Published on January 18, 2019

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A Spanish-modern house might not seem like the most obvious place to incorporate Art Deco and mid-century-inspired decor, but Natalie Myers makes blending eras look easy.

Equal parts relaxed, luxe, and baby-proof, the designer gave us a glimpse inside her latest project—a sunny Santa Monica home for a young family of four—and showed us the ropes of striking the perfect balance.

“The client wanted something that mixed Art Deco and mid-century, which can easily become confused in a Spanish-modern house,” says Myers of the client. Without abandoning her signature SoCal style, the designer found harmony in time-tested silhouettes and contemporary materials. “I think I gave her those elements but in a very clean and refined way. There’s mid-century, there’s Art Deco, there’s glam, but there’s not too much of one element.”

Nude leathers, shapely ceramics, and graphic textiles bring new meaning to the home’s Spanish-inspired character and high-glam moments. From mixing and matching to decorating with ease, here are five design lessons we’re stealing from this dreamy California oasis.

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Pick one place to play up drama

The dining room serves as a stark contrast to the rest of home—and that’s no accident. In lieu of white walls, Myers saw an opportunity to make a saturated statement that could be seen from grand foyer.

“We had talked about doing a dark wallpaper or something to give it drama, but then [my client] ended up picking a Portola Paint with this plaster-like appearance. It gives the room depth and works really well with the Spanish-modern architecture,” she says.

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The designer kept the drama going with glamorous dining chairs and an extravagant brass chandelier. Her secret to pulling off luxe? Commit to fewer moments.

“We didn’t do a rug or sconces or more than one piece of art,” shares Myers. “We kept it minimal so the pieces that are in the room grab your attention.”

 

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Make room for… room

Tripping hazards were a major concern for the couple, who welcomed their youngest daughter shortly after the renovations came to a close. Wanting to keep clutter to a minimum, Myers stuck with essential pieces of furniture and embraced negative space head-on.

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“They wanted to have enough open space where their daughter could come home from school and run around in circles if she had to,” says the designer. “It’s tempting to fill every corner with a vignette; you shouldn’t fill a space just to fill a space.”

Be obsessed with the objects you own

The telltale sign that a rug, work of art, or other home accessory is right for you? “You should be obsessed with it!” says Myers. The mesmerizing print by Rodrigo Valenzuela that hangs above the console table in the living room is certainly worth obsessing over. “They have beautiful art, but we didn’t fill every wall, and that’s okay. In time, it will get filled, piece by piece.”

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Another reminder that the search is half the fun? Peep that perfect vase in the alcove above the fireplace. “The fireplace is obviously the showstopper, but I was like, ‘What are we going to put in that niche?’ I didn’t want something that was too antique-y or a tchotchke for the sake of having a tchotchke,” explains Myers. Eventually, she found her focal point. “It’s modern, but it repeats the curves of the arches in the home.”

Choose your fabrics wisely

Especially if you have little ones running around. Stain-resistant, odor-resistant, and moisture-resistant, Myers’s pick for the living room sofa is cleverly designed to withstand unexpected messes.

“This room seems like a disaster zone for kids, but the white sofa upholstered in Crypton fabric—it’s my go-to for families. The room looks like it shouldn’t be in a family home, but it’s totally doable,” says the designer.

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If you’re going traditional, mix up tones

“If you’re taking silhouettes that are more historical, one way to make things feel contemporary is by mixing up wood tones. Bring in white oak. Mix it up with ashwood and walnut. If you look through this house, you’ll notice that we didn’t just pick one stain and stick with it,” suggests Myers.

In the bedroom, for instance, the blond wood frame of the custom bed serves as an intriguing counterpoint to the dark nightstands. In other words: Avoid being matchy-matchy. “That way, you can have more traditional shapes, but it’ll make it feel more modern.”

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