Decor with a West Coast vibe

The Progress-Index - At Home - - RIGHT AT HOME - By Kim Cook

There’s no sin­gle def­i­ni­tion of Cal­i­for­nia style: The state’s de­sign sen­si­bil­i­ties are as var­ied and in­ter­est­ing as its ge­og­ra­phy and cli­mate.

You can get a Cali vibe go­ing in lots of dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions.

For in­stance, moody col­ors and a con­nec­tion with the tem­per­ate, conif­er­ous forests of North­ern Cal­i­for­nia char­ac­ter­ize that re­gion’s look. Think weath­ered woods, leathers, and bo­real for­est and coastal hues like indigo, dark green and stone.

South­ern Cal­i­for­nia’s a mix of surf-cul­ture ca­sual and movie-stu­dio glam­our. Chan­nel the sun and sand with beachy, “retro-mod­ern” hues (deep aqua, coral, sand) and re­claimed ma­te­ri­als. Spacy mid­cen­tury mod­ern fur­nish­ings in hot or­ange, white, turquoise and fire­ball red add punch.

“For me, quin­tes­sen­tial ‘Cal­i­for­nia Style’ is laid­back, hip and happy. Our gor­geous nat­u­ral light is the star, and we sup­port it with breezy fab­rics, nat­u­ral tex­tures and a re­laxed vibe,” says Kim Myles, Los An­ge­les­based win­ner of HGTV’s “De­sign Star.”

Her tips for as­pir­ing Cali-cool dec­o­ra­tors: “The key is to keep it ca­sual. Cal­i­for­nia style is the op­po­site of up­tight, so step away from high-main­te­nance fab­rics and fussy fin­ishes. Sim­plic­ity is your friend. One large state­ment — a sin­gle wall of color or a beau­ti­fully pat­terned rug — sup­ported by low-key fur­nish­ings is more Cali than a room full of fussy clut­ter.”

For that state­ment hue, con­sider Far­row & Ball’s “Yel­low­cake,” ‘’St. Giles Blue,” ‘’Ar­senic” and “Char­lotte’s Locks,” as well as Ben­jamin Moore’s “China White” and “Fresno.” (www.far­row­ ; www. ben­jam­ )

Moder­nica stocks a se­lec­tion of Eames-style fiber­glass chairs and Ge­orge Nel­son light­ing de­signs. (www.moder­ )

Wicker and rat­tan are great ma­te­ri­als for tak­ing ad­van­tage of — or just evok­ing — the in­door/out­door lifestyle. CB2’s Nest cof­fee ta­ble and Fray pen­dant fix­ture bring nat­u­ral tex­tures home. ( )

One of Myles’ fa­vorite sources is Black Hill De­sign, a fur­ni­ture stu­dio in Tuc­son, Ari­zona. Their hefty yet so­phis­ti­cated wood lamps, and cof­fee ta­bles like the lithe, mus­cu­lar Catalina have a crafted cool­ness. Jake Scott, Black Hill’s founder, thinks it’s the sim­plic­ity of his pieces that at­tracts Cal­i­for­ni­ans.

“The West Coast has that easy sen­si­bil­ity about it. Many Cal­i­for­ni­ans are in­her­ently con­nected with na­ture be­cause of the to­pog­ra­phy of the state,” he says. “I think my pieces re­flect some of that. .... Sim­ple, strong ma­te­ri­als with ad­her­ence to­ward a sin­gle form.” (­hillde­ )

You could go more glam­orous with Z Gal­lerie, the Cal­i­for­nia-based dé­cor re­tailer. Beveled glass rec­tan­gles frame a chic mir­ror, while a comfy white leather chair is framed in gold plated steel. (www. zgal­ )

If you’ve ever watched an episode of Bravo’s “Flip­ping Out,” which fea­tures Los An­ge­les de­signer Jeff Lewis’ ren­o­va­tion projects, you’ll rec­og­nize the name HD But­ter­cup, a fur­nish­ings re­tailer that Lewis of­ten vis­its with clients. They’ve got an online store too, with pieces like the Alain wal­nut side­board with hooped, forged-me­tal legs; the chan­nel-quilted Martin sa­lon chair; and con­tem­po­rary In­dian rugs. (www.hd­but­ter­ )

Pan-Pa­cific el­e­ments are part of Cal­i­for­nia’s de­sign DNA. As Menlo Park de­signer Rise Krag puts it, “We’re on a coast that shares tides with Asia, and there’s al­ways been a fu­sion of Eastern de­sign el­e­ments and phi­los­o­phy.”

Krag’s mother used to buy Asian rugs, trunks, cloi­sonné and other ob­jects in San Fran­cisco. Krag in­cor­po­rates sin­gu­lar pieces like a stepped, Ja­panese tansu chest with con­tem­po­rary dé­cor.

Check out Spot on Square, a Cal­i­for­ni­abased fur­ni­ture de­sign stu­dio, for its hip, spare Hiya tod­dler bed, crafted of ecofriendly birch and white MDF board. The Los An­ge­les de­sign shop Bend Goods in­ter­prets a tra­di­tional cap­tain’s chair in a new way, us­ing pow­der-coated or me­tal plated iron. (www.aplusr­ )


De­signer Jake Scott’s Ar­bol Lamp, crafted of wal­nut with brass fit­tings, is meant to evoke the el­e­men­tal beauty and strength of the tree.


Kim Myles shows a liv­ing room by L.A.based de­signer, Myles. Myles says color is a big el­e­ment of Cal­i­for­nia style — the col­ors of the sea, sand, sky, trees and flow­ers.

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