Spain Meets California in This Colorful LA Home
How to master the “Spanish glam” look in style.
Published Sep 9, 2018 5:00 AM
Picture traditional Spanish design: iron window frames, exposed dark wood, touches of Mediterranean-style pottery, maybe a boldly printed tile backsplash. Now, picture what we think of as the quintessential “Cali Cool” vibe: woven natural textures, an abundance of on-trend greenery, splashes of opulence via marble and brass, light hardwood floors to bring in as much sunshine as possible. At first glance, the two have almost nothing in common besides being generally found in regions hospitable to an abundance of sunny weather.
This 3,000-square-foot home nestled on a historic street in Hancock Park, Los Angeles is proof that the two can mix—and according to designer Jessica McClendon of Glamour Nest, blending the two is not as odd a recipe as you might think.
“In some ways, I don’t think that Spanish style and LA style are different; they all just seem to work together naturally in my brain!” she says. “I wanted to honor the history of the home, so I didn’t mess with any structural elements. It was more about furnishing and decorating the home to complement the existing architectural details, like the fireplace and ceilings in the living room and curved wall-to-ceiling transition in the bedrooms.”
Built in 1928, the home was essentially a designer’s dream. Equipped with great bones and an ideal blank slate, McClendon had the freedom to splash her signature glam style all over every room in the house; working closely, of course, with her clients.
Having worked with them on their previous home, she already had an idea of what they wanted (“My company is called Glamour Nest for a reason!” she says, “I attract clients who love a little sparkle”) and worked towards preserving the original Spanish architecture of the home while simultaneously infusing various vibrant elements—like a feminine pink velvet sofa and dining chairs originally belonging to the clients’ great-grandmother, reupholstered with Christian Lacroix fabric for a whole fresh look.
We spoke to the designer to see how she blended these two distinct styles in one vibrant home full of personality—adding the aforementioned sparkle in small doses along the way.
Where did you start? What was your inspiration?
I wanted all the rooms to have an overall “glamour” undertone so the spaces would flow together, but I also wanted each room to have its own uniqueness so as to reflect all the different aspects of my clients’ style.
For the living room, the architecture of the home was my main inspiration. I wanted to incorporate some Spanish elements, but I didn’t want to limit the decor to only Spanish styles because that would feel flat. I decided to open it up with more of a global vibe, and mixed in Moroccan and Persian elements. Since a lot of Spanish Revival homes in Los Angeles were built in the 1920s, so I wanted to add in that essence of glamour through the use of brass; that’s where the modern brass chair and 1960s-inspired leaf floor lamp came into play!
I also noticed that with a lot of traditional Spanish homes, the color palettes are very neutral or earthy. In my opinion, when everything is similar in color or tone, special details can get lost. I decided to use more vibrant colors to make the fireplace and ceiling pop.
Speaking of color, how did you choose your color palette? Did you start with a focal piece, like that gorgeous pink sofa, and go from there or was the process more random?
My favorite way to build a color palette is to steal it. I know that sounds terrible coming from a designer but… sorry, not sorry! In the living room, we started with the rug and built around it. All the colors for the sofa and pillows were pulled directly from the rug. We used the same approach in the daughter’s room by starting with the wallpaper and pulling the colors for the bed, rug, and window treatments.
Did you pull any specific Spanish features into the space?
There are so many beautiful Spanish architectural details throughout the home, including the ceilings, ironwork sconces, patterned tiles, and curved walls so I really didn’t really pull in any [new] Spanish elements. I did use a Spanish plantation chair in the living room, but everything else is from different styles and decades.
What elements of the surrounding California environment did you reference?
I love the combination of manmade luxury with the more organic elements of nature, so I referenced that quite a bit for this project. In Los Angeles, you have the glamorous Art Deco and sleek mid-century modern buildings, but also have mountains and forests nearby. It’s the perfect balance of luxury and organic, and I think that’s what we did here by mixing in Art Deco, mid-century, modern, rustic, and global elements together.
Is there a specific room where this Spanish-California blend is especially evident?
The living room and the master bedroom really blend the LA characteristics well. In the living room, you have the rustic organic woods of the bookcase, coffee table, and Spanish plantation chair mixed with the more glamorous feel of the bar cart, accent chair, lamp and pink sofa. In the master bedroom, you have the sleek mid-century nightstands mixed with the Art Deco-inspired gold wallpaper and rustic chandelier.
How did you make more modern pieces from big retailers like West Elm or Restoration Hardware fit in with the more rustic, antique vibe of the home?
A great way to open up decor options is with subtle “bridge” pieces, which can be two styles at once.
For example, in the master bedroom, we chose a bed that felt both vintage and contemporary. The wingback shape and dusty blue worn velvet upholstery gave off a vintage feel, while its low clean lines and simple button pulls are more contemporary. This piece became a bridge between the rustic antique vibe of the house itself and the more mid-century modern style of the West Elm nightstands.
See more of our favorite California homes: This 12,000-Square-Foot Home Checks Everything Off Our Bucket List This Rustic-Modern Home Is a Little Slice of California Paradise Mid-Century Meets Mediterranean in This California Condo