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In LA’s Echo Park, architect

Barbara Bestor

designed a series of 18 small-lot housing projects, which have come to be known as Blackbirds. The beautifully-designed homes bear an edge of minimalism with a slight Nordic influence, imparting a defined contrast to the bohemian reserve of the surround. Interior designer Natalie Myers, of Veneer Designs, had the opportunity to redesign a two-bedroom home, in said community, and the result was truly something special. Gravitating between boho chic and Cali-modernism, the bachelor pad (which it looks nothing like) is filled with a bold array of colors, patterns, and cozy elements. We caught up with Myers to learn more about the project and even snagged some decorating tips along the way. Take a look!

Were there any design elements in the home inspired by Barbara Bestor?

Barbara Bestor is a huge role model for me in establishing both what California modern design can look like as well as what a talented woman in Los Angeles can accomplish professionally. Working in one of her finished projects, I aimed for the interiors to connect to the spirit of the structure. Since my client is a minimalist I knew it wouldn’t be too hard to convince him to stick to a limited tonal pallet. Since Barbara Bestor literally coined the term Bohemian Modern with her 2006 book, it was critical that we bring in some bohemian accents like ethnic fabric pillows and rugs.

We love the high contrast moments in the home and how they seamlessly meld into the more colorful moments—was there a specific reason you chose to do this?

The black and white was inspired by the structure’s exterior metal cladding of strictly black or white. But without some pops of color and natural materials it can feel brutal and cold. I wanted my client to have a happy and comfortable home to relax in after his high-stress work day. The large blue sofa, plants, cognac leather seats, natural large scale photography prints, and funky ethnic pillows break up the severity of the black and white.

We’re loving the playful details of the kitchen! The knobs, two-tone cabinets, runner, are all such a welcome departure from the typical design scheme we come across. Can you tell us more about the thought process that went into this space?

The wood knobs were a Barbara Bestor touch that she continued into the bathrooms. Once you see the playfulness there, it allows you to relax with a less structured rug, oversized Muuto dot wall hooks, and those killer Nerd counter stools. As long as I kept in the black-white-wood scheme, I felt the freedom to play with forms and shapes I really liked.

How would you describe the aesthetic of this home?

Nordic minimalist with masculine bohemian touches.

Where there any challenges involved in the process?

Not at all. The space was the perfect blank canvas. My client was hands-off but resistant to buying just for the sake of buying. Being British, was actually overly polite and undemanding. I’m used to more hand holding with clients and kept asking him I could do more for him. He was patient, trusting, full of good humor throughout the process, and appreciative with the end results. A dream client in every sense. 

What’s your secret to mixing and matching patterns?

There has to be one color family (indigo, grey, and white in this case) for each pillow grouping or it gets a little busy and jarring. Once you have established the color family, the larger pillows have to stay pretty tame in terms of pattern and a couple of the smaller pillows can get a little funky pattern wise. Somehow, it works every time. 

What is one thing you learned from this specific space that you’ll carry with you?

Restraint can be beautiful. Even though I tend to layer my spaces for that finished look, a space can look finished with a few really killer pieces. You don’t have to buy stuff just for filling empty space. Negative space can be good.

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