It's safe to say that interior designer Mandy Cheng shares our love of plants. As one of Homepolish's top Los Angeles designers, not to mention the principal designer of her eponymous firm, Mandy Cheng Design, she knows a thing or two about styling a well-decorated space—and that, of course, includes greenery. Lots of it. And, as you can see, her Los Feliz home is no exception.
When Cheng and her husband, architect Rory Reynolds, moved into their L.A. apartment, she set out to furnish a space that was equal parts stylish and functional. "As a designer who loves to entertain, I've always felt the pressure to have a well-decorated, comfortable home," Cheng tells MyDomaine. "For this place, I needed to find a balance, so I worked with the existing space and focused on making it feel curated as well as functional without feeling cluttered." Spoiler alert: She expertly achieves that in this space.
Keep scrolling to step inside interior designer Mandy Cheng's charming, plant-filled Los Feliz apartment.
Built in 1948 and restored in 2005, the 1000-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment is situated in a colonial revival-style building with hints of storybook architectural details. "We moved here temporarily while we renovate our house in Silverlake, so I really didn't want to be a crazy person and design it to the nines," confesses Cheng.
The only architectural change the designer made to the space was installing a woven pendant in the dining room to replace an industrial, stainless steel fixture. "I strongly suggest asking the landlord if you can do the same because it makes the biggest difference," advises Cheng. "This woven pendant fits in perfectly with the décor and completely changed the look of my dining room."
The dining space also boasts a curated gallery wall filled with meaningful mementos the designer has collected over the years. "The large Gulf Coast map was gifted to me by a friend that produced Whale Wars," divulges Cheng. "For several seasons he was aboard the ships in Antarctica, which is where this map came from," she explains. "The illustrations surrounding the map are all done by other close friends that work in the film industry," she adds. "The vintage ads and San Francisco map were pieces I sourced from eBay and Etsy."
"The pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey game was a fun find and everyone that comes over seems to enjoy it," says Cheng of the vintage artwork that lends a playful air to the apartment. "I keep thinking about removing the glass so people can actually pin a tail and change up my artwork periodically."
In the living room, a colorful sofa warms up the entire space. "The house came with white walls and dark wood floors, so the burnt orange sofa was the first thing I purchased to give the space some color," Cheng tells MyDomaine.
After selecting the burnt orange sofa, "the space evolved into an eclectic combination of vintage, handcrafted pieces, and stylish but utilitarian box-store items," says Cheng. The designer made a point to select neutral accessories so as not to compete with the sofa and make the small space feel even smaller, she explained. To make the house feel "finished," she opted for a collection of truly unique artwork.
"Don't forget the plants," Cheng points out. "They transform a sterile space into a much cozier one in an instant," she explains. In the designer's living room, "the artwork, corner shelves, and the hanging macramé plants really help to maximize what you see and makes the room feel more spacious because your eye is going from the floor all the way up to the ceiling," she says.
Among her greatest finds were the vintage armchairs in the living room. "I left the wood finish as-is and had the seat cushions rebuilt while preserving the original black leather upholstery," she explains. "The Sears house blueprints are also really fun, and I love that they're above the desks," she adds. "They're a great reminder to appreciate the technology we have today—hand-drawing plans to scale is excruciating."
Many apartment dwellers can relate to the designer's biggest challenge in furnishing the space: the size of the house. "I work from home (when I'm not at my various project locations), so I really needed the space to work for my business needs," Cheng explains. "But at the same time, I wanted it to feel like a sanctuary and an inviting place to entertain friends." It's a hefty checklist for a small place, as the designer notes, but we'd say she nailed it.