Alexis Manfer is the founder of Alexis Manfer, Inc., a full-service national design firm specializing in residential and office interiors. With a degree in interior architecture from UCLA, Manfer brings more than 12 years of experience to her firm and has worked under some of design's biggest names, including Kelly Wearstler, Juan Pablo Molyneux, and Amanda Nisbet. Here, Manfer gives us a tour of her latest renovation: a total gutting of a beach bungalow in Los Angeles.
The best part about being a designer has to be helping a client's creative vision come to life. This particular project was a dream for that very reason—my clients knew exactly what they wanted. From the start, they expressed their desire to have a home in which they could entertain, one that struck the perfect balance between comfortable and practical. They couldn't have asked for a better start: a beautiful 1940s bungalow located in Santa Monica, California. There were tons of positives when it came to the location. It's close to the vibrant Main St. neighborhood with awesome restaurants and shops, and it's also super close to the beach. My primary goal going into this project was to make sure the design and floor plan represented my clients' own authentic, unique style. Keep reading for a look at the finished design.
This project was a complete gut renovation. You name it, we replaced it. Every cabinet, doorknob, door hinge, light fixture, drawer pull, appliance, sink, faucet, shower, door—absolutely everything was changed. We replaced the floors with seven-inch wood planks, changed many of the windows throughout, fit all new cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms, brought in new closet doors, new window treatments, and new furniture and accessories.
The living room coffee table is one of my favorite pieces in the home. I stumbled upon it while shopping in L.A. It’s a natural raw wood table that has such beautiful form and character. We used a lot of varying wood elements in this project, and they all came together beautifully. You might also notice a bold mix of throw pillows throughout the home. The pillows bring so much vibrancy and personality to each room. They add the unexpected pop of color, which really warms the space.
We knew we wanted white walls throughout the home because the color brings with it a crisp vibrancy. Bright hues were then sprinkled throughout with the inclusion of area rugs, chair fabric, accessories, throw pillows, and art. The clients especially liked items we showed them in blue, so we used this color palette in every room to tie the design together. The contrast between the rich blues and white walls added depth and character.
One of the biggest changes we made was opening up the kitchen. We knocked down the main wall and added a huge island that completely transformed the layout and feel of the space.
I love taking the client’s ideas and organizing them into a cohesive design. Tying together elements and colors is so important. It’s also crucial to space-plan so the end result has varying heights, textures, and proper proportions.
If I had to describe this house in three words I'd choose clean, bold, and fresh. To achieve this look we demolished all surface materials including the existing laminate floors, bathrooms, and the entire kitchen.
The first things we bought were the bathroom fixtures and fittings. We went bold by choosing bright gold fixtures, bringing a little shine to the restrooms.