It's hard enough designing a home but how do you design an open-concept space that could function as a photo shoot location, yoga studio, design studio, or a bridal shower on any given day?
Well, first, you call Anne Sage and Caroline Lee of Light Lab Interiors.
The duo transformed a 1,800 square foot warehouse in the trendy Atwater Village neighborhood of Los Angeles into a creative studio for their team of designers, photographers, stylists and content creators as well as an event space, which you may recognize from an episode of Goop Lab on Netflix.
"We furnished only half of it, since we like to keep the other half a blank slate for photo shoots, events, etc.," Sage tells MyDomaine. "We have tall ceilings which makes for a very airy, spacious vibe."
Though many of us would dream of having almost infinite square footage to decorate, that certainly comes with its own set of design hurdles.
"Even though we’re not a small square footage, we certainly faced the challenges that come with making an open-concept space feel welcoming and homey," Sage says. "We were very mindful of using decor elements strategically to carve out specific “functional zones” — in other words using furnishings to create walls where there are none."
Take a tour through this trendy design space for more of Sage and Lee's open concept decorating tips.
When you're decorating in a vast space, the layout can make or break your design aesthetic. Placing furniture and accessories strategically can help separate each area from the next.
"In the dining/work table area, the console against the wall serves to anchor and define the space so that it doesn’t just feel like a table floating in the middle of the floor," Sage says. "And of course in the seating area, those big area rugs are key for establishing the boundaries of the lounge!"
Not only was this warehouse space a completely blank canvas, it had to serve several different needs from photo shoots to launch parties. Sage and Lee wanted to make sure it felt "cool and memorable" without alienating any potential clients, a challenge within itself.
"Our goal is always for people to walk into our space and immediately sense the values by which we run our business," Sage says. "We’re creative and forward-thinking, fun and lighthearted, but also inclusive, accessible, and loving. The biggest compliment we can get is 'Wow, I love the energy in here.' And we’re happy to say, it’s one we get a lot!"
In order to achieve a style that felt like their own but would work for future clients, the team at Light Lab Interiors focused on "versatility and durability."
"We wanted to be able to move things around quickly and easily—and then put it back together just as fast," Sage explains.
In order to be as versatile as possible, they had to get creative.
"For the lounge area, we actually couldn’t decide on a single color scheme that satisfied us both, so we each created our own using accent pieces that can be swapped out according to our two different aesthetics," Sage explains. "We have two distinct sets of folding screens, sofa cushions, area rugs, throw pillows, and upholstered ottomans—one of which aligns with Anne’s love of neutrals and the other of which is in keeping with Caroline’s penchant for color."
Depending on the needs of the client, the team can swap out the design change feel of the room almost instantly.
"Obviously, this is a luxury we have in a studio workspace, and it’s not something everyone at home can do," Sage says. "But, it does beautifully illustrate how choosing versatile, timeless foundation pieces and then strategically switching out accents can totally overhaul the look of a room!"
Due to the high-traffic nature of the shared workspace, durability was also top of mind. Lee and Sage focused on choosing pieces that could be easily cleaned and added accents that "felt special but weren't too precious or breakable." They designed the sectional themselves using modular pieces available through American Leather, and had it upholstered in Crypton performance fabric for extra easy cleaning.
"This area is definitely the coup de grace of the space: we absolutely wanted it to shine," Sage says. "Our inspiration was Paris-deco-meets-80’s-excess."
Whether you're designing your own studio workspace or just your studio apartment, Sage and Lee have timeless advice.
'“Relax. It’s just design,'" Sage says. "These words were printed on a tote bag we received once, and we couldn’t agree with them more. It’s easy to get wrapped up in feeling like every decision is life or death, but at the end of the day design should make us feel good! If you’re stressing it, it’s time to step back and reassess what you need to do to have fun with the process."