We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

In a style she calls “cozy Quaker,” Los Angeles–based designer Liza Reyes recently transformed an abandoned cabin in the city’s historic Mount Washington neighborhood into a thoughtfully spare family home. The considered approach she honed while working at Commune—a group of designers, builders, and makers that celebrates modern California craftsmanship—can be felt throughout the space. With the help of her husband, woodworker Philip Soderlind, Reyes built utilitarian pieces, like a sofa with a storage-friendly frame. “I like things at home to be clean and sparse so my eye can rest,” says Reyes, who shares some more of her favorite lessons on design here.

Photography by Laure Joliet

Text by Christine Lennon

Styling by Rachel Craven

Globe Short Table Lamp by Entler, $615; entlermade.com


Go free-form with textiles. Drape an unhemmed linen drop cloth over a desk or tack a hand-printed sheer fabric over a window to screen the light, which adds character to a pared-down interior. Reyes also layers in sheepskins, animal hides, and

vintage rugs

“It softens everything up, and I just throw them in the wash,” she says.

“Keep clutter under control by designating spaces where things will land.”


Build your own. “I recommend spending money on a good builder and saving on materials, like using paint-grade wood or even plywood,” says Reyes. Since many builders prefer not to do the finishing work, consider cutting costs by doing it yourself. “Most of us can learn to paint and stain,” she says. “It just takes patience, careful brushwork—and make sure to measure, measure, measure.”

Grid Pillow by Dream Collective, $150; dreamcollective.com

Stripe Moon Quilt by Caroline Z. Hurley, $395; carolinezhurley.com

Mali Dogon Woven Tray by Nickey Kehoe, $54; shop.nickeykehoe.com

Hard-Wired Swing-Arm Lamp by Onefortythree, $95; shop.onefortythree.com


Honor the house. “Don’t try to make a cottage a modern masterpiece or vice versa,” suggests Reyes, who claims that her favorite part of interior design is helping clients tell the story of their home. She and Soderlind resist clutter so they don’t have to constantly clean up or weed out superfluous items. “I see beauty in simplicity,” she says.

Vintage Lounge Chairs, $7,470; liefalmont.myshopify.com

Finn Coffee Table by Norm Architects, $685; dwr.com

Velvet Pillow, $29; westelm.com

Sheephide by Shepherdess from $280; shepherdess.com

Candlestick by Match Pewter, $182; shop.nickeykehoe.com


Turn a mood board into art. Using a large panel, Reyes pins her favorite swatches, sketches, and images—many of which are inspired by California history and her Mexican-American heritage. The board is low commitment (no framing or picture hanging required) and easily updated, like Pinterest IRL. (Reyes checks out books from her local library for inspiration rather than go online.)