The Unexpected Furniture That This Restaurateur Insists Belongs Outside
How she crafts her iconic beachy spaces at home and at work.
Updated Aug 10, 2023 11:02 AM
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In 2013—with New York City cocktail gems Apotheke and Pulqueria under her belt—restaurateur and interior designer Heather Tierney dreamed of opening a daytime hangout. After finding a sun-drenched corner space in Nolita, she got to work whitewashing the wood walls, bringing in bright accents like lemon-colored barstools, and developing a menu of heritage juices and vegan-leaning dishes.
With fruits and veggies on the chopping block, the name The Butcher’s Daughter felt apt. Rather than sausages and shanks hanging from above, she strung up fresh greenery, creating a distinctly California vibe. So opening a sister location in Venice Beach was a natural next step.
Lured by the West Coast’s forever sunny skies, Tierney moved to Los Angeles, took some time off, and fell in love with her now husband, Jake Mathews. The couple lives a stone’s throw from Abbot Kinney Boulevard and the Butcher’s Daughter outpost, which draws creative types and cool kids with a hankering for mango lassi smoothies and smashed avocado toast.
Tierney’s other property, a tiny hideaway on the Venice Beach canals, has been transformed into her version of a B&B: bungalow-and-breakfast. Her old-is-unexpectedly-new-again style manifests throughout all her spaces. “It’s modern-day living but in a more bohemian way,” says Tierney, who started the agency Wanderlust as a catchall for any project that encompasses design. “I love to blur the line of where the indoors stops and the outdoors begins.” We caught up with Tierney to learn more about her inspiration, favorite local shops, and how she brings her signature style to life at home.
Bring the Inside Out
Whether working with her home’s spacious yard or her rental bungalow’s small patch of grass overlooking the canal, creating a gathering spot is Tierney’s top priority. At the former, she assembled an indoor-style lounge area complete with outdoor sofa, lounge chairs, and floor cushions. “A firepit surrounded by vintage butterfly chairs really adds to the coziness,” she says. Her material of choice: “Leather lasts outdoors and looks great as it gets weathered by the sun.”
Shop Like a Local
Tierney’s hunt goes far beyond Etsy and eBay. In addition to her regular flea market circuit, she has discovered artists simply by exploring her neighborhood. A painting on an old mailbox spied in Venice led her to local artist Alisha Sofia, who made the custom watercolor of a girl surfing in a sea of succulents. Another favorite: a dark, modern macramé piece by Ojai-based Sally England, which hangs in her living room.
When Tierney bought her 1,200-square-foot rental bungalow, she tore up the carpets, whitewashed the wood, and brought in a mid-century Malm fireplace. “I wanted to create a total beachy vibe,” she says. In came the rattan furniture, like a 1960s dome chair and curved bed. “Flea market finds feel fresh when you pair them with a few sleek and modern pieces,” she recommends. “Otherwise they can look dated.”
Strong Meets Soft
The cool concrete, light wood floors, and steel windows of Tierney’s converted 1920s home could come off as austere, but she has a way of softening things up. “The key to keeping a room in balance is working with materials that have both masculine and feminine energy,” she explains. In the bathroom, poured concrete is paired with cream ceramics, sandy-hued baskets, and an antique mirror. Tierney also had door panels made from a large vintage Mexican blanket to bring in texture and draping.
Being in one of Tierney’s spaces is all about lounging. “Adding pillows, preferably ones filled with down or a down alternative, is essential for making a room comfy,” she says. “You want to have several areas you can just fall into.” In the living room, that means a traditional Indian charpai wedding bed covered in throw pillows, and on the porch, a circular rattan chair layered with striped cotton blankets.
Set Your Green Scene
“I like to style the greenery and plants differently to suit the mood of each space,” explains Tierney, who has such a thing for plants that Mathews had to hold an intervention when she brought home one too many of her little green friends. “For more of a bohemian/desert look, I like cactus. Flowing succulents add a feminine feeling to a room that may seem cold without them.”
Tierney’s Favorite Venice Beach Spots
- Rose Bowl Flea Market: I love not having any reason to go and just seeing what I find. Lately, I’ve been shopping with friends who have recently moved from New York to help give their new homes more of a West Coast feel.
- Venice Vintage Paradise: It sources a lot of rattan, and I found the bar in my bungalow here (it’s actually a really cool coatrack that I turned into a bar cart). Venice Vintage also has great rugs, Navajo blankets, and baskets.
- Stahl + Band: More modern with a boho flair, this new shop sells designer-made goods, like a beanbag chair covered in a wool cable-knit that we keep in our office.
- Venice Plants: This plant guy knows I can’t resist a good succulent! He’ll text me photos of cool stuff he’s received, even though I have nowhere to put anything…but adding a big cactus inside or outdoors is so California.
This story was originally published in our Summer 2017 issue with the headline “Three If by Sea.”