Four Lessons in Small Space Decorating
Designer Liza Reyes shares her inspired ideas for decorating with less.
Published Dec 26, 2016 6:00 AM
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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, andvintage 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.)