Before and After: A Bright and Airy L.A. Home With Major Boho Vibes
With sun-drenched days almost year-round, balmy temperatures that hover around 70° Fahrenheit, and the slight taste of salt in the coastal breeze, who wouldn’t want to bring California into their homes? Los Angeles–based interior designer Amber Lewis of Amber Interiors has made it her signature, infusing this quintessential laid-back elegance into her bright, texture-rich homes with major bohemian vibes. If you need proof, check out her other work and join the fan club. Her latest project, a two-bedroom, three-bathroom townhouse overlooking L.A.’s popular Venice Beach, is the embodiment of Lewis’s “California eclectic” style: clean and cool, with a mix of modern and vintage accents, layers of texture, and earthy colors. Want to see more? Scroll down to learn how Lewis worked with her clients to create this edgy, hip, and inspiring space and why it was her biggest challenge. Be sure to slide across each image to witness the amazing before-and-after transformations for yourself.
Despite being built in 2008, the home’s architectural style had a “’90s-era vibe with a very square and modern feel,” says Lewis, which meant that there were “a bunch of builder-grade materials” that needed an urgent upgrade. In fact, Lewis’s personal goal for the space was to “update, update, update” and turn the dial way up on the brightness and tone of the space.
The best part about this project was the “complete blank slate” she had to work with. Despite a tight budget, Lewis pulled together a creative mix of “vintage and inexpensive custom where possible.” She fell in love with the canvas and leather safari chairs in the living room. “They were the biggest splurge in the house, and I kinda want to steal them back, ha!” she said. But she’s especially smitten with the layered rugs in this room. “It was the perfect space to do this trick in, because we had a funky shaped room, and because of the budget, I found numerous smaller rugs and layered them together,” she said.
Even with the home’s close proximity to the beach, Lewis’s clients “weren't really the typical beachy, blue, and seashells type,” so the color palette was kept neutral with a sprinkling of army greens, sandy tones, blacks, leathers, and reds to add some earthy elements.
Lewis made some major renovations including a complete makeover of the master bathroom. “There was a giant Jacuzzi tub and a super-small shower, so we removed the tub, made the shower bigger, made a new custom vanity, and inset medicine cabinets so we had more storage,” she said. “In all the bathrooms, I redid the vanities and retiled [the floors].”
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No project is without its fair share of challenges, but with this one, it was everything. “I feel like every designer has a project that really pushes your patience and tests your limits,” she said. “If it didn't turn out so pretty, I would have probably not wanted to revisit!” But through adversity comes growth, and there were numerous lessons learned that pushed her even further as a creative and as a businesswoman. “The huge lesson I learned here is to always manage client’s expectations, and to make sure you actually trust your tradesmen to do their jobs,” she adds. “I took a lot away from this job. I now run a tighter ship when remodeling or taking on smaller projects, and tend to make managing clients’ expectations a number-one priority.”