His creative photography is a glimpse into his whimsical, color-filled world of wanderlust, and his LA office is a very real manifestation of that world. Gray Malin has been inspiring us with his work for years, so it should really come as no surprise that his home is just as dreamy.
Having purchased a 4,600-square-foot home in West Hollywood in 2017, Malin just unveiled the latest big renovation project he tackled: the living room, designed in partnership with Anthropologie’s home styling service. The impressive size of the 420-square-foot space turned out to be the biggest challenge with the makeover, as Malin wanted to foster a welcoming and cozy environment despite how spacious it felt.
“The room’s decor prior to the makeover was quite simple with two large white couches paired with a variety of pieces we brought over from our previous home. It looked fine but definitely lacked in personality,” says the photographer, who says he was going for an inviting and comfortable, yet subtly glamorous look in the redesign. “Thus, it was the first thing to go and kicked off the rest of the decor decisions that followed. Typically, I approach room design by first selecting the artwork, so it was a nice change of pace to start with a key piece of furniture.”
Working closely with his Anthro consultant and turning moodboards into reality, Malin crafted a space that combines the glamor of Hollywood with the ease and comfort of East Coast charm. His stunning artwork on prominent display around the room transports you around the world without ever leaving the living room.
“Decorating a new home is fun in theory, but can be overwhelming when you’re tackling it on your own,” says Malin of choosing to work with Anthropologie. “I had just completed our kitchen and was feeling a bit burnt out, so I knew I needed someone else’s eye for the room.”
Want to see how the collaboration played out? We spoke to the photographer to get the inside scoop on his new space.
You mentioned the sofa being the kickoff point for the design; how did you settle on this blush pink option?
I fell in love with the custom Edlyn Sectional Sofa in rosewater velvet. I [hadn’t] had a sofa of this size before, but I knew that I wanted a sectional for this space, as it’s quite ample, and I was obsessed with the unexpected soft pink color for the couch. By establishing the color, I was able to start building the room in my mind.
Did you look anywhere specific for inspiration?
After deciding on the furniture, I actually turned to my artwork for inspiration and decided on pieces that worked nicely with the pink velvet sofas and the mood of the room. I was inspired to make the space feel luxe and a bit glam, so I turned to my pop-culture portrait series, “ Bon Voyage,” which pays homage to cultural icons as told through the window of an airplane.
Above the fireplace and bar cart, I chose prints from my recent collection, ”Gray Malin at the Coral Casino Beach” and “Cabana Club”, that [have] soft blush undertones which paired nicely with the pink sofas.
How did you settle on a color palette?
The color palette was established as soon as the couch was selected. With its light shade of pink and velvet texture, it really evoked [the] glam vibe I was searching for and set the tone for the rest of the room.
Can you tell us a bit about how you incorporated both East and West Coast aesthetics in the space?
The West Coast decor tends to favor relaxed furniture and muted colors, so I think I incorporated that aesthetic into this room, yet still stuck to my East Coast tendencies with pieces like the navy leather ottoman and gold accented shelves.
We love all the greenery! Was including plants a priority for you?
The living room has floor-to-ceiling windows on one side that look out to our backyard which has towering lush greenery. I was inspired to bring a sense of our outdoor space into the room, adding a natural feel.
What are your tips for decorating with plants?
Decorating with palm leaves or palm fronds are a great alternative to fresh flowers since they last a few weeks—just remember to trim the stem an inch every week so they can keep taking in water.
How has travel influenced the way you design?
I try to always bring back a small decor momento from my travels. Over the years, I’ve acquired quite a collection of globally influenced knick knacks, and they absolutely find themselves incorporated into my decor. In fact, the shelves in the living room were curated to incorporate a few of these souvenirs, including porcupine quills from our honeymoon in Africa and llama figurines from a market in La Paz, Bolivia where I shot my “ Far Far Away ” series.
How has photography?
When I’m working, I look for the composition and combination of colors within a single shot, so I think it’s fair to say I do the same when it comes to decor. I want something to feel engaging, harmonious, and perhaps a bit unexpected to keep it interesting.
Do you have a favorite part of the space?
Can all of it be my favorite? If I had to pick, I would have to say the combination of prints from the “ Bon Voyage ” and ”Coral Casino” series as artwork for the space. They both evoke a glamorous ‘yesteryear’ lifestyle that perfectly accentuates the pink sofas and chicly muted color palette of the room.
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