When the icon behind fashion blog Eat Sleep Wear, Kimberly Lapides, joined forces with California interior designer Anne Sage to decorate her master bedroom last year, we were floored. The result was a stylish, approachable, elegant, and quintessentially Los Angeles sanctuary. When Sage reached out to us to let us know that she'd worked with Lapides on another project, we couldn't wait to see it. This time, they transformed the main living area into a chic yet family-friendly haven.
The home was built in 1964, and the main directive for this foyer, dining, and living room area was to give the classic ranch style bones an elevated, modern feel that flowed nicely with the rest of the home. Sage and Lapides were set on making it feel really sophisticated and thoughtfully curated, but they had a few other things to keep in mind, too, like a newborn baby and three pets. If anyone can meet all of those needs, it's Sage, whose style is best described as "livable luxe."
In fact, the two make a great team. "Kim and I jive so well: She's got a killer eye for fashion and design, yet she's so down to earth and approachable. The spaces we've created [together] are sumptuous and modern with some beautiful investment pieces, but they also have an airy, beachy vibe that reflects her love of SoCal sunshine and shores," Sage tells MyDomaine.
Keep reading to get a sense of Lapides's gorgeous new digs and take notes from Sage's brilliant design tips.
Setting the Scene Is Key
The entryway is your first chance to make an impression and it sets the tone for the atmosphere, mood, and style of the rest of the home. In Kim Lapides's home, this meant opening up the narrow corridor with a stylish, amplifying mirror and warming things up with a plush area rug. If your entryway is also on the smaller side, that doesn't mean you can't squeeze in some decorative pieces. Pro tip: Instead of a bulky console table right in the front of the foyer, install a wall shelf that can display your décor.
It doesn't take up any space but it does make a good impression. As Sage tells us, these small additions don't distract the eye. Instead, they give you just enough of a taste to lead you further inside.
Lucky for Lapides, there are two doors that lead outside in her living space, which gives her double the opportunity to set the right tone and maximize functionality.
The second "front door" actually leads to the garage, The space by the other door functions as a sort of mudroom-meets-foyer since it leads to the garage but is inside the main living room. Here, Sage opted for a stylish bench that offers both functional and aesthetic value. She and Lapides decided to have to it customized by a family-owned furniture company called Skram since Lapides needed something shallow enough to fit in tight spaces yet roomy enough to actually sit on.
"It straddles the line between weighty and delicate," Sage notes. And the impeccable woodworking, unique shape, and beautiful white ash finish are unmatched. Its proximity to the garage is perfect, too, giving the family a nice perch to put on and take of shoes or set down grocery bags after a trip to the supermarket.
Create Flow and Pick an Anchor Item
Since the main living room opens right up into the dining room, it was important to create a nice flow and sense of cohesion. And choosing one hero piece to help focus the project can really help with that process. In this case, they decided to decorate the room around the dining table. Once again, they decided that customization would help them achieve the look they really wanted to (it's also a sure-fire way to ensure that your personal style shines through).
Sage tells us that they opted for a quartz tabletop with marble-like veining for a few reasons. First, it introduces "a beautiful organic element in the space, it’s perfect for Kim to shoot flat lays and recipes, and, it wipes clean in an instant‚ which is so key with a new baby in the house," explains Sage. Next, they chose dining room chairs that elevated the space without feeling overly formal in the adjacent family room. These steel and leather dining chairs inspired by an iconic Marcel Breuer chair are the perfect fit to live up to the challenge.
And "their curved edges are kid-safe," Sage chimes. It's a good reminder that sometimes those little chic design details can make a huge practical impact, too.
Stay Consistent but Mix Things Up
Although they decided not to keep any of the preexisting furniture or decor, they did stick to the same layout. "Kim and her husband Blake were totally happy with where their sectional, TV, and dining table were—the positioning fit their lifestyle," Sage tells us. So she decided to refresh the space with more stylish, current pieces that reflect their desired look rather than starting from scratch completely. It's a good reminder not to fix what isn't broken. If you're redecorating your home, think about what's working and what's not before you just dive in.
Playing up the existing color palette throughout the rest of the home was another way that Sage made sure the main living space reflected the family's personal style. Like in the rest of the home, she and Lapides kept things neutral, light, and refreshing but punctuated the space with edgier, bold, and texture-rich accents.
"Kim's drawn to the light, bright, breezy neutrals of modern Scandinavian design, so it was a no-brainer to favor tons of earthy texture over color," Sage tells us, confirming why our eyes are drawn to the interesting mix of bleached-out beechwood, warm teak, tactile linen, polished steel, and cowhide. Sage describes the space as very tonal while still feeling thoroughly dynamic.
Installing Lights Makes All the Difference
There weren't a ton of renovations done to the house, but Sage and Lapides did decide that it was worth it to install brand-new light fixtures for a refined and well-rounded environment (and good lighting, of course, which is especially important for a fashion blogger). Though that may sound like an overwhelming undertaking, Sage assures us that it's a super low-effort and cost-effective but high-impact tweak. She even encourages her clients who rent their homes and apartments to consider doing it. Plus, contemporary hardwired lighting can make even the most outdated space look more au courant and personalized.
We love the Craftmade chandelier they chose to light up the dining table. As Sage explains to us, it really carves out the dining area from the rest of the room, giving it a more intimate and customized feel. The streamlined industrial veneer is perfectly balanced by the warm aged copper finish and cognac leather accents as well.
The other major lighting addition is the pair of sconces flanking the entryway art. The glass shades and deep bronze finish don't steal the show, but they do add a nice cohesive touch as well as extra lighting. "The room has a relatively simple envelope, so I really I love how the sconces inject a sense of architectural significance," adds Sage.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
"Without a doubt, finding the perfect sofa was the biggest challenge of the project," Sage confesses. And it's a pretty common one, considering that seating is often what anchors a family room or living room. Since Lapides had a really clear vision of the perfect sofa for the space, it took a while to find one that ticked all the boxes. It ended up being worth the wait, as they eventually found their match from Maiden Home. The lesson? Always take your time, even if rushing seems enticing or easier.
Upholstered in a pet-friendly and kid-proof white linen fabric from Crypton Home (yes, whites can be durable), the sectional is cozy and great for cuddling and lounging, but it's low profile and slim arms also introduce a modern, sleek edge. Sage says the best part is that "it's deep enough to sink into, it’s not so deep that it takes up a ton of space." We think Goldilocks would approve.
Another tricky step in decorating a living room is finding the right armchairs to complement the sofa. Not this time, though. While Lapides and Sage were browsing for the sectional, they also stumbled these stunning chairs, too, and just like that, the search was over. These armchairs are made of cowhide and beech, both of which bring a refreshingly casual earthy texture to the room. The chairs are nice and roomy, and the sling style ensures that they still contribute to the light and breezy feel.
Next, it was time to focus on the smaller pieces that really ground the room and bring it to life. But before diving into the tiny decorative items and wall art, Lapides and Sage set the stage with a hand-woven rug by Jaipur Living. "It's the prettiest shade of silvery mink, a barely there sheen, that doesn't look noticeably shiny but rather reflects ambient light and brightens the seating area," Sage describes.
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Let Your Décor Bring Out Your Personality
Once the heavier lifting items were crossed off, it was time for the fun part: décor. Styling the globally inspired extras was Sage's highlight of the project, too. It's fun because "there are so many fantastic resources for fun finds on the web, many of them with an ethical and sustainability missions behind them, so you can feel good about what you're bringing into your home," she says.
You can also be a little bolder and less precious about accessories since they easy to swap in and out.
Slim and tall vases from Accompany introduced vertical interest to the vignette on the shelves. Sage and Lapides also found the easy-breezy throw pillows here, which add some pattern. The other woven accents and soft goods are from The Little Market and really enhance the welcoming vibe. Most of the more organic and edgy pieces are St. Frank finds since it sources its goods from traditional artisan communities around the world.
"Last but absolutely not least, the artwork in this room is an unforgettable finishing touch," says Sage, taking the words right out of our mouths. Since Lapides is such a visual person, Sage's goal was to make her feel surrounded by calming, beautiful, and inspiring pieces, but she also tells us that she didn't want Lapides to have to hammer any holes and hang so much artwork that it started to feel chaotic and cluttered… That meant Sage had to get creative and fill the space strategically. Specifically, the two opted for picture ledges that give the artwork a floating effect and only hung them in certain parts of the room so they'd stand out, like in the dining section.