We love when we get the opportunity to take a tour of a designer’s personal home. Usually filled with really special pieces and lots of personality, it’s the one place where restrictions are few and their personal style can take off. We immediately fell in love with one LA’s top residential and commercial designers, Mollie Ranize‘s home that she and her husband purchased just six months ago.
As the founder of DMAR Interiors, her 12 year-old design company, she had already crafted many spaces for others, but this one was special and finally achieved what her other two previous homes did not. We sat down with her to get the inside story on her LA home.
What kind of spaces were you living in before and how does this space differ?
Before we moved into our house we were living in a modern two-story loft in Hollywood. It had concrete floors and a very urban aesthetic. And before that, I was in a 600 square foot California style bungalow for almost a decade!
Each one seems quite different! What was the space like when you started the project?
Our house was really a blank slate because it was new construction. It was really well done but the place had no soul. We focused on bringing in pieces that would make the house feel like it has a history even though it has none. Every piece of furniture, every accessory, every piece of art is intentional and loved.
Adding a little old to new is always a good idea! Being a designer and already having had two other spaces of your own, was there anything you absolutely wanted or didn’t want this time around?
One non-negotiable when we started our house search was no flat ceilings. This home has 12 and a half foot vaulted ceilings, so I knew we could make it work. This really helps the flood of natural light and makes every room feel open and airy. Our old space was big but only got light from one side of the unit so for most of the day we were covered in shadows. Light makes all the difference on our mood!
Also, we really wanted grass for our senior dogs. They were really patient with urban Hollywood living and we wanted them to have the freedom to run some laps and get in a few good grass rolls.
Non-flat ceilings is an interesting yet relevant thing to think about when buying a home! What was your inspiration for the space? Where did you begin the project?
The project really began in the dining room. I have had the over-sized “Dark Wave” by Shepard Fairey for a number of years but never had a good place to showcase it. And I love it so much! Once that piece was on the wall it all just made sense with an industrial dining table and black mid-century dining chairs.
Now that I think about it, that little corner of the house says a lot about what my husband and I love and what our design aesthetic is. Large graphic statements, in a restricted color palette with soft and subtle details. That’s carried throughout our home.
So it seems like you have your own personal style down, were there any bold decisions you made that ended up working out?
The biggest design risk we took was deciding on a house that was new rather than one that had a ton of character that we could renovate to make truly “ours”. As a designer, I knew I would be missing out on a large opportunity to show my ability with none of the restrictions typically placed on us by clients. After living here and adding layers to the home, I know it was the right risk to take. We haven’t been this happy in any other home.
Being a designer, you must love a mix of high and low – can you share with us a budget piece and a splurge item you incorporated into the space?
My favorite budget item is a sofa that my husband purchased right before we meet. It’s 10 feet long, has a really durable neutral upholstery, is outrageously comfortable… and it is from IKEA. I’m not even embarrassed. It rocks.
I’d say our biggest splurge is, by far, the art which is featured in every room. I rarely buy expensive personal items, but it’s just impossible to say no to a good piece of art that speaks to you. All of our pieces create conversation and personalize our home.
Your company’s office is part of your home, tell us about your experience designing it and working there.
My company is nearly 12 years old and I started it out of a small spare room in a house I was renting in West Hollywood at the time. We then had an office in a quirky building on Melrose Avenue for a few years, but that had its own challenges. The moment we saw this house, I knew we could build out a functional and pleasant design studio. My brain started racing and I was really excited about the idea of a quiet, organized work environment.
I left the concrete floors raw to signal that this is a space to be creative and do work. It’s not too precious. But then I added some beautiful finishes like for the built-in. I designed it with bleached white oak and interlaced steel accents and it looks really luxurious. My custom desk, that my friend Eric at Eb design made for me out of a huge live edge piece of white oak with copper accents, is my prized possession.