Ellis took an approach that was clean, strong and neutral but full of interesting textures, adding pieces the homeowner will take with him no matter where he moves next.
Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here: A lawyer
Location: Studio City neighborhood of Los Angeles
Size: 1,731 square feet (161 square meters); three bedrooms, two bathrooms
Designer: Meredith Ellis of Meredith Ellis Design
This is the owner’s first home. He bought it after taking on his first job as a lawyer after law school. The previous homeowners had completed a renovation that left everything in great shape.
For the living room, he had his heart set on an L-shaped sectional and a TV over the fireplace. “We wanted to make this room comfortable for one but also have places for his buddies to come over and watch TV or have a casual dinner,” designer Meredith Ellis says. She talked him into a chaise on the sectional to maintain an open feeling between the living room and kitchen.
“We needed something round next to the sofa,” Ellis says of the seagrass coffee table. “I love to mix a lot of materials — wood, metal, bamboo, seagrass.” She also likes to mix styles. The Edward Wormley-style armchair came from the homeowner’s grandparents.
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A big part of the strategy was choosing furniture that would serve the client well for years to come. The console table is one of those pieces — it has a metal base and a wood top. Upholstered benches that serve as extra seating tuck underneath.
Wall paint: Pale Smoke by Benjamin Moore; trim paint: White Dove by Benjamin Moore; artwork: Nathan Turner for Dutch Touch
Ellis knew she needed to place the furniture in a way that would maintain an easy flow. She worked out a plan on paper that left clear pathways. For example, there’s about four feet between the back of the sofa and the windows.
Fig leaf pillows: Peter Dunham, Hollywood at Home
“The idea was to be more classic American bungalow instead of a California beach cottage,” Ellis says. “We wanted to keep things more simple and rustic, tailored and clean.”
Bar stools: Wisteria; counters: Absolute Black granite
Shelves hold some of the client’s favorite things. “We wind up starting a collection with each renovation for this family,” Ellis says. His collection, of vintage American metal tins is displayed on the shelves in this room.
Bookshelves: Ballard Designs
Skirted table fabric: Samarkand, Peter Dunham
The chairs with rush seats and backs were a worthy investment. “These chairs were a splurge, but they are so nice and well-made, if he should marry and move into a bigger house someday they would be great in a breakfast room,” Ellis says. They bring in interesting textures, as does the new light fixture overhead.
Chairs: Abigail dining side chairs, Redford House; table: Room and Board; light fixture: Curry and Company; document rails: Meredith Ellis Design
Rug: Dash and Albert
Ellis designed the walnut bed and had it made in Texas. “We wanted a contemporary bed that wasn’t too contemporary — we went for a four-poster with clean lines and in a pretty wood,” she says. The chest is an English antique that came with the client from his law school apartment.
Bed: custom, Meredith Ellis Designs; rug: Dash and Albert; indigo artwork: Art.com; blue pillow: Carolina Irving Textiles
“We mixed materials but stayed masculine and neutral,” she says. “While we wanted a somewhat contemporary look, we didn’t want anything to look too contemporary — basically, we didn’t want anything that if he winds up marrying, would make a woman say, ‘Oh my God!’ in horror,” she says with a laugh. Instead, she found pieces that will translate to other styles in future homes.