bring in more natural elements, to make the spaces warmer and more approachable,” says Dick.
The living room illustrates the strategy — a metal sunburst hangs over furniture done in watery shades of blue and a nubby Moroccan rug. Rustic elements such as the stone-topped coffee table and pottery accessories on the shelves turn up the visual temperature several degrees.
“We sometimes like to work with opposites,” says Dick. “We were working with something that was new, white and minimal. We added elements that are the opposite: vintage, brass, glass, ceramics and touches of black — we’ve always thought a bit of black sharpens up almost any room.”
Metal sculpture: vintage Curtis Jeré; sofa: custom; coffee table: Lawson-Fenning
The designers created a custom light fixture that is like a large mobile. The black and brass light breaks up the boxiness of the room.
Given the home’s modernist nature, it’s no surprise that it has been the backdrop for several Design Within Reach catalog photo shoots. The armchair is, in fact, a DWR piece the couple owns. “We wanted to avoid the cliché of midcentury furniture in a modern house, so we re-covered the chair in a pinstripe fabric,” says Dick.
Most of the seating is now directed toward the garden, seen through the large glass doors. The sofa was moved to face the garden, and the other armchair is a swivel chair, which allows its occupant to swing around and take in the view. “Because she is a landscape designer, the rooms are all about the gardens,” says Dick. “The colors we chose were a counterbalance to the beautiful greens outside.”
The couple likes to cook, and the kitchen was done to their liking. The designers added a new dimension by installing two large mica globe lights over the island. “They are a big, strong statement,” says Dick. “They are different sizes, which makes them playful and fun, and the mica shades make a beautiful, warm glow in the room.”
Light fixtures: Robert Lewis Studio; bar stools: Thomas Hayes Gallery
The watery look picks up again in the dining room, where the designers used patterned curtains to create a kind of floor-to-ceiling artwork. “They make for a bold moment,” says Dick. “Every room should have one.”
Curtain fabric: Kelly Wearstler for Lee Jofa; light fixture: HD Buttercup
The master bedroom received a similar treatment, with a grasscloth accent wall, a highly textured rug and a striped throw on the bed. “We believe that most rooms should be restful,” says Dick. “We made this bedroom peaceful and classic. We feel that it’s current, but it also has a timeless feel.”
One of the keys is the grass cloth, a material Dick says gives the room definition and quietly grounds it. The striped textile throw and the large rug, made of pieces of vintage carpets, give a bolder punch of pattern. “Having a big rug is important when you want to make a room feel cozy,” says Dick.
Bed: Design Within Reach; bed upholstery: Kelly Wearstler for Lee Jofa; striped throw: Hollywood at Home
The media room has a dramatic, branchy sconce (positioned over and behind the sofa so no one walks into it) and a striking collection of framed auction paddles. “You do want every room to have a moment, but you don’t want too many moments,” says Dick. The other elements, done in earthy hues, make a quieter statement.
Architects: John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects (JFAK) Interior designers: Disc Interiors