Home is where the heart is. But for a California family returning to Los Angeles after seven years in Brooklyn, decorating a house in a way that captures the heart of both coasts was no small feat. They hired designer Sheena Murphy of Sheep + Stone, who approached the challenge with her evergreen mantra: “Live what you love.” Their renovated 1920s home reflects a love of both cities, residing perfectly in between the cool, modern neutrals of New York and California’s relaxed approach to bringing elements of the outdoors in.
Scroll for the full tour of this neutral, New York–meets–Los Angeles home.
Inspired by the family’s time in Brooklyn, Murphy fused a California casual-cool aesthetic with more industrial elements that evoke an Empire state of mind. “We took cues from the local landscape and design history and blended that inspiration with nods to Brooklyn in the form of artwork, locally made pieces, and materials that felt synonymous with NYC,” says Murphy. The home-office space is adorned by an artist’s rendering of the Empire State Building, and coffee table books in the bedroom provide photographic reminders of the city.
Murphy’s favorite part of the final design is the fusion created by bringing the outdoors in. Using strategically placed plants, well-framed windows, and outdoor greenery, Murphy expertly created spaces that feel natural and fresh. “No matter where you are in the house, you have a view of the luscious outdoors, and I love that each room feels connected to its surroundings in some way,” she remarks. Our favorite finishing touch is a pair of hanging plants in the living room, framing the large living room windows in recessed arches.
An expert in designing dimensional neutral spaces, Murphy mixed warms and cools with a relaxing palette of grays, browns, blacks, creams, and indigos. We love the layered textures in each room: the shine of brass and copper lighting, the roughness of unfinished wood furniture, the softness of linen bedding, and the patterns woven into area rugs. “Because I work so much with neutrals, I'm particularly sensitive to things like tone and material choices,” says Murphy. “Strong textures, mixed metals and woods, high-contrast tones, and a combination of warm and cool elements all help to develop interest and keep the eye moving around a room.”
The black trim throughout the home, an existing detail embraced by Murphy, yields high contrast to make moments within each room pop and reflects the approach of balancing old and new. “We tried to embrace the period features and industrial elements with the modern tendencies of the clients to create a home that felt authentic, comfortable and current,” she notes. As such, Murphy balanced geometric lines and smooth, rounded edges with eclectic furnishings in each room. Even the nursery showcases Murphy’s eye for shapes, with wall hangings and patterned pillows softened by blush moments.
The home nods to midcentury influence without feeling too retro, the intentional result of Murphy’s focus on building a timeless environment. “Combining periods and styles can help prevent interiors from feeling contrived,” states Murphy. “I strive to create homes that feel more authentically put together, focusing on the needs of the client and letting that drive design decisions just as much as aesthetics.”