Designing a model home or a staged property is a different beast than decorating for a client with specific tastes and requests, but it certainly has its challenges. When Los Angeles-based interior designer Kishani Perera was hired by a developer to remodel the interiors of a 1928 Spanish-style house in picturesque LA enclave Pacific Palisades, her goal was to “maintain the original character of the house, while giving it an updated, appropriate look for the location and price point,” she says.
Spanish-style homes are a dime a dozen in California, so creating interior architecture that stands out, yet blends in, is quite a feat. Perera was seeking a look “that would flow the Pacific Palisades lifestyle and tastes,” so she opted for “a lighter, more neutral palette that was infused with elegant, refined, unique details.”
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Signature to her style, the designer mixed uncommon elements with vintage-inspired pieces. “I really wanted to create a beachy, elevated Moorish-inspired home, which I think we accomplished,” she says. To that end, she brought in pattern, texture, and Moorish style with a gorgeous selection of kitchen and bathroom tile. Given that her job was to give the shell of the house character, “it seemed like a natural choice to bring in tiles oozing with complexity and charm,” she says. Her favourite find was the handmade, hand-painted wall tiles she used in the powder room from Clé Tiles.
While the obvious choice for a spec house might be white subway tiles or penny-rounds, Perera makes a case for more unusual designs. “The tendency is to think the tiles and other surfaces are so permanent, maybe it would be safer to go with something simple and plain,” the designers says. “Although I believe in restraint, without a bit of interest, the space can lack personality and feel uninspired.”
One of the most outstanding elements of Perera’s design was also a major hurdle. “The biggest challenge on this project was trying to blend the gorgeous new reclaimed herringbone flooring we selected for the first floor with the original wood floor on the second story we wanted to maintain,” she says. “Choosing just the right finish was key to creating the flow, which took a few tries.”
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The renovations to the six-bedroom, six-bath house were extensive, she says, a complete gut. Perera’s firm designed every bathroom from top to bottom, as well as the kitchen, flooring, and lighting throughout. But the designer’s favourite element of the house, the grand entry rotunda, has been around since the ‘20s. Maintaining the home’s original Mediterranean character and infusing it with a new sense of fresh, worldly style, Perera has ensured that this beauty will be around for many more years to come.
Interior staging by Meredith Baer Home
Do you have any Moorish-style accents in your home? Tell us in the comments below.