Designer: Irene Lovett of designstiles
Location: Santa Monica, California
Size: 375 square feet (35 square meters)
Homeowners’ request. “The home is Mediterranean style, and the clients wanted to have a modern aesthetic while playing into the California casual lifestyle,” designer Irene Lovett says. “We went for a light, bright and cozy feel.”
Special features. Large custom sectional covered in indoor-outdoor fabric. Custom side chair. Wool herringbone-pattern rug. Clay lamps. Iron cocktail table in a nickel finish. “The room is pretty neutral, so it was important to bring in lots of textures to keep the room from feeling flat and one-dimensional,” Lovett says. “Altogether it feels layered and relaxed while still looking refined and inviting.”
Designer tip. “People tend to want to place their sofas right against the wall,” Lovett says. “I always try to float the sofa a bit and give the sofa some breathing room. Here, we didn’t have floor outlets or any eye-level lighting. Incorporating table lamps allows for mood lighting and ambiance. We placed a console behind the sofa to bring in large-scale lamps, which also helped fill in the negative space between the sofa and the bottom of the windows.”
Designer: Gabriela Gargano of Grisoro Designs
Location: Southampton, New York
Size: 400 square feet (37 square meters)
Homeowners’ request. “This is actually my own development project, so I was both the client and the designer,” designer Gabriela Gargano says. “My vision for the home was to turn this petite 1950s bungalow into a warm yet contemporary home that had plenty of entertaining space, comfortably accommodates eight guests and felt chic in both summer and winter months.”
Special features. White linen love seat. Jute rug. Crisp white walls (Delicate White by PPG Paints). Bleached and whitewashed floors. Nesting coffee tables. “We stuck to white, taupe, black and oak as the core theme and layered in some cool blues and natural tones for warmth and contrast,” Gargano says. “I think the art plays a big role in adding character to the space,” which “feels light and summery without being overtly beachy.”
Designer tip. “I often like to paint the ceiling, walls and trim one color to disguise lower ceilings,” Gargano says. “I think this worked really well to freshen the space up and also allow for a nice backdrop for our light taupe cabinets in the kitchen. The inverse — taupe walls and white cabinets — felt too traditional.”
Designer: Laura Greig and Sara Richards of The Habitat Collective
Location: Parkland, Florida
Size: 266 square feet (25 square meters); 15 by 17 feet
Homeowners’ request. A relaxing, beautiful, inviting and comfortable living room that offers plenty of seating for watching movies with family and entertaining friends.
Special features. Light gray walls (Agreeable Gray by Sherwin-Williams). Sofas with washable covers. Woven Roman shades. White drapes. Kid-friendly coffee table with rounded edges — “to avoid any collisions with sharp edges,” says designer Laura Greig, whose clients found her through the Houzz pro directory.
Designer tip. “We used two different yet complementary sofas in this space to give it a more casual vibe,” Greig says. “The trick is to select sofas with complementary but not matching shapes. Both styles in this space have clean, classic lines — think square arms, slimmer silhouettes, minimal detailing — but the gray sofa features a gorgeous wooden base and legs, while the beige love seat features a simple, tailored slipcover.”
“Uh-oh” moment. “Following our final design presentation, our clients absolutely loved the design and were excited to move forward, but needed to reduce the overall budget for the space,” Greig says. “We wanted to be sure that this space would still function well for our clients, so didn’t want to skimp on things like kid-friendly upholstery and a durable coffee table. Instead, we strategically resourced smaller or less used pieces, like the TV console and accent chairs, to bring the costs down while maintaining the integrity of the design.”
Designer: Cathy Kert
Location: Orleans, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod
Size: 560 square feet (52 square meters); 19 feet by 29½ feet
Homeowners’ request. A coastal-style space that would be durable, bright and comfortable, with plenty of seating for lots of activities.
Special features. Soft ocean-inspired color palette. Durable fabrics. Wood beams and wall. “We wanted this room to reflect the colors of the Atlantic Ocean just steps outside the house,” designer Cathy Kert says. “There is room for visiting, napping, reading, playing games or doing puzzles; a little wet bar with a serving area for appetizers on the console table; and two reading nooks.”
Designer secret. “The mix of textures really adds to the coastal feeling in the room — linens, wool, cotton throws, rattan and glass accents,” Kert says.
“Uh-oh” moment. “The dark wood on the fireplace wall and dark beams were challenging in keeping with a coastal vibe,” Kert says. “Ultimately, the contrast was very beachy and the wood anchored the room.”
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