Home Staging and Interior Design

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In today's real estate market, your home needs to be buyer-ready. Fresh, unique and compelling. Styled to move quickly—and at the highest price. You have precious seconds to captivate a prospective buyer—and their experience begins at the curb. Today’s buyer needs to fall in love with your home in the first instant.

Since 2008, we have designed environments to entice buyers and encourage strong offers. No property is too large or small for us to show off its best features and highlight its unique qualities. At Madison Modern Home, we guide each project from beginning to completion with an eye toward exceptional quality and attention to detail. Homes we have styled stay on the market an average of six short weeks. Some have entered escrow within a mere 24 hours of listing. We ensure you'll experience a smooth transition from listed to sold.

Madison Modern Home is a family business, made up of a mother-daughter team


A natural-born interior designer, I have a keen eye for what works in a room, and a knack for sourcing just the right art and accessories to round out an environment. I spent 29 years in graphic design and creative direction.


Equally obsessed with design, I studied interior design at Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles. With an additional background in graphic design, I bring my unique artistic vision to each project.

Together, we tackle homes, condos, townhouses and apartments with talent, energy, a fresh perspective and superb client interaction.


best bar we’ve ever done, bar none

Wet bars. The concept is pretty passe. Once a staple in family homes of the 1950s and 60s, they were later relegated to the basements and “rumpus rooms” of the 70s and 80s. They all have a few things in common: a mirrored backsplash, exposed metal brackets and a grimy sink. No one ever uses them. Except for storage. 

When we first laid eyes on this tiny bar tucked into a nook in our client’s home, we thought “Let’s rip it out!”. However, after taking thoughtful notes on his needs and wants, he divulged that he worked as a bartender in his 20s. Not only did he have tons of booze, he also liked to throw soirées and needed a place to mix drinks. “It stays!” we cried out in unison (okay, maybe not — but we were excited)



See? Exposed shelving hardware, grimy sink and a dirty old mirror. Throughout the design process we kept thinking, “Mad Men, Mad Men, Mad Men”. We could just imagine our client getting up from his desk to stroll over to his very own bar at 10:30 am, and pour himself a Vodka Gimlet a la Roger Sterling. 


Taking cues from the incredible set design of the show, we chose a 60s-feel walnut wood tone for the cabinet and an organic-look grasscloth for the wall behind. A warm white countertop by Caesarstone is topped with a fresh Moen bar sink and a cornered gooseneck faucet. Here is our original design concept:


The obligatory progress shots:



Our contractor stained three simple floating shelves with a medium-gloss and picked up some brushed chrome piping that slides over the unsightly hardware. We finished it off with matching brushed chrome door handles and a sleek new bar light. Our client supplied the hooch!




The day construction finished, we quickly styled the shelves and our client hosted a shindig the very next day. Luckily, no ones legs were amputated by a John Deere lawn mower

3/4 bath cleans up nicely

Earwax orange is what we were reminded of when we first laid eyes on this hideous 3/4 bath. Why someone would paint that color in a bathroom, we’ll never know. Our client hired us to redesign this space to coordinate with the other design projects we were tackling in his home. We breathed a great sigh of relief and jumped right in. 

Here’s what we were dealing with:


See? Earwax. An aluminum frame shower door, Home Depot-special shiny white tile and white grout. Add some brass fixtures and one of those extendy-counter-over-the-toilet things and you’ve got a really BLAH bathroom.

Since this is a second bath attached to a guest room, we decided to have some fun. A clean gray palette allowed the introduction of bright colors in towels and accessories. We started off with this rendering to give everyone an idea of the design foundation:


Floating walnut vanity, glassed-in tub/shower combo. Modern Moen fixtures in brushed nickel and a cross-hatch patterned gray wall tile - inspired by a menswear weave, and also reminded us of our client’s J. Crew-heavy wardrobe:


Some in-between shots:



The finished room craved color. After a trip to The Container Store, we emerged with armfuls of bright bath accessories . 


We brought in a natural wood bath mat to contrast with the ash-toned floor tile. Sleek Moen shower trim updates the bathtub (which you would never know was reglazed, not replaced!) A simple wire wastebasket tucks in the small space between the Toto Drake II toilet and vanity.


Instagram-inspired photography hangs in brushed metal Crate & Barrel frames. We brought bright orange across the room in the form of hand towels. A brushed nickel framed mirror from West Elm tops out the vanity. 


Close-up of shower detail:


powder room: redux

Powder rooms are the jewel boxes of the home. Because they’re small and don’t require a shower or bath, they lend themselves to a high-personality treatment. Our client gave us carte blanche to create a warm, yet modern, powder room that would coordinate with the updated mid-century modern style we were incorporating in other rooms of his home. 

Here’s what we were dealing with:


Builder grade fixtures, pink-tinged cabinetry, molded fiberglass countertop and sink, plain white square floor tile and Hollywood makeup lights circa 1992.

Our design goal was to envelope the tiny room with textural warmth, and add flattering lighting while retaining a sleek, mid-century modern feel. These preliminary models were rendered to show our client and contractor the look and feel we were after:


First things first, Johnny installing the grasscloth on the walls:


After some consideration (and grabbing some awesome tile on sale) we switched up the black floor tile idea for a white one with a subtle strie pattern. We also went with a single drawer vanity to simplify the space. 


A Caesarstone countertop with a rectangular undermount sink and Moen Level series faucet update what used to be a cookie-cutter condo half bath. We chose a warm walnut finish and a sleek, singular drawer-front for our floating vanity. Our choice was inspired by the look of a modernist credenza. 


Calvin Klein hand towels bring a masculine geometric pattern into the space, contrasting nicely with the subtle stripes of the grasscloth. Inexpensive RIBBA frames from IKEA hold original graphic charcoal drawings to add a little edge to the soothing space. 


We chose brushed nickel for all our metal finishes. Including a beveled mirror we found at Lamps Plus for half-price. We flanked the mirror with George Kovacs sconces and topped the counter with a “Penguin” soap pump from The Container Store.


No surface was safe in this bathroom. We changed everything from the floor up, including the toilet. We brought in a Drake II by Toto and fresh white baseboards. The floor tile is 12x24, chosen for its large scale, and installed in running bond. 

traditional home staging is all in the details

Getting it right in staging a traditional home has everything to do with details. If you start with your large furnishings in neutral tones and transitional shapes, you can create an updated take on traditional just by adding key accessories, like lamps, rugs, art, vases and other decorative items. With a strong neutral backdrop, all you need is a palette of soft, muted tones of russet, sage green, linen, taupe and dark brown. Keep it simple, and be sure to add pattern in the form of Navajo or Kilim rugs, and texture in pillows and rugs, like sisal, linen and jute. This lovely Glendale, CA home is a perfect example of a traditional home that appeals to today’s modern family. The home is listed by Craig Farestveit of Craig Estates & Fine Properties. See the real estate listing here


Soft neutral colors prevail in this large living room featuring a brick fireplace. We put two off-white sofas facing each other on top of a sisal rug, then layered a colorful kilim at a slight angle over that. A round cocktail table in warm wood has a lower shelf for remotes and books.


The room boasts a cozy window seat which we accented with large burlap pillows.


Crisp white walls and vaulted, beamed ceilings are the perfect canvas on which to wash our muted traditional color palette.


A formal dining room is seen in the background. An antique marble-topped console table to the left holds a glass lamp with a burlap shade.


Four white slipcovered Parsons chairs pull up to a traditional medium tone wood dining table under a contemporary chandelier in this neutral space with an updated modernity.


Red-orange napkins pop against the white plates and woven placemats. Soft sheer accordion shades place the scene in a serene light.


A jute rug underfoot is the basis for a neutral color scheme of brown and beige in this family room or den. Modern lines on the sofa tie into the glass topped round cocktail table. An off-white club chair provides a cozy spot for reading or relaxing with a glass of wine.


Two maple bar stools pull up to a gray granite counter top in this updated kitchen. In the background, simple white cabinetry and a sculptural stove hood add a modern touch.


A guest bedroom in tones of white and blue. We carried the blue into all the details, like pillows, art and even book covers.

In a child’s bedroom, we used a great traditional go-to color palette of red, white and blue. But the tones are tempered, not too bright and are grounded by dark wood furniture, like this vintage child’s bed.

One Chair — Two Ways

Last year, we scored a gorgeous wing chair for under $300 at a going-out-of-business sale. Clad in a gray linen, she was tall and elegant — and just understated enough to use in multiple projects. To say we loved her is an understatement.

Here she is, making an appearance in a Silver Lake staging:

After an epic and uncharacteristic-of-L.A. rainstorm, we opened the door to one of our storage facilities to find this:

There she was. Water-stained, cold and shivering.

Dismayed, we put her aside for a while. She sat unused and pitiful in our storage unit while we tried to push through the negativity and carry on. Several weeks later, we met Jessie Genie and her Downtown L.A. loft. Enamored of the myriad bespoke pieces in Jessie’s home, we asked where she was taking her furniture for such awesome upholstery work. “Chemo’s!”, she exclaimed (pronounced “CHEE-mohs”). After a quick Yelp consult (five stars!), we threw our prized chair in the back of the van and headed out to West L.A. We stopped at Mood on Pico and La Cienega for a rich, ochre corduroy fabric on the way. To change it up even more, we asked for some self-welting and a quadrant of button tufts.

Three weeks and three hundred dollars later… BEHOLD!

She’s currently taking up residence in our soon-to-be-redecorated office here at Madison Modern Home. But keep your eyes peeled in future blog posts — she might turn up somewhere unexpected!

injecting an office with palm springs color and style

Our client gave us a specific design directive: Make his office feel like Palm Springs. That of-the-moment Jonathan Adler style that mixes bold, colorful elements with masculine hits of metallic for an environment that’s anything but workaday. This office had to be taken seriously — along with its inhabitant. But serious doesn’t necessarily preclude fun. Or a magenta door, for that matter. In this redesign, we completely reworked every surface of this small space to envelop it in warmth, unique personality and vibrancy. It now speaks to its owner’s sophisticated and eclectic tastes, while accommodating his comfort, both during long work days and those late-night-deadline hours.

After the initial consultation with our client, we created a Mood Board showing our overall design direction.The design plan needed to address: 1) his need for light control due to a wall of large industrial windows that flooded the space with harsh light year-round, 2) plain white walls, 3) a place for his set of four hard-earned college diplomas, 4) a way to display original art and prints, 5) alternative lighting to counteract the overhead fluorescent fixtures, 6) a solution to the institutional style linoleum flooring, 7) a way to incorporate his computer monitor into a gallery wall, and 8) unique seating for his guests and visitors.


We chose a color scheme of deep, moody navy and gray with orange, magenta, white and gold accents. Benjamin Moore paint in a two-tone stripe, with navy on the bottom 2/3 of the wall and gray on the top 1/3 wraps the room in a soft cocoon. Magenta makes a star appearance on the large door’s interior, making a strong, glossy color statement. A vintage 1960s orange lamp we found on etsy wakes up a corner with soft pools of light. Original watercolors and Instagram style photography also found on etsy pick up the accent colors. We chose teak-finish Allure vinyl flooring to warm the floor and crisp white roller shades for light control that wouldn’t block his view of the trees outside.

We took before photos of the space:


We had to work with our client’s existing bamboo-finish desk. This constraint proved to be a challenge, which we mitigated through the dark navy walls, against which the lightness of the desk would pop. The institutional flooring lacks charm, and a pair of standard office chairs offers no contrast or color.


The next step was to create design renderings to show our client what to expect from the finished design:



The finished room, showing a gallery wall of curated art from etsy, framed at Downtown Framing Outlet in matching white frames. Two white Saarinen style tulip chairs with orange cushions pop against the navy wall and teak finish floor.


Our client’s Mac monitor is now incorporated into the gallery wall, which includes a wood-framed clock from IKEA.


Our client’s four diplomas were framed in narrow gold frames with large white mats and hung in a quadrant for maximum impact. The point where the gray begins in the two-tone wall lines up with the center mullion of the windows for sleek effect. The frames pop just above that line. We had the metal window frames painted white for even more freshness.


An original Kymm Swank abstract on the wall above the tulip chairs. An almost identical painting, also by Swank, appeared in the dining room scenes in Don Draper’s apartment on Mad Men, inspiring our client to want to own an original Swank.


We pulled colors from the painting to accent the office, including the lush magenta on the door.


The 1960s lamp glows against the more serious wall color and carries the orange of the chair cushions across the room. Textural, metallic accessories complement the smoother surfaces of the lamp and a light aqua vase.



Desk accessories and a gooseneck lamp in white lighten the space, tying into the window treatment and molding. Bright tones in the framed art link back to the vivid abstract on the adjacent wall.


makin’ whoopie (pies, that is)

Each year we bake something special for our clients for the holidays. Last year, it was French macarons, and this year, we dipped our toes into Whoopie Pie making. Using an adaptation of a Food Network recipe, we opted for the classic Whoopie: chocolate with creamy white filling.



3 cups sugar

1 cup butter

4 eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

6 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups milk

Filling, recipe follows


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, or preheat a convection oven to 315 degrees F. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter, and eggs together until well combined. Add the oil and vanilla and beat again. In a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Add half of the dry mixture to the egg mixture and beat or stir to blend. Add 1 1/2 cups milk and beat again. Add the remaining dry mixture and beat until incorporated. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk and beat until blended. With a large spoon, scoop out 32 circles of batter onto a baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool. Spread filling onto 16 circles and place remaining circles on top, to make 16 Whoopie Pies.


1 1/2 cups shortening

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 1/3 cups marshmallow topping

Dash salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 to 1/2 cup milk

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine all ingredients except the milk and beat well. Add just enough milk to achieve a creamy consistency. Spread filling across cooled cookie circles.

We nestled them into green and white tissue paper and packaged them in white bakery boxes.


Rachel designed a Madison Modern Home label with holiday wishes that we affixed to the top of the boxes with double-stick tape.


diy: metallic patterned candleholders made from supermarket candles

We’d been eyeing designer candles in patterned metallics all year when we realized we could create our own for a lot less. Simple white pillar candles in glass jars from the grocery store and leftover pieces of Christmas tree trunk are ideal candidates for a holiday overhaul. For some added color in your display, treat inexpensive glass ball ornaments to a glossy metallic two-tone finish. These three fun and easy DIY projects can add a festive accent to a mantel or table.

A found branch with hand-painted tree trunk ornaments and two-tone glass ornaments crowns this holiday display.

To create all the decorations seen here, you will need:

  • White glass-encased supermarket candles
  • Tree trunk sections (we got ours from the tree lot)
  • Solid color glass ball ornaments
  • Small paintbrushes
  • Craft paint in white, metallic silver and metallic gold
  • Masking tape in various widths

Tree Trunk Ornaments

Drill a small hole at the top of each section of wood.

Draw a design freehand with different-colored craft paints. We chose a retro design in white and gold to match our kitschy display.

Pull twine through the hole and tie it off at the top.


1. Tape off the glass candles in different patterns. We chose plaid, chevron, horizontal stripes, triangles and a faux bois.

2. Apply a layer of white craft paint as primer over the entire surface of the candleholder. Allow the paint to dry completely, according to the instructions on the paint bottle.

3. Apply a layer of metallic gold or silver paint over the primer. Allow it to dry overnight.

4. Carefully remove the tape from the glass.

Glass Ornaments

1. Tape off the ornaments in different patterns. We chose chevron, triangles, stripes and halved.

2. Apply a layer of white craft paint as primer over the taped-off portions of the ornaments. Allow it to dry thoroughly, according to the instructions on the paint bottle.

3. Apply a layer of metallic gold or silver paint over the primer. Allow it to dry overnight.

4. Carefully remove the tape from the ornaments to reveal the two-tone finish.

Here is the end result. For a mantel display, casually arrange evergreen boughs on top of your mantel. Stagger the heights of the candles around the boughs by propping some up with extra trunk sections. Nestle painted ornaments and wood sections between the candles. Tuck a large found branch into a vessel and hang your finished glass and wood ornaments on it.

To round out our display, we piled some firewood and leftover boughs into a patterned basket and taped the other glass ornaments at varied heights under the mantel.

a study in contrasts

Sometimes when we stage a home, we don’t exactly know what our color scheme will be. As we’ve blogged about before, sometimes a house just simply “spits out” what won’t work. This Elysian Valley home wanted to be decked out in black, white, warm orange and amber, with touches of subtle green. We tried out various more colorful pieces of art and pillows and ended up not using them. The large windows in each room served as art in themselves, augmented and enhanced by a neutral palette with hits of high contrast.

The living room features a neutral leather sofa with simple Mid Century modern lines and subtle tufting. We accented it with a Navajo style pillow and a Mexican rug. A clean-lined coffee table adds warmth. We used a white arc lamp for its neutral but eye catching detail.

We tucked a bentwood Thonet chair in the corner along with a small vintage table. The B&W fabric on the chair’s upholstered seat echoes the rug and bold pillow.

A closeup of the sofa. We love IKEA’s new line of Navajo-inspired pieces, like this pillow.

We found the log ashtray at a thrift store in Venice, CA. Super cute. In the background, you get a peek into the dining room.

The Mid Century modern coffee table was sourced for $20 at a Silverlake shop and we had it refinished at Pepe’s Furniture in Echo Park for a refreshed look.

Two corners working together. The flip side of the living room corner was the perfect spot to put our beloved rabbit painting and a small pedestal table.

By swapping out our arc lamp’s previous bright orange shade for a white one, we’ve created a whole new lamp. A vintage wooden bowl, a faceted fox sculpture from Target and interesting books decorate the coffee table. The curtains throughout the house are from Nate Berkus’ new line for Target.

We paired a traditional wooden pedestal dining table with modern clear acrylic chairs. We set the table simply and highlighted it with russet orange napkins.

We love how the acrylic chairs (The TOBIAS chair from IKEA) seem to disappear and how they contrast with the table’s traditional lines and gleam against the dark hardwood floors.

A pair of vintage brass candle holders brings a touch of warmth to the tabletop.

The large dining room pendant informed our choices of finishes in the room. Its warm wood tone dictated that we ground the space with a similar-finish table. This is an example of how fixed features in a home inspire our choices. Any other design direction just wouldn’t have made sense. This way, our design heightens the effect of existing fixtures that will stay with the home long after the staging comes down.

A view toward the kitchen shows the basket wall and the two DALFRED bar stools from IKEA which we pulled up to the breakfast bar. In the foreground, a closeup of the coffee table.

A sideboard in a matching wood tone is set into the dining alcove. It’s just the right height to hang a large Art Nouveau poster above.

We carried the color story of russet orange into the master bedroom. Faux silk curtains in a taupe tone play well with others, especially this orange. A nubby throw inhabits the foot of the bed.

A vintage dresser and lamp finish out the space, and framed neutral-tone etchings soothe and calm. Simple baskets decorate the dresser top and an African basket holds a cache of books.

A modern tripod table and vintage lamp elevated by white books to one side of the bed (IKEA’s MALM).

We found the orange crewel work pillow at Home Goods. Its texture plays well against the solid orange silk pillow behind it.

behind the red door

Before you even set foot inside the Altadena home we recently staged, you’re met with a cute updated traditional exterior and a bright red front door. Sure, lots of people paint their front doors red. But what makes this home unique is that the door is painted red on the inside as well. Many might think this an obstacle to their design plan. We considered it a great opportunity. Our first thoughts were: Let’s pull together our bright red furniture, art and accent pieces… We can finally use them here with abandon!

We started the living room design with the grounding influence of a dark brown sofa, then added a Fair Isle-influenced kilim rug in soft tones of blue, green and tan. A handmade reclaimed wood coffee table takes center stage.

Here’s a view into the living room…

Over the mantel, we chose a Picasso print with red, blue and tan colors to carry the red across the room. A small-scale white slip-covered lounge chair and a traditional cottage-style floor lamp lend a cozy factor.

The reclaimed wood table was a craigslist find.

The small red side table was sourced at Crate and Barrel. We found the rug at Target. Blue and red books on the coffee table echo the tones in the art.

Is there a better way to use red in a room than via a red Modernica Eames style molded plastic rocker? We think not. Topped with a white sheepskin, it’s virtually begging to be sat in.

We paired the Modernica rocker with our tree stump side table on casters, the unofficial mascot of Madison Modern Home.

A wicker elephant and a Jonathan Adler vase on the mantel. Below, a view into the kitchen.

We pulled a couple of counter-height bar stools up to the granite breakfast bar

Closeup shot of a little wooden elephant box we found.

We styled the guest bedroom in neutral tones and carried red into the room via a bright pillow.

One of our favorite touches: a straw basket with a throw peeking out. We tucked some DIY book bundles tied with twine on the bottom shelf of the Victoria Hagan table we found at Target and reinvented in white.

The office sports an IKEA MELLTORP table used as a desk, a red Tolix chair, a retro starburst clock and various vintage accents.

The master bedroom’s bright white bedding is treated to rich contrast with red-patterned kilim style pillows. We put an industrial gray Tolix chair in the corner for an earthy touch.


The bathroom is styled with simple global accents to complement the earthy textures and modern fixtures. We framed a 1950s face cream ad and put it over the toilet.

traditional meets modern in the glendale hills

Glendale’s Verdugo Woodlands neighborhood is a quiet, peaceful spot filled with lovely traditional homes. We recently had the opportunity to stage our second Woodlands home, currently occupied by a family of three. The family owned some lovely antiques which we were able to use in our staging. We added some modern elements to create a transitional space that appeals to all.

The space has dark wood floors, soft wall colors and lots of original details like moldings and a great fireplace.

We started with the entry way, in which we used the family’s Craftsman console table accented with our accessories.

We styled the living room with an off-white sofa and matching lounge chair, a transitional console table and pops of orange and gray.

A glass-top cocktail table virtually disappears in the room, but offers the gleam of glass. A mirror over the console bounces light around the room.

A pair of red foo dogs on the mantel tie into the deep orange pillow on the chair and the orange throw on the sofa.

A light aqua porcelain lamp is a great complement to the orange in the room.

A view over the sofa shows the entry way and the second bedroom. The homeowner’s vintage milking stool serves as a small side table.

A view into the dining room. We styled an existing antique table with a glass lamp, a stack of books and a handwoven basket.

We paired a traditional dining table with four long slipcovered chairs and the homeowner’s matching dining chairs as head chairs. A plate wall is seen in the background.

A china cabinet is filled with white dishes, a la Martha Stewart.

We styled the den off the living room to be a cozy library/man cave. We set up a little bar area on an antique marble top table and styled a bookcase with an ample amount of books and interesting antiquities. A wingback chair and tripod lamp increase the cozy factor. We put a neutral sisal rug underneath it all.

A French advertising poster brings rich color into the room.

A decoy duck was the perfect touch.

A view from the den into the living room.

The master bedroom’s traditional four-poster bed just needed to wake up a little. Red lamps with curvy bases, natural baskets under the bed and a fresh color palette add just the right modern touches.

A selection of traditional pillows on the master bedroom’s cozy window seat.

The second bedroom was treated to a soft color scheme of white, gray and gold.

A French Provincial style dresser inspired the choice of the Eiffel Tower print.

The nicely remodeled bathroom needed only a few accessories.

We put a black pedestal table and ladder back chairs into the breakfast nook and styled the tabletop with yellow, white and black dishes and pottery.

(Source: )

coastal goes urban-style in venice, ca

If there is such a thing as urban coastal style, this home would qualify. It’s a well-done remodel of a corner-lot home in a great neighborhood. Namely, the Westside’s artsy jewel, Venice. Blessed with near-perfect weather, family-friendly neighborhoods and easy access to the beach, Venice has much to offer the prospective buyer.

We love a house with good architectural bones, white walls and lots of light. And this one has it all.

The home begged to be treated with some coastal respect… and that’s just what we did. Coastal gone wrong is so, well, wrong. So we wanted to do coastal right. In other words, hints of sand, sea and sky colors with subtle references to the briny blue sea without the need to sing sea chanteys in unison… If you know what we mean. Hence the term: Urban Coastal. I believe you heard it here first, folks.

First we put down a sisal rug for some beachy sand color, topped it with a cowhide rug at a jaunty angle, and a glass cocktail table for maximum show-through potential. We chose a sofa in a wet-sand color.

We love how the found manzanita branch intertwines against the other accessories on the cocktail table’s glass top.

The blue canvas is a Rachel Moore original. We love how it reads coastal but with attitude.

A view toward the fireplace reveals a root table accessorized with books and a basket. We kept the art minimalist, featuring a lot of B&W photography, especially of nature themes. The floors are hickory and the fireplace features tile insets.

The low credenza holds matching tall lamps with a Jonathan Adler-inspired Regency design and an eclectic display of global and modern accessories.

A view toward the wall of windows shows this home’s indoor-outdoor living concept. The doors open onto an expansive deck.

We love to style cocktail tables. In this case, a combination of books, a brass tray, a quirky toucan ashtray, a vintage wooden box and a manzanita branch all tell a unique design story when they share a tabletop.

We put an Eames-style molded plastic dowel-leg chair next to the fireplace.

Next to the living room is a dining area. We used more sea colors here, tempered with B&W, adding a pop of orange as an accent color.

We put a sea-glass colored antique demijon on the modern Parsons style dining table for beachy color.

The dining area as viewed from the other side. Almost every vantage point in this room offers views of the back yard and deck. Rust place mats and square white stoneware provide contrast and pick up on the colors in the Picasso print. A vase of orange flowers adds just the right note.

The owners put a vintage Wedgewood stove into the completely remodeled kitchen for a bit of charm. We loved that bold move on their part. (Hey, it takes guts to buck the whole Wolf range trend).

We kept our kitchen styling to a minimum, featuring complements to the earthy colors.

The master bedroom is awash in white and about as calm, soothing and coastal as it ever has to get. Aaaaahhhh…..

The painting is a DIY collage that Robin put together and the gray ikat throw at the foot of the bed was sourced at a neighbor’s garage sale.

We styled one of the other bedrooms in shades of burlap and navy, textural and neutral. A starburst mirror over the bed creates a mesmerizing effect.

A Nelson bench is accented with books, a basket holding a throw blanket and fresh yellow flowers in a hand-thrown vase.

A small white pedestal table holds a simple lamp. A stack of books is nearby for easy access.

The third bedroom is staged as an office, with B&W medallion print curtains, a black desk and a modern white chair.

eclectic artist’s retreat in montecito heights

When we got the call to stage an artist’s retreat (or compound, as the realtor is calling it) in the NELA neighborhood of Montecito Heights, we were intrigued. We know someone who lives in the area, and we like the rolling hills and open space that’s visible from these properties. The duplex we were to stage in the next day or so was a two-bedroom, two-bath space with a detached studio/office building. Surrounded by a huge, flat side yard, the corner property had been completely remodeled and all it needed was some personality.

We brought in a small-scale sofa with Mid Century modern lines, a Plycraft lounge chair and an MCM coffee table (from Pepe’s Furniture in Echo Park). Some art, a vintage lamp, and a few pillows and throws later, what was once a little stark felt cozy and lived in.

A vintage magazine rack holds Dwell magazines while a Suzani and a velvet pillow add warm color. We found the B&W art above the sofa at a neighbor’s yard sale.

The chevron throw is a thrift store find, as are the baskets and deer figurine (many items have been sourced at the Glendale Goodwill on Brand Blvd., our secret weapon). The floor lamp is from IKEA.

We found the dining table on craigslist and paired it with IKEA chairs and a Flokati rug. On the wall, a diverse display of art and vintage dust brooms (yes, dust brooms. They make great wall decorations!). On the table, a large African basket.

A view from the dining room into the living room reveals a wall of large vintage portraits sourced at estate sales and from a colleague.

A close up of the portrait wall and a peek into the kitchen.

A view from the hallway into the dining room. More vintage art sourced at an artist’s garage sale.

The master bedroom is accented by an orange arc lamp sourced at Pepe’s and a kilim rug we found on

African baskets, books and eclectic objects. A vintage chair stands to the side of the MCM dresser.

A vintage photograph and some interesting paper in a frame above the retro bedside table and lamp.

We love basket walls and have amassed a great collection of African baskets. The global fabric runner at the end of the bed was found at a thrift store in Mentone, CA.

In the second bedroom, a color scheme of blue, white and soft red.

We found the needlepoint deer at the same Mentone shop. The elephant batik was a Pepe’s score and the vintage oil painting is from the 1970s.

One of the two bathrooms was treated to a B&W color scheme.

We styled the studio as an office with a vintage-style desk, industrial swivel chair and a varied selection of art.

art aerie in mt. washington

An aerie is described as “a house, fortress or the like, located high on a hill or mountain.” An art aerie would have to be a house high on a hill filled with art. That’s exactly what the house on Glenalbyn Drive in L.A.’s trendy Mt. Washington area became once we staged it. Working with amazing canvases from local Eastside artists Carlos Nieto and Michael Rascon, we brought a Mid Century modern vibe and jolts of fresh color into this stunning architectural home with high vaulted ceilings and white gallery-ready walls.

Perched on the edge of a hill on the more rural side of Mt. Washington, the house on Glenalbyn proved the ideal venue for evocative art and modern furnishings.


We love Carlos Nieto’s paintings of succulents and lined them up in the entry.

The living room features two modern lounge chairs and a matching sofa with tufting, a faux-guchi (faux Noguchi) coffee table and an arc lamp. Half of Michael Rascon’s X-ray Horse is seen on the left of the sofa…

… and the other half on the right. We used dark upholstered furniture and deeply stained wood to contrast with the light bamboo flooring and white walls.

We added pops of color to tie-in visually with the art, like pillows and throws with vivid shades of orange and brown.

A curvy modern vase, a few books and a wire magazine holder with Nat Geos are all that’s needed to accent the scene.

Over the mantel, another piece by Michael Rascon, depicting a woman with her hand over her face, bringing in more rich and bright colors.

An IKEA SANDSKAR table holds an aged-finish vintage brass tray.

The dining area, to the left of the fireplace. A large chandelier defines the space. We brought in a transitional dark wood table and acrylic TOBIAS chairs from IKEA because they virtually disappear. More original art on the walls, earthy stoneware and a trio of simple vases.

A view into the kitchen from the open concept dining area reveals massive butcher block counter tops and crisp white cabinets.

A view from the dining area into the living room.

We lined up four acrylic bar stools along the bar to match the dining chairs.

New stainless steel appliances and high contrast white and wood combine in this large “cook’s kitchen.” We had a lot of fun styling the space both over and under the upper cabinets.

Rattan-wrapped glassware, artisanal plates and more art in the kitchen. Views out the kitchen window — and from all over the house — stretch across the L.A. river basin.

A vintage wicker-wrapped wine bottle with cookbooks in the background.

A trip down the stairs to the bedroom level treats the eye with another Carlos Nieto original painting. This one depicts an Aztec goddess with a python.

The master bedroom with modern style bed and paperclip leg side tables from Modernica. Glass lamps, a jute rug, a Mexican blanket and a Navajo inspired pillow add a visual jolt in B&W but don’t distract.

A Carlos Nieto painting of a woman with paper cranes in the master bedroom. A Mid Century modern style dresser provides an anchor point below the painting.

Simple original B&W photographs of nature scenes fill out the opposite wall.

An African figurine stands guard on a bedside table.

A few blue and violet accents on the dresser top, with the flesh tones of the painting in the background.

A view into the master bedroom from the hallway leading to the master bath.

We love small global accents for bedside tables, like these boxes.

The home office is modern, clean and spare, with IKEA’s VITTSJO laptop desk and NANDOR chair. A green 1950s meets 1980s retro style chair with a B&W throw and a framed photo of a ship’s bow.

We put a LACK storage unit on its side and accented it with a handmade vintage pottery lamp and some sweet details.

We found a 1970s Italian ski poster and a random drawing of a book author to frame.

The guest room with a dark headboard flanked by a pair of Mid Century modern style nightstands.

We bought the Art Nouveau poster for $4.99 at a thrift shop and framed it in IKEA’s largest RIBBA frame at $24.99. Instant art credibility.

The master bathroom is a symphony in blue and green glass mosaic tile. A serene and peaceful retreat from the stresses of modern life. We brought in the only thing that was missing — earthiness and comfort in the form of global, ethnic wooden accents and fluffy towels.

A yoga/meditation room off the master hallway is treated to a cozy tribal pattern rug and large B&W nature photography.

A couple of free weights and yoga mats and a few pillows on the floor are all that’s needed to identify this as a space solely for the refreshment of body and mind.

An original oil painting of a nude in the master hallway.

We love styling bathrooms with original and quirky global accents.

We found the vaguely Thai looking female figure at a vintage shop, and have given her the job of guarding the sponge and soap.