Every Room Has Its Own Happy Palette in This Therapist’s L.A. Home

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Usually, we hear stories about how homes are designed with others in mind (partners, kids, pets, extended family), but sometimes, we sit down with a homeowner who was lucky enough to concoct a home all for themself. When Katie Szymanski, a therapist and entrepreneur, bought her 1920s house at the top of a hill in Los Angeles’s Mount Washington neighborhood, she was single and ready to mingle—with interior designer Leah Ring of Another Human, that is. She asked Ring to help her fill her home with the items of her choosing. 

living room with green sofa and peach walls

But before Szymanski could get to decorating, she tweaked the room assignments to fit her current lifestyle. One of the guest bedrooms is now her walk-in closet, complete with floor-to-ceiling curtains made from a ’70s-feeling Kristy Stafford fabric. “It’s so functional because I can hide all the stuff behind the curtains and just hang out in there,” she says. “And it’s actually the best place to record audio [for podcasts and social media].” Then she turned what would be the only remaining guest room into a home office and sunroom meant for lounging and listening to records. She kept the largest space as her primary bedroom.

Blue wall and patterned curtain in closet
Benitier Light Fixture, Gong; Mid-Century Fabric, Kristy Stafford.
Green sunroom with pink togo chair
Kasmir Swansea Leaf Spa Fabric, Decorators Best; Olive Tree Trim Paint and Polar Lights Wall Paint; Benjamin Moore; Climbing Vine Rug, Nordic Knots.

Designing with only herself in mind also meant adding color, a thrill to Ring (and a major tenet of her work, which includes Molly Baz’s Altadena home). “Sometimes people get timid,” Ring says about convincing clients to get on board with the rainbow. “This project was so refreshing.” Much to the designer’s delight, every room got its own palette, but because most spaces are visible from one another, Ring had to make sure that each grouping was cohesive. 

view into dining room with floral wallpaper and yellow trim
View of kitchen from floral wallpapered dining room
Dining room view of floral wallpaper and dining table
Hollyhocks Wallpaper, House of Hackney; Wave Light Fixture, O’lampia; Dining Table, Arbor Exchange; Falling Star Paint, Benjamin Moore.

Some rooms benefited from one big splash of a color, like the kitchen, where periwinkle (specifically Benjamin Moore’s Summer Blue) coats the hardware-free cabinets and the hood. In the secondary bathroom, the pair went all in on teal tile and paint, then added a pop of pink stone to balance it all out. The living room is drenched in peach. And the sunroom got two shades of pale green: one on the walls and other on the trim. 

Periwinkle blue kitchen cabinets
Summer Blue Paint, Benjamin Moore.
Stove and periwinkle blue range hood to match the cabinets
Green bathroom tile in an archway and green walls
Turtle Tile, Arto; Pastille Light Fixture, RBW.

Choosing the shades for each room wasn’t just a lesson in color theory—it was also a psychological experiment. “I have an M.F.A. in studio art, so I’ve always been somebody who’s deeply affected, even emotionally, by aesthetic decisions,” Szymanski says. “Color makes me feel a certain way, and the ones we used in my home make me feel good, happy, and energized.”

primary bedroom with blue quilt and pale walls
Quilt, Lisa Corti; Ingo Maurer Light Fixture, Lumens; Ionic Column Wall Paint and New Retro Trim Paint, Benjamin Moore.
primary bedroom with vintage nightstand and curtains covering closet
primary bedroom wooden dresser
Primary bathroom with daisy-patterned tile
6-Inch Hexagon Tile in Neptune, Mustard Seed, and Ember, Fireclay; Allenglade Tripe Sconce, Rejuvenation; H-Line Faucet, Watermark.

Once the colors were settled, they layered in patterns, like the daisy tile arrangement in the primary bathroom, the Lisa Corti quilt on the bed, and the dining room’s House of Hackney floral wallpaper. Making those decisions was easy for Szymanski when she was only thinking of herself living there, but as she kept dating while the house was being designed, doubt started to creep in. “I was questioning my choices and thinking, what if my future partner doesn’t like it? But I had a friend who said, ‘Your future partner, if he’s the right fit, is going to love it because you love it.’” 

sunroom with desk and bench

When she did start dating someone during the reno, she didn’t change a thing, except to add a desk in the sunroom so they’d each have separate workspaces. And while she jokes that if he were doing it himself, everything would be black and taller to fit his 6-foot-6 frame, his verdict on her design style remains: “He just thinks it’s the coziest, happiest place.”

The Paint Palette

Summer Blue Paint

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Falling Star Paint

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Polar Lights Paint

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Olive Tree Paint

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Ionic Column Paint

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New Retro Paint

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Julie Vadnal Avatar

Julie Vadnal

Deputy Editor

Julie Vadnal is the deputy editor of Domino. She edits and writes stories about shopping for new and vintage furniture, covers new products (and the tastemakers who love them), and tours the homes of cool creatives. She lives in Brooklyn.