This Soulful Family Home Has a Touch of Whimsy—and We Love It
Fusing glam with kid-friendly isn't always an easy task, but Los Angeles–based interior designer Katie Hodges took the challenge head-on, and the results are nothing short of stunning. Publicist Stacey Heuser of The Narrative Group and her husband Evan needed to transform their 1930s Spanish bungalow in the Hollywood Hills to accommodate their growing family without compromising their personal style.
Hodges infused her signature modern bohemian vibe with a hint of glam and laid-back cool while keeping their practical needs (and finances) in mind. "First-time homebuyers don't always have the budget to purchase everything high-end and custom, so a big-picture outlook helped me figure out where to spend versus where to save," she told MyDomaine. To do this, Hodges invested in high quality upholstered seating while saving on dining chairs, as she says they can quickly add up.
Having rented for so long prior to purchasing the home, Hodges said the couple's furniture was a "mishmash of styles that lacked sentiment," which meant starting from scratch. "There's something exciting about that for me as a designer," she said. "The opportunity to lay the foundation for a client's new style and expose them to items they wouldn't have found on their own. The modern elements keep the space clean and tailored, while the vintage textiles and ethnic influences bring in a bit of soul and whimsy." In this exclusive tour, Hodges shares her direction for each room in the house, from the colour palette to the artwork.
When it came to the home's entryway, Hodges had two words in mind: welcoming and happy. Her desire to create a flow between the living and dining rooms influenced her design approach. "The entry was a great opportunity to bridge the gap between the serene yet playful living room and the sophisticated, neutral dining space," she told us. "While blue makes a strong statement here, it’s well balanced by the thin-frame modern console and textures in the basket, rug, and vintage lamp. Finding art on a budget was a major challenge, so I took to Etsy and found an artist who was happy to commission a piece for us."
Classic Spanish and midcentury styles mesh to create a living room that's equal parts laid-back and luxurious. Hodges played with textiles, brass, wood, art, and unique accessories. "Utilising various layers of texture on a neutral foundation creates depth and a space that feels lived-in and relaxed," she said.
The neutral colour scheme was heavily influenced by the "beautiful California sun that fills the room," she says. "I envisioned buttery camel leather in the lead role, and when I saw Brian Merriam's photograph, the colour palette of grays, indigo, and soft pastels followed suit," she added.
For family-friendly spaces that want a light-fabric sofa, Hodges recommends a high-quality, soft outdoor fabric. "It's much easier to clean, and unlike linen, it maintains its appearance after a good scrub-down."
While the overall look of the dining room is clean and simple (with a dash of Hodges's signature pattern mixing), she really wanted to bring the wow factor. "I went for a big statement with a pair of large art prints that lay the foundation in the room," she said. "Neutrals are elevated when you carefully mix pattern and texture. The Park Studio brass chandelier feels light and doesn't compete with the art, thus layering the two elements to create a mix that doesn't feel forced or contrived."
The project's biggest challenge was selecting and placing the home's artwork. "When a house has a lot of empty wall space in one eyeshot, it's important not be too redundant with the style and composition of the art," she said. "In the case of this house, you can see both the dining and living rooms for the entry, so maintaining a healthy mix was imperative to prevent the house from looking like an art gallery." To do this, Hodges selected a ceramic handmade wall-hanging in the dining room instead of another print or framed mirror, which would have been too repetitive. "I can't emphasise balance enough," she said. "Balance, balance, balance."
While the rest of the house is modern, Hodges chose to enhance the home's 1930s Spanish architecture on the outdoor patio. "A dark, slightly distressed dark wood dining table feels substantial and right at home among the original charming Spanish details that still stand as they were in the 1930s," she said. This also dictated the color palette. "Various tones of oranges, reds and burgundies don't compete with the original architecture and ceramic tile floors," she continued.
How do you design a home with a family-friendly focus?