Yes, there is such a thing as a budget and Allison has extensive experience working within one. Deciding where to splurge and where to choose smartly is part of the adventure of the design process. Allison guides her clients to select furnishings that will realize their vision for the home while staying within their budget.
We all want our homes to be beautiful, but many of Allison’s clients come to her because they want to really live in their houses. Allison selects fabrics that are as durable as they are delightful and furnishings and floor coverings that stand up to real living. For design to be good it should also be resilient and lasting.
Balboa Renovation - The Paris Flat Look
Imagine a French woman strolling down a cobblestone street looking effortlessly chic in jeans, a half-tucked blouse, and a classic Chanel jacket. Well, Parisian décor should be thought of in exactly the same way… as having a certain “je ne sais quoi”! And let’s not try too hard… French homes have a sense of easy elegance that stems from a blending of original architectural details, vintage objects, new décor statements and most importantly, a tongue in cheek sense of humor. It’s the same laissez-faire attitude that works for both home and fashion.
Protect the bones
Even empty Paris apartments have serious style, much of which dates back for centuries. When I start many of my San Fernando Valley design projects, especially if its new construction, I’m literally looking at a white box. Paris Flat Reno already had great “bones” as I was able to ascertain at a walk through before my clients even committed to purchasing the project. A Tudor style stone exterior, mansard roof, high cathedral windows, paneling and thoughtful millwork throughout… this project had Frenchy vibes oozing out of every nook and cranny! Like its sources of inspiration, this house had some quirky layout challenges, but due to the charm it exuded, I took the lead from the French and was careful not to renovate the character out of the space.
Let (some) history repeat Itself
Many of the residences found in Paris today date back to the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Each space has its own history, quirks and family stories. My clients’ bought their home from a Valley family that lived in the home over 25 years. In making design decisions, I was mindful of the graceful architectural details that the previous family made and didn’t rush in to reinvent the wheel. A good renovation and design package should respect the homes’ original fine qualities as well as introduce new, modern luxuries and technology.
MIX AND MATCH: STYLE AND PRICE POINTS
BTW, the French woman I mention in the first paragraph… she’s wearing an H&M blouse and earrings paired successfully with her new and vintage designer pieces. This was my recipe for Paris Flat Reno. Chic French interiors are worldly and innovative and combine styles and periods. Family heirlooms, found objects, travel souvenirs, vintage pieces mixed with modern furnishings and finishes are all common place. Sadly, most of us don’t have access to our French great grandmothers’ antiques or unique Paris flea market finds, but online vintage shopping at sites such as Etsy and Chairish, can yield the same results. Taking a High/Low approach to design allows us to splurge on the “obsessed with” pieces and still fall within budget with our big box store and e-commerce purchases.
DON’T FORGET THE OOOO LA LA!
Who doesn’t love a bit of luxe glamour sprinkled here and there?! Any home can benefit from Frenchy touches such as gilded mirrors, vintage or “vintage style” lighting fixtures, intricate marble fabrications, European fabrics and wallpapers, trompe l’oeil and mural art and let’s not forget moldings and more moldings! Well, we certainly didn’t skimp on these items at Paris Flat Reno. 5 different rooms are wall papered, all different patterns, but following an Art Deco thread including cheetahs, oversized flowers and leaves, and subtle malachite textures. Interesting wall mirrors were sourced and refinished some to look traditional and others modern.
AVOID OVER-STAGING WITH NEW TREND ITEMS
My clients own a vast collection of books and art that have been in their families for many years. Some items denote certain decades while others look timeless. All are welcome! My client loosely arranged our new library built ins herself with her meaningful books and objects… all centered around an Impressionist painting of a French flower market that steered my color palette for the room. After a couple small tweaks and a few “trend” accessories added in, I took the lead from the French… leave well enough alone. In its current state, the library is bold and mismatched, but feels welcoming, like a REAL place to relax and actually read a book! At the end of the day, sentimental objects will always work regardless of their age.
DON’T BE A RULE FOLLOWER
The Paris design rule is….there are no rules. Blend colors, textures, time periods, whims, classic and modern ideas….and what could be more French than that?
We didn’t add any square feet to the house, but renovated every square inch.
The dining room boasts not one, but TWO wallpapers. Rather than a paneled look for the wainscotting, I opted for Anaglypta, a wipeable vinyl raised wallpaper from England. Thibaut’s Cheetah paper is used above the chair rail.
Our kitchen island is a whopping 11’ long. I’m convinced after much homework, I sourced the absolute largest slab of leathered Taj Mahal Quartzite in all of Los Angeles!
Our elegant palm frond chandelier hanging over the master tub may look like a Paris Flea find but I bought it from Overstock for under $200 and refinished in gleaming gold.
The antique round dining table complete with a built in Lazy Susan, a multi-wood species marquetry top, and stately Lion Claw feet was passed down to my clients because it fits the square dining room so perfectly. I refinished the piece in a deep,
chocolate brown stain.
The kitchen backsplash is actually a recycled glass and mirror mosaic from Oceanside Glass Tile.
The entire family room as well as most of the other custom upholstered pieces in the house are made in “performance fabrics” by Crypton Home. From Crypton Website: “Crypton is the smartest fabric you’ll ever meet. It resists stains, it beads liquids and it rejects odors and bacteria. It gives you freedom to live without compromise”.
The Pool Bathroom’s heavily veined flooring is Scala marble from Ann Sacks.