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Custom Integrated Couch, Sarah Sherman Samuel; Cushions and Pillows in Newport Fabric, Fabricut; Iride Cocktail Table by Alessandro Busana and Raoul Swivel Chair by Shine by S.H.O, Sotheby’s Home; Vintage Waterfall Bench, Chairish; Hygge Rug, Loloi Rugs; Pure White Paint, HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams. On Doré: Jumpsuit, Mara Hoffman. Makeup by Karolina Bernat.

Anyone familiar with the musings of Garance Doré, the French photographer, writer, style icon, O.G. influencer, and creative force behind Doré, knows that she doesn’t make rash decisions. Candid essays filled with introspection about her life are as much a part of her brand as her chic and easy approach to style. When the native Corsican and onetime New Yorker decided to buy a large, modern house in Mar Vista and put down more permanent roots in California, the commitment came with some surprises and serious soul-searching.

“I felt like L.A., as a city, was a woman, and she was holding me in her arms, like that Red Hot Chili Peppers song,” says Doré over a cup of tea and a plate of roasted vegetables at the Superba café, near her two-year-old house, which was in the final stages of a much-deliberated renovation just days before this photo shoot took place.

Built-in sofas are just the spot for lounging, entertaining, or curling up to watch a movie. Keeping with the relaxed vibe, glossy lacquered surfboards greet visitors in the entryway. Surfboards, Britt Merrick for H. Merrick.

Doré is explaining how she fell in love with L.A. when she spent a month in town finishing her book, Love Style Life, at the Standard Hotel in 2014: “I woke up every morning and could see the whole city. I’d open the windows and write for a few hours. I was so happy. It’s engraved in my brain.”

After some consideration back in Manhattan, she decided that Los Angeles, specifically the west side, was the right mix of urban and wild for her changing, more relaxed outlook on life. “For me, there is a back-to-my-roots kind of thing with the beach,” she says. “It’s grounding to know I am near the water.”

A dining area and kitchen were carved out from the large open space, making things feel connected and contained at the same time. Nassa Basket Pendant Lamp, Seminyak Large Gray Planter, and Fuze Ivory White Stone Dining Table (discontinued), CB2; Tanner Chairs and Fenwick Chair, Barnaby Lane; Holly Canisters by Wyatt Speight Rue and Karui Tray by Skultuna, Lawson-Fenning; Tray in Bleached Maple and Brass, Vincent Pocsik; Tube Series Ceramic Vase, BZippy; Brass Pin Candlesticks, Gentner; Pure White Paint, HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams.

At first, Doré’s vision involved a charming 1940s bungalow or an even older Craftsman with character. But as a first-time homeowner, the repairs and maintenance of an old house felt daunting, and she craved large windows to let in the sunlight and more space for her studio; her dog, Lulu; friends; and family visiting from Europe.

“Once you make this decision—to live in something more modern, built by a developer—the question is how do you add character? How do you soften the edges? They’re often cold and feel like a bachelor pad,” she says. “The house had no charm.”

Honed Caesarstone, natural wood, brass, and terracotta details add to the home’s organic-modern feel. Terracotta Pendant Lamps, Hand and Eye Studio; Custom Doors for IKEA Cabinets by Sarah Sherman Samuel, Semihandmade; Concrete Backsplash and Counter Tiles, Concrete Collaborative; Countertops, Caesarstone; Range Hood, Zephyr Online; Energy Star French-Door Refrigerator with Brushed Bronze Hardware, Stainless Interior Built-In Dishwasher with Hidden Controls and Brushed Bronze Hardware, and Built-In Touch Control Induction Cooktop, Café; Single-Handle Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet in Champagne Bronze, Delta Faucet; Nerd Counter Stools by David Geckeler for Muuto, Lumens.

After conversations with various interior designers, most of whom Doré felt were trying to push her into more expensive choices, she found her match with Sarah Sherman Samuel. Doré says that Samuel, who has a cult following of her own, understood her needs completely.

Cobalt blue Herman Miller chairs and a Milo Baughman coffee table both have designer pedigree, but the hanging rattan chair signals that Doré and her interior designer, Samuel, don’t take decorating too seriously. Hanging Rattan Egg Chair and Burl-Wood Cocktail Table by Milo Baughman, Chairish; Vintage Chairs by Herman Miller in Bolden Fabric and Cushions and Pillows in Newport Fabric, Fabricut; Hygge Rug, Loloi Rugs; Custom Integrated Couch, Sarah Sherman Samuel; Vintage Japanese Wood Sculptures, Merchant Gallery; CSS-8-1 Artwork by Jen Garrido; Frame, Simply Framed; Photograph by Del Rio Photography; Frame, Framebridge; Ceramic O’Dear Bowl by Ben Medansky.

“Sarah was so open to ideas. I don’t want a decorator to shame me. I was like, ‘Dude, I can’t do that.’ They were all freaking me out with the budget. A person who is less secure would fall for it,” she says, comparing decor to personal style, noting “it doesn’t have to be expensive to be good.”

The primary bathroom is a sanctuary of Fireclay tile, warm wood, and peachy pinks that create a flattering, soothing light any time of day. Round Chambers Mirror, Croft House; Sconces, Hudson Valley Lighting; Tiles, Fireclay Tile; Custom Cabinetry with Daino Real Marble Counter, Stoneland USA; Single-Handle Wall-Mount Bathroom Faucet Trim in Champagne Bronze, Delta Faucet; Ceramic Sculpture by Melinda Forste, Merchant Gallery; Trays, HD Buttercup; Mesa Rug, Blockshop Textiles.
The glass-enclosed circular bathtub with rain showerhead installed directly above is a genius alternative to a standard tub-shower combination. Dempsey Round Acrylic Freestanding Tub, Signature Hardware; H20kinetic Single-Setting Raincan Showerhead and Monitor 14 Series Tub Trim, both in Champagne Bronze, Delta Faucet; Towel, Midland.
Adding to the spa vibe is the vanity table, custom-built from the same marble as the countertops. Top shelf: Natural Rainbow Puzzle by Grimm’s, General Store; Baltazar and Core Candles, Andrej Urem Collection. Middle shelf: Box in Bleached Maple and Brass, Vincent Pocsik; Mara Marble Bowls, Burke Decor. Bottom shelf: Ceramic Sculpture by Melinda Forste, Merchant Gallery. Vanity: Custom Table in Daino Real Marble, Stoneland USA; Gloria Candleholder by Klong, Finnish Design Shop; Half Moon Mirror, Kristina Dam; Supply Chair, Stahl + Band.

The first priority was to remove a wall that was separating the kitchen from the living room, creating an airy, loftlike first floor. Next, they replaced a tiny kitchen window to let in that light she craved. Samuel suggested two built-in sofas to flank the fireplace along one of the long walls. They have curved arms, amping up the Mediterranean beach house vibe, and thick cushions upholstered in buff pink linen. Samuel helped Doré select creamy white Moroccan rugs, a hanging basket chair from Chairish, a vintage velvet chair from Sotheby’s Home, and an impressive collection of hand-thrown ceramics, which all delivered immediate warmth and texture to the space. Two vintage Herman Miller chairs upholstered in cobalt blue bring a jolt of vibrant color.

Custom Bed, Sarah Sherman Samuel; Graffito Fabric, Kelly Wearstler; Shape Shifter Mural, Drop It Modern; Alto Wood Arm Sconce, Cedar & Moss; Uni Candlestick by Sin, Lulu and Georgia; Leather Catchall, Jenni Kayne; Paint, HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams; Custom-Dyed Bedding, Flaneur.
A console table in the entry offers both form and function, thanks to sleek drawers in which to stow everyday essentials. Half Moon Mirror by Ben & Aja Blanc, 1stDibs; Table, Hedge House Furniture; Vintage Rug, Studio Woven; White Sands Planter, A Question of Eagles; Bottle Vase, BZippy; Akusan Belt, St. Frank; Scribe Vase by Heather Rosenman, Lawson-Fenning.
By building cabinets on either side of a bench, Samuel made Doré’s “nook” dreams come true. Frame TV by Samsung, Amazon; Custom Cushion in Duffield Fabric, Fabricut; Palais Royal Table by Anya Sebton and Eva Lilja Löwenhielm, StudioTwentySeven; Variegate Fruit Bowl, Sin; Short Mug, Workaday Handmade.

To break up the big-box feel of the living area, Samuel created a nook for Doré’s favorite time of the day—breakfast—with a built-in banquette upholstered in striped linen and raw natural leather, anticipating that the nicks and scratches will add to its appeal. The adjacent kitchen, including the fixtures, GE Café appliances, and massive marble countertops, is completely devoid of shine.

Samuel looks right at home. 

“There’s a richness to matte finishes, like honed marble,” says Samuel, who drew from her signature palette of colors and materials, using soft white and pale peach paint, blond wood, Fireclay subway tile, and loads of muted pink and earthy neutrals. Terracotta accents, such as rugs from Block Shop Textiles and handmade pendant lamps from Hand and Eye, add depth and nuance.

Doré, who claims to be “obsessed with sleep,” wanted a cocoonlike, monochrome master bedroom—the velvet headboard and paint are the same shade of deep blue—to keep things calm. Midget Farrelly Surfing Shore Break, Makaha, 1968, by LeRoy Grannis; Dark Night Paint, HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams; Deva Velvet Platform Bed, Lulu and Georgia; Organic Mattress, Avocado Green Mattress; Custom-Dyed Bedding, Flaneur; Dot Dash Pillows, Block Shop Textiles; Simple Knit Oversize Throw and Solid Mohair Throw, Hawkins New York; Wood Sphere by Kristina Dam, Design Within Reach; Stools, Sotheby’s Home; Journey Fabric, Calico Corners; Horizon Vase, A Question of Eagles.
Moroccan tile covers the powder room from top to bottom, for the ultimate selfie spot. El Fenn Blue Cement Tile, Riad Tile; Custom Integrated Sink, Caesarstone; Single-Handle Wall-Mount Bathroom Faucet Trim and Monitor14 Series H2Okinetic Tub and Shower Trim, both in Matte Black, Delta Faucet; Swift Sconce, Cedar & Moss.

A few more pops of pattern and color, like a guest bathroom covered floor to ceiling in Riad El Fenn blue and white tile, and a bed upholstered in a graphic Kelly Wearstler print, create vignettes that are perfect for—you guessed it—social media. “We are natives in this Instagram world. Sarah and I, we’re always like this,” Doré says as she aims her phone’s camera lens at the low cocktail table, which is perfectly styled with books and objects. “One thing we both really understand,” says Samuel, “is that you need to be able to take pictures in your own house.”  

A small patio in the backyard functions as a four-season outdoor room—a nod to Doré’s Corsican upbringing surrounded by nature. Woven Malawi Chair (discontinued), Ixtapa Love Seat, Braided Jute Pouf, Shroom Coffee Table (discontinued), and Pool Party White Sofa (discontinued), CB2; Swallowtail Rug, Blockshop Textiles; Amalfi Pillow, Heather Taylor Home; Formas I Pillow by Minna, Burke Decor.

The Goods

This story was originally published in our Spring 2019 issue with the headline “Personal Space.”