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Traditional Meets Coastal Cool in This Designer's Home

living room with twin sofas
Amy Bartlam ; DESIGN: Michelle Dokey Interiors

Dating back to 1948, this classic Los Angeles home is the definition of California dreaming. Alana Sussan of Alana Alegra Interiors, whose grandmother owned the property beforehand, joined forces with interior designer Michelle Dokey Kirk of Michelle Dokey Interiors to give her classic family residence a modern upgrade. In an effort to combine Sussan's existing pieces passed down from her family with her own youthful style and personality, Kirk decided to approach this project with an open mind. As a result, there's a bit of everything, from bohemian accents to traditional furniture and even some midcentury details.

Instead of confining themselves to one specific style, Sussan and Kirk decided to create cohesion by sticking to a tight color palette of neutrals and paying extra-close attention to fabrics and finishes. Unsurprisingly, considering that Sussan is a professional upholsterer, the rich, unique fabrics are one of the home's highlights.

So if you're looking for some style guidance on how to mix new and old décor, or if you love traditional styles but want to add a touch of contemporary cool, then consider this L.A. abode your blueprint for design inspiration.

Take a tour through each room below to find out how to strike the balance between a well-curated space that will impress guests and a functional, approachable, and homey place fit for work and play.

Bright Bedroom Oasis

all-white bedroom
Amy Bartlam ; DESIGN: Michelle Dokey Interiors

Each piece in this room is simple and understated, yet as a whole, the room has a well-balanced and personalized feel to it. And that's precisely what we imagine when designing our dream bedroom. While the all-white bed creates a cozy refuge to ensure a well-rested sleep, the wide windows let the light flood in for a refreshing wake-up call in the morning. This primary suite also has direct access to an outdoor deck, which wouldn't be a bad place to enjoy an evening sunset with a glass of wine.

Primary Suite

The term “Primary Suite” is now widely used to describe the largest bedroom in the home with an en suite bath, as it better reflects the space’s purpose. Many realtors, architects, interior designers, and the Real Estate Standards Association have recognized the potentially discriminatory connotations in the term “Master.” Read more about our Diversity and Inclusion Pledge.

We particularly love how the vanilla-hued bed frame softens up the more traditional features in this room, like the nightstand and hardwood floors. The natural, delicate pleating is one of our favorite aspects of the entire home. It was upholstered by Sussan's company, which makes it even more special and personal.

metallic area rug
World Market Gray Metallic Woven Jute Alden Area Rug $50.00 $35.00

Pro Styling Tip: In minimalist or traditional spaces with neutral color palettes, metallic accents are a great way to bring in some subtle spunk without throwing the aesthetic off. Something like an area rug will do just the trick.

Charming Little Nook

bedroom nook with plants on stools
Amy Bartlam ; DESIGN : Michelle Dokey Interiors

You can definitely get a sense of the hybridity of boho chic and traditional styles in this detail shot of the guest bedroom. Kirk incorporates organic yet collected pieces and muted schemes to create a connected, well-curated vibe without appearing too matchy-matchy. We particularly love the playful stools styled with the traditional carpet and chest of drawers.

Serena & Lily Dip-Dyed Stools
Serena & Lily Dip-Dyed Stools $78.00

Pro Styling Tip: We love how a casual wooden stool can look instantly more unique with paint-dipped legs. They're the perfect way to introduce some plants for a finished look without feeling overly styled. 

Spa-Like Bathtub

bathroom with stand-alone tub
Amy Bartlam ; DESIGN: Michelle Dokey Interiors

Okay, now this is the kind of bathroom we could get used to it in our own homes. This was one of the few rooms in the house that went through a major renovation. Kirk tells us that they completely gutted out the primary bathroom to install these unique tiles in a black and aged-bronze color scheme. Plus, the white walls really enlarge the room, and along with the freestanding tub and glass shower, they create an open, airy atmosphere and minimize clutter.

Primary Bathroom

The term “Primary Bathroom” is now widely used to describe the largest bathroom in the home, as it better reflects the space’s purpose. Many realtors, architects, interior designers, and the Real Estate Standards Association have recognized the potentially discriminatory connotations in the term “Master.” Read more about our Diversity and Inclusion Pledge.

Pro Styling Tip: How do you make an already perfect bathroom even more luxe and relaxing than it already is? If you have a freestanding bathtub like this one, place a brass-and-glass side table next to it. Then stack it with a colorful orchid, a soothing fragrance diffuser, and your favorite book to enjoy next time you're in the tub.

Dreamy Double Sink

double sink in bathroom
Amy Bartlam ; DESIGN: Michelle Dokey Interiors

The first thing Kirk bought for this house was the Mosaic House tile in the primary bathroom. In fact, Kirk says, "It was our starting point and set the direction for everything else." It really anchors the entire bathroom, with each surrounding piece highlighting different elements, from the organic oval mirrors to the fresh white cabinets, gray countertop, and even the mauve flowers. "Every time I see that tile and the way it contrasts boldly against the whiteness of the rest of the bathroom, I smile," Kirk says.

Pro Styling Tip: Hanging two mirrors side by side above a double sink is a great way to create symmetry and cohesion, rather than placing one large rectangular mirror in the center. 

Family-Friendly Kitchen

kitchen with large counter
Amy Bartlam ; DESIGN: Michelle Dokey Interiors

The sleek concrete-hued countertops along with the gold hardware and crisp white walls work together effortlessly.

Rejuvenation Classic Flush Ceiling Fixture
Rejuvenation Classic Flush Ceiling Fixture $170.00

Pro Styling Tip: A simple flush light mount is a great way to make your kitchen feel approachable and casual if you're worried that an ornate light fixture like a chandelier or pendant will make your environment too dressy. We love this striped option for a fun, retro, and farmhouse feel.

Country-Style Dining Room

country style dining room
Amy Bartlam ; DESIGN: Michelle Dokey Interiors

"One of the things [Sussan] wanted to make sure to have in her home was a place where guests could stay comfortably if they were visiting," Kirk says. This dining room does a great job meeting those needs. With a rustic table base surrounded by timeless slipcovered chairs and a traditional pendant lamp, this dining room is the perfect canvas to grow with the home as Sussan's needs or style evolves over time. The dining chairs and table were actually some of the preexisting pieces that she and Kirk decided to recover and mix in with the newer items.

Restoration Hardware Hudson Roll-Back Slipcovered Side Chair
Restoration Hardware Hudson Roll-Back Slipcovered Side Chair $455.00

Pro Styling Tip: These laid-back linen dining chairs are a timeless style that will last you throughout the years. Opting for a darker tone will also be a great way to hide any spills or stains. 

Cozy and Collected Sitting Area

cozy sitting area
Amy Bartlam ; DESIGN: Michelle Dokey Interiors

It's not surprising that this sofa is the focal point of the living room considering that Sussan is a master upholsterer. Covered in a divine velvet gray fabric, this sofa is at once understated, elegant, transitional, and unique. The softness of all the fabrics makes this room all the more enticing to cozy up and enjoy an evening in. Though it stays true to the muted, neutral pallet of the rest of the home, this living room brings in splashes of color with the throw pillows and art. The gallery wall includes aged bronze frames, blush tones, navy hues, and light browns, which introduce an element of warmth.

throw pillow
Amber Interiors Rainer PIllow $325.00

Pro Styling Tip: Since throw pillows are an easy way to change things up at home, we suggest investing in one that can pack a lot of punch while also being transitional enough to work in a variety of rooms and environments.

An Approachable Living Room

living room with twin sofas
Amy Bartlam ; DESIGN: Michelle Dokey Interiors

We love how Sussan's living room is simultaneously ready for a close-up when the guests arrive but also remains comfortable enough for a day of lounging and snuggling up with a pile of pillows as you indulge in a movie marathon. The understated area rug is a great addition because it balances out the warm and cool colors while also making the room feel a touch cozier.

Anthropologie Pari Rattan Chair
Anthropologie Pari Rattan Chair $128.00

A rattan chair will immediately add character to any space, thanks to its whimsical shape and cheerful disposition.