To have to love series: Santa Monica Dwelling

I'm a total color addict. But this room really struck me with not only it's simplicity but also it's unique design elements. The designer, Carla Lane, didn't decide to do a lot of pattern or color. Instead she selected furniture pieces and art work that was full of interest and stunning in this simple living room. 

So how can we do that?

I'm going to break down what she did to make this well balanced room easier for us to replicate (and then try to figure out how to hang a mirror from my ceiling!). 

Photo courtesy of Carla Lane Interiors

Photo courtesy of Carla Lane Interiors

  1. A day bed in the living room is probably everyone's dream. It's functional as a bench for seating, but it's also a great nap place (always need more nap places). Instead of putting the normal arrangement of two chairs or another sofa across from her sofa, she incorporated a seating option that was different but still functional. I have a feeling there is side door behind the daybed and they didn't want to block the view from the sofa (This house is in CA, so it's probably pretty year round!). If you have a living room with patio doors that look outside and you're okay with the non-traditional route, I think this daybed is a lovely idea.
  2. This is only lighting in the room that I can see. I'm assuming that there is a pair of these sconces, on either side of the metal sculpture, to illuminate the room. What I love about these is that they come off the wall and aren't some spiky brass light. They have a simple iron curve that mimics the mirror and the iron coffee table, and their understated style fits the room perfectly. You don't have to have table lamps on your console- sconces are also a great choice. If you're renting, then you might have to stick with table lamps but the important thing is to decide if they are going to a focal point or let them blend in. If you want them to blend in, take your cue from these puppies and pick something that "connects" visually with other features of the room.
  3. I love the simplicity of this sofa. Since it's farther away from the windows (thus in shadow), on a dark sisal rug and there is a dark leather daybed across from it, the off-white light color not only contrasts against the dark but is needed to make that side of the room still seem light and bright. Whenever you have a number of darker pieces of furniture (wood included), it's helpful to have at least one prominent piece that is lighter to balance it out.
Photo courtesy of Carla Lane Interiors

Photo courtesy of Carla Lane Interiors

  1. I'm simply drooling over this table. Where do you find something like this?! I am sure it's some exclusive to-the-trade-only type of table. I have tried looking for it and can't find it. So if you do, let me know! However, why does this table work so well? First, the iron material contrasts in color and texture with the white rug and the white sofa. In a room full of neutrals, contrast is your best friend and you have to find ways to make things pop without using color. The nailhead detail and fact that it's open on the sides just makes it more unique. If you want a neutral palette like this one, use contrasting materials to make the room have more interest. If it's all white/off white and in the same materials, the room will probably look uninteresting and boring.
  2. What type of art do you put in a room like this? There are many different pieces that would have all looked great. The reason why this particular piece works is that it's metal- which is a consistent theme in this room- and because it's delicate shape looks beautiful against the white background. It's not fussy and it's a calming image. Both qualities only enhance the feeling of the room and make you feel at rest. 
  3. The pattern of this cow hide rug is gorgeous. I love how it's subtle change in color creates such an interest in the room. It's only in between the daybed and the sofa, so it grounds the space without having to be a huge rug. If you have a room similar in size to this one, layering rugs (the bottom one being a solid natural fiber, the top being an interesting and patterned one) is a great way to draw your attention to the center of the action without having to invest in a huge $10,000 rug. 
Photo courtesy of Carla Lane Interiors

Photo courtesy of Carla Lane Interiors

  1. Let's talk about that hanging mirror- WOW. It is really simple, but the part that makes it memorable is how it hangs from a chain from the ceiling. Such a little detail that has me in awe. When you are hunting for pieces in your space, don't be afraid to hunt until you find something like this. Something that has a really neat detail that is different and makes your home that much more special. Of course this can take time (which we don't always want to spend!), but little ways like the installation of this mirror, can take a room into the next level.
  2. What I love about this built-in is that the designer Carla created it. Built-in bookcases like this one save on floor space and be great extra storage. If you can't have a built-in like this one, a bookcase or an armoire (without doors) is a great way to have the same look. I also really liked how she created a focal point by adding a photo to the center of it. No matter how you style your bookcase, it can be nice to add a focal point (or two depending on it's width) to the center. Plus, it's a great way to incorporate art if you are limited on wall space. 
  3. Another detail that I love- that fireplace surround. If you're wondering what it is (like I was when I first saw it), it appears to be bronze sheet metal. I really like how the designer just let the area blend into the fireplace opening. She could have used a funky tile or brick or marble. Instead, she repeated a smooth dark metal that she uses throughout the design. Backsplashes in kitchens, bathroom floors and fireplace surrounds don't always have to be loud and splashy. It's all about the feeling of the room- and if you want it to be fun and exciting then a funky tile might be the perfect choice! But if you want a calmer looking space, this particular application could be a great option. 

Rooms like this one don't have to be unattainable. I think it's important to focus on what the designer does that makes the room so successful and then copy the ideas into our homes. That's the best part about seeing good design, right?

Letting it inspire you to try something similar in your own space. 

What is your favorite thing about this room? Do you feel confident you could copy some of the ideas?