In many ways, Claudia Afshar was born with great taste and a keen design sense. She was raised between London and the British countryside, and at a young age, apprenticed at her mother’s award winning interior design firm, Living in Space, while learning architectural design and ground-up development from her father’s successful large-scale property firm. With an understanding of all elements of the design and renovation process, she’s able to effortlessly bring her clients’ visions to life.

This Malibu home started quite dark and moody, with a poor layout — her client desperately wanted it to better reflect her calm, California lifestyle. Soon after, Claudia and her team at Claudia Afshar Luxury Interiors transformed it into a meditative oasis. It’s got charming Scandinavian details alongside classic California coastal design. The designer recently told us more:

Tell us about this property. Did its location impact your design plan at all?
The property is located by the beach in Malibu. We definitely wanted to incorporate the beachy relaxed setting into the home with lots of natural materials and a neutral color palette. We also wanted to take full advantage of the indoor-outdoor living with a complete upgrade to the large deck overlooking the ocean – including a comfortable lounge area and updated landscaping throughout.

We’d love to know a bit about your client! What were her top requests when you began the design process?
Our client is a world champion horse rider who has an active, spiritual lifestyle. She wanted her home to be a peaceful sanctuary where she could come home and recharge between her travels and competitions. It’s also a place where she hosts her clients and cooks lots of healthy broths and juices. A fully equipped kitchen and a serene studio for meditation and yoga were must-haves. Minimalism and simplicity were some of our keywords while designing so the clutter and moody tones had to go. We were really in tune with our client from the beginning and are thrilled that everything came together as she wanted. 

The space was quite dark and moody, and you really transformed it. What were some of the key elements you brought in to make it bright and airy?
The home had beautiful herringbone oak floors throughout that were in pretty bad shape but by sanding them down and re-staining them in a custom white-wash finish we brightened up the whole space. We matched the floors with a light grey wood finish in the custom kitchen. In here we also increased the height of the upper cabinetry all the way up to the ceiling, utilizing the high ceilings to create a feeling of more space. We dressed the large windows with neutral sheers to keep all the natural light flowing in.

What do you love most about the design of this home?
Some of our favorite spaces in the home are the primary and guest bathrooms. We used a hand-applied custom microcement finish on all floors and walls – a seamless waterproof alternative to tile – in a soft grey tone customized to each bathroom. The primary was finished with plumbing fixtures from Crosswater London and an oversized round mirror by Antonio Lupi, creating an impressive– yet calming, spa-like feel. 

We wanted to create a kitchen with a Scandinavian feel and spent lots of attention to each and every detail. All the appliances are hidden and we even enclosed an area to create a juice station, equipped with a fridge drawer for all the veggies and fruits as well as shelf space for all things our client needed to blend up a delicious juice or smoothie. The beautiful marble countertops were finished with a thin edge floating detail to complement the minimalistic style. The barstools from Gubi in black metal and vinyl leather also complement the Scandinavian look.

Are there any furniture or decor pieces that you feel made the space?
In the bedroom, the Ackley Bed from Claudia Afshar Design Collection fit the feminine, serene space with its white-washed teak wooden frame, upholstered headboard in white vinyl leather, and built-in nightstands. It was accompanied by a custom console table in grey stone which was decorated with our client’s personal treasures and crystals to create a relaxing meditation nook.

The Kew Sofa, also from Claudia Afshar Design Collection, right outside on the deck was finished in the same white-wash teak and a neutral Perennials fabric (great for both indoor and outdoor and especially fit for weather conditions close to the beach). Repeating some of the same finishes outdoors creates a flow through the home and a seamless transition between inside and outside. It’s a beautiful space to enjoy the afternoon sun and listen to the calming sound of the waves.

Take a tour in the slideshow.