Beverly Hills Courier
Beverly Hills Courier
Beverly Hills Courier

Design

Home Design in Style

During the last 18 months our world has changed: jobs, families and the way in which we use our homes.

BY Carole Dixon November 18, 2021
Home Design in Style
A room fit for a pasha provides luxurious comfort. Martyn Lawrence Bullard

During the last 18 months our world has changed: jobs, families and the way in which we use our homes. Upgrading and expanding our residences has taken on new meaning, as homes became offices. Kitchens now have added importance, as have outdoor areas, for socially distant gatherings. While other businesses have slowed down, interior designers have never been in higher demand. 

The Courier spoke to some of the world’s best known interior design experts who make sure the homes of Tom Ford, Courtney Cox and the Kardashian clan are Architectural Digest ready. We asked about trends they are excited about and advice as to the most important rooms to invest in now.

Martyn Lawrence Bullard

British-born interior designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard has graced the covers of every major home décor-design magazine and is internationally known for jet-set clients and chic boutique hotels from Palm Springs to Mexico. Currently working on homes for Tommy Hilfiger, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Ellen Pompeo—all while finishing the Four Seasons Residences Los Angeles—the “A.D.100” and Elle Décor “A-List” designer just launched a new collection with The Shade Store.

What’s a pertinent piece of advice that you can give a client wanting to upgrade or enlarge their surroundings at this time?

I think it’s very important for a client to really think about what they want and need from their homes today. After spending almost 18 months at home, we have learned what our spaces mean to us and how we use them. A dining room, for example, may now function as an office, the kitchen as a Zoom studio, etc. So, when thinking about upgrading to a bigger home or even extending the one you’re in, think about how you want to use the spaces, and do you really need to expand to cover all your needs or just rethink the spaces you have?

Can one space function as two; do you need specific rooms to function in different ways than the way they did traditionally or do traditionally functioning rooms now have multi-function and need to be easily transformable? These are all questions to ask yourself before moving to a bigger space as that bigger space may not actually really be needed.

Bring nature home. Martyn Lawrence Bullard

Adding a bar for guests is a must. Tracie Butler

Since we are spending so much time at home, what brings people the most pleasure?

Comfort is the recipe for modern luxury. It is our ultimate pleasure. Comfortable furniture, sheets, towels, rugs, all the basic luxuries that delight all the senses. Don’t just buy for looks, but for ultimate personal comfort levels that make you happy.

What do you believe to be the most important area of the home for resale value?

Without a doubt: the kitchen. The primary bathroom and primary bedroom are all crucial selling points too. They are the areas we imagine ourselves living in. They are the fantasy areas that create the biggest emotional response in most of us.

What has been new and exciting for you in home interior design? Any new inventions or trending ideas for a refresh of the home?

The return to color and pattern is a strong trend. People are embracing joy in their interiors; they want freshness and they want it to feel exciting. Colored, painted walls and specialized finishes like lacquer are becoming commonplace, and the use of wallpaper is very fashionable. It’s the easiest way to add personality to your spaces and create individual stylish interiors. Be bold, decorate with abandon, never follow trends, instead make them!

Tracie Butler

Since opening her design firm in 2001, native Angeleno Tracie Butler has traveled the world designing homes, and even restaurants for Hollywood’s top talent including Eva Longoria. Butler studied architecture at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she came to appreciate art. She is currently working on homes in the flats of Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Malibu, London (through drawings and Zoom calls), along with a private unit in the Fairmont Century Plaza’s new residential towers.

What’s new and exciting in interior design? Any new inventions or trending ideas for a refresh of the home?

Things are getting better in L.A., and it feels positive. All my young clients in their 20s are obsessed with bringing nature into their homes right now. They can’t have enough plants. They’re in every corner and on every piece of furniture—even hanging from racks in the kitchen. It makes it feel homey. I’ve even done digital flowers on wall coverings. Those ‘70’s built-in planters in entryways are even coming back, along with hanging ferns in macramé holders.

What’s a pertinent piece of advice that you give a client wanting to upgrade or enlarge their surroundings at this time?

Be patient. Orders that used to take a few hours now take a few months. We present a client with a plan, but when it’s time to place the order, items have been discontinued, or won’t be in stock for a year. Ninety percent of my goods are from Europe, and we can’t get what we want or have to wait. Italy was hit the hardest and they make so many of our fabrics, textiles, and chandeliers! But I tell my clients, ‘It will get done, it will be flawless and will increase the value of your property.’

What is the most important area of the home for resale value?

Raise the ceilings —it gets people’s attention. Though the kitchen and great room are paramount because families are spending so much time at home. Equally important are bars and movie theatres. There is a huge resurgence of home entertaining.

Don’t forget the entryway. I feel like it sets the tone of your whole house, and you can’t neglect it. You want people to come in and immediately get that emotional connection. I always try to do a beautiful entry no matter what the size or ceiling height; it’s really good for resale. So many people spend their money in the other rooms, but the immediate impact and value is equally important.

A round table in the living room allows for work or dining. Tracie Butler

Kitchens now accommodate a multitude of tasks from homework to zooming. Ryan Saghian

Since we are spending so much time at home, what brings people the most pleasure?

My number one request is for cozy and comfortable spaces. Number two is setting up stylish home offices that look good for Instagram and Zoom. Interesting wallpaper or a space where they can film in front of a beautiful backdrop are frequent requests. Clients are buying virtual backdrops, but I say let’s just do the real thing so you can live in it and enjoy it.

Outside they all want really amazing landscaping so they feel comfortable having guests in the backyard. Indoor-outdoor living space with a fireplace and outdoor kitchens are great additions but done in a way where they are connected to the houses—not removed. Out by the pool is a no-no. If they don’t have a loggia, and there is no place to create it, we build a pergola.

Ryan Saghian

Ryan Saghian is a recognized talent leading a new wave of millennial designers. He has become a social media sensation with his raw, but at the same time, refined sensibilities. His fluency in vintage Hollywood styles can be seen at his flagship showroom, Ryan Saghian Home on Robertson Boulevard. Since opening in 2016, he has introduced a line of couture furniture, wall coverings, dinnerware, a luxury rug collection and most recently a tile collection in partnership with DOMVS Surfaces. His work has been featured in Elle Decor, Architectural Digest, Vogue, House Beautiful, Robb Report and Traditional Home.

What’s new and exciting in interior design? Any new inventions or trending ideas for a refresh of the home?

For decades people have used paint to alter a room’s mood and vibe. You can transform a room just by changing the color and texture of the walls. Right now, I am seeing a huge trend with plastered walls and my personal favorite is Roman Clay by Portola paints. They have taken the classic Venetian plaster concept and made it moodier and more organic.

What’s a pertinent piece of advice you give a client wanting to upgrade or enlarge their surroundings at this time?

Most people tell you to go brighter and lighter to make the space look more expansive, but I do the opposite. I think that darker walls and darker furniture give an element of mystery, and the room starts to feel like it’s bigger than it actually is.

Since we are spending so much time at home, what brings people the most pleasure?

In Los Angeles, it’s outdoor living spaces. I cannot tell you how many clients called me for outdoor furniture and accessories, so they can take advantage of the California weather! Additionally, people started caring much more about their bedrooms rather than focusing on areas most seen by guests.

What do you believe to be the most important area of the home for resale value?

The kitchen: hands down! Specifically, appliances. An upgraded kitchen with all the bells and whistles available from leading manufacturers is a major plus. Aesthetics can always be tweaked with minimal cost, but appliances are a major investment. When a home offers the state of the art, it’s a major selling point.

Game room means everyone plays at home. Ryan Saghian

Kathy Ireland

Kathy Ireland graced the covers of hundreds of glossy magazines as an international supermodel long before she opened her global design business in 1993. Her solely owned company began at the family kitchen table and is now the highest-ranking woman-owned licensing business in American history.

She is the youngest person to be elected to the Licensing International Hall of Fame, and the IHFRA, International Home Furnishings Representatives Association, is bestowing the prestigious Icon Award on the designer.

What’s new and exciting in home interior design? Any new inventions or trending ideas for a refresh of the home?

We’re seeing major shifts in how furniture is scaled for the way people are living today. More than ever before, rooms must be multi-purpose. Our job is to help families and parents designate specific family and work areas.

We’re seeing exciting color palettes with Pantone’s colors of the year in 2021 from the brilliant Illuminating Yellow to the complimentary and calming Ultimate Grey. Another perfect example of a relaxing tone is Benjamin Moore’s color of the year for 2022, October Mist.

Comfort at home is important right now. Kathy Ireland

What’s a pertinent piece of advice that you give a client wanting to upgrade or enlarge their surroundings at this time?

Determine your own personal style. For me, that is always the starting place with every client. Be inspired by your travels—what do you remember from a trip? Was it a warm leather chair? A crisp white flokati rug?

Please, test your paint color before you commit! Put samples on your walls. Understand how the light will impact it. Do you have high ceilings? That will make a difference. We all know the colors that make us feel calm or stress us. Be flexible. If you love a dining room table for 12 and you don’t have room for it, expand or change your space. Or live with the usual table for six and clear out some furniture.

Anything we can do to make our homes feel bigger will be increasingly important, as 70 percent of our population will be living in smaller spaces by 2050. One vital design principle is an ancient tradition—find an area rug design that you love and make it your color palette. For example, if it’s blue, we know that metallics and whites will be complimentary. Another maxim in the design industry: shiny, fat, tall and matte. Make sure that a room includes an element of each something shiny and eye-catching, hefty and centered, tall and room expanding, and calming matte.

Since we are spending so much time at home, what brings people the most pleasure?

The word we keep coming back to is balance! Having special places in the home for family time, work, school for the kids, eating and relaxation is critical. Decorators may put together a beautiful space, though designers will ensure that it is functional for your family’s needs. We bring comfortable, functional, stylish and fun products and interiors to our customers’ homes—from our Home and Garden collections with Twin Star, to our Home and Office collections with Bestar Bush Furniture.

What is the most important area of the home for resale value?

Remodels, renovations, and simple upgrades that won’t break the bank can make such a significant difference and bring recaptured value to our homes. Colorful window treatments, coordinated throw pillows, and fresh door and cabinet hardware will give an entirely different look on a very reasonable budget and without days of effort. Recently we turned a non-descript, dated kitchen into the epitome of European Country luxury, for less than $25,000. There are always ways to bring in a fresh style that will increase value, while utilizing and repurposing functional pieces.

While we’re home, keep things spacious. Trip Haenisch

Trip Haenisch

Trip Haenisch is an award-winning interior designer and author. He is known for combining refined aesthetics with a laid-back twist. The internationally acclaimed Haenisch designs have appeared in Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, Vogue and The New York Times, along with numerous coffee table books. His work has landed him in the coveted “A.D.100 List” and he was named one of The Hollywood Reporter’s “25 most influential Los Angeles-based interior designers.” His famous clients include Courteney Cox, Laura Dern, Molly Sims, Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher, celebrity hairstylist Chris McMillan, Netflix exec. Scott Stuber and William Morris Endeavor Co-CEO Patrick Whitesell.

What’s new and exciting in interior design? Any new inventions or trending ideas for a refresh of the home?

For me, trends are less interesting than the idea of timelessness. But I’ve been called a lot in the past couple of years to help executives who are redoing rooms for an office and Zoom meetings. Texture is more important to me than color and pattern. Now there’s an increasing number of textural and sculptural furniture available. I’m also seeing more of a maximalist approach to design.

I started doing development spec projects—one that is about to be sold on two acres in Malibu, and a project for producers Mary and Kathryn Bowen, who built a beautiful Spanish-style home. This is normally not my thing, but I was able to lighten it up with blonde floors.

What’s a pertinent piece of advice you give a client wanting to upgrade or enlarge their surroundings at this time?

For me making something pretty is not the challenge. What’s more challenging is creating a home with spaces that function. Nothing is worse. Why spend so much money on a room that no one goes into? Clients need to think about how they live. Are you missing something? What would solve that lack? Maybe it’s an outdoor area with a fire pit and a water element. Upgrading materials like floors can be expensive, but that is something you might choose to do. I started using a Sydney Harbor paint with a live component in it that creates this magical depth and looks so much better than standard paint. You could upgrade an entire room just by doing that.

Since we are spending so much time at home, what brings people the most pleasure?

A kitchen is really important to people. Individuals with bad kitchens don’t really experience home life as fully as they’d like to. For example, I have a really small house and kitchen, but I cut out a part of my wall and put in a counter that opens up to my living room. Now entertaining is so much more fun for me and my guests.

I remember going into Betsy Bloomingdale’s home years ago. She had an incredible house, but the kitchen was an afterthought. In those days, the only people in the kitchen were the staff. Now a gorgeous, exposed kitchen flowing into a family room is what we want. Homes are so open right now, but you also need a place to break away and have some privacy like a ‘man cave.’ Not to generalize, but women want their homes to be beautiful and functional, while for men, technology and comfort are critical. I frequently hear comments like ‘I just want a comfortable chair with my TV, talk to my wife about everything else.’

What is the most important area of the home for resale value?

Kitchens can turn potential buyers off if they’re not functional and appealing. I think resale value will be high if your home is welcoming. When a buyer walks in, they get a visceral reaction to the aesthetic. You appeal to the senses with music playing, scented candles, seeing a fire going. You want a visitor to feel like all they need to move in is their toothbrush. The primary bedroom is also very important, along with the bathroom and closets. I’ve seen beautiful homes, but a tiny closet can kill a sale quicker than anything.

Sienna Oosterhouse

Sienna Oosterhouse, who counts Tom Ford among her long-time clients, is a widely known Los Angeles-based interior designer whose inspiration is architecture. The Michigan native worked alongside Brad Dunning where she honed her technical skills. She works with clients throughout the U.S. and is currently immersed in projects in Beverly Hills, Palm Springs, Hancock Park and Montecito.

What’s new and exciting in home interior design? Any new inventions or trending ideas for a refresh of the home?

It has been a pleasure to see people really using their homes, finding ways to improve their personal environment. Many of my clients are doing remodels that had been put on the back burner for years. Rooms have become multifunctional, much more so then ever before. Everything from pizza ovens to pottery wheels are the new norm.

What’s a pertinent piece of advice you give a client wanting to upgrade or enlarge their surroundings at this time?

Make sure you have all your materials planned and secured. Supply is lower than usual, and shipping times have increased greatly. You don’t want to be stuck with a job half done because you don’t have the shower valve! You will have less chance for delays if you shop locally.

Powder rooms are a huge plus. Sienna Oosterhouse

Since we are spending so much time at home, what brings people the most pleasure?

It can be many things for different kinds of people. Cooking (and especially baking) has become very popular. Home gyms, golf simulators and even good old dance parties are now in our homes. A good music system is key. Sonos works well. Privacy is important too. Being able to get away from the outside world and be with your own family.

What is the most important area of the home for resale value?

That’s hard! The kitchen, bathrooms, storage, location, natural light are all crucial, but the kitchen ranks pretty high for most people. I do believe you will get more out of the sale with an updated kitchen over other upgrades in the home.

The right configuration makes a living room more welcoming and functional. Sienna Oosterhouse

The Final Word from a Local Expert

We also checked with Rayni Williams, owner of The Beverly Hills Estates and one of the region’s most acclaimed real estate professionals. Rayni and her partner, Branden Williams, have not only sold more than $8.6 billion in real estate, they represent a world-famous clientele as trusted advisors. Rayni summed up for the Courier her thoughts on what impacts a home’s value the most. “There are three major elements to a home that are the most important: the kitchen, family room and the primary closet,” she said. For the latter, “Dual closets are key, and in the primary bath dual water closets and sinks in the same area with a large, shared shower is what most couples want.”

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