A note from our editors: 

It’s time for one of our favorite traditions! Each year, we spend the holidays reflecting on the stories and articles you loved most. It’s the “Best of Rue” and this is one of 2020’s top stories. Enjoy!

Previously published on July 9, 2020:

Aly Morford is one-half of the founders of the interior design firm Pure Salt Interiors with best friend and business partner Leigh Lincoln. Through her work, she has brought a casual, collected, and coastal concept to many of her clients’ homes. Her sweet bungalow in East Side Costa Mesa, where she resides with her husband, three girls, and mother-in-law, is no exception – its whitewashed exterior with a picket fence and soothing textural decor fit the firm’s signature aesthetic to a T. 

“The home was built in 1927, I’d call it a bungalow or modern craftsman style,” she said. “I fell in love with the original charm and the potential of the outdoor space. There is a huge pomegranate tree in the front that was begging to have a moment in the limelight!” As a former floral designer – she had her own business before Pure Salt – improving the landscaping was key. She and her husband tidied the clutter by eliminating many unwanted elements such as birdbaths, garden statues, and overgrown plants. “We tore out the old tired trellis on the side yard and cut back the vines to allow new growth,” she explained. “With this clean slate, we repainted and repaired the exterior in a fresh clean white (my absolute favorite!). We laid new sod and planted fresh greenery, all things handpicked from my favorite flowers and plants.”

Just to the right of Aly’s front door is the Zulu Daybed by Uniqwa, with a woven rattan base. As you step into the main part of the home, you are struck by the vaulted ceilings that give a sense of airiness to the space. “Our house is an ultra-efficient Bungalow-style home that is all about supporting and enhancing the way we live our life as a family,” she said. “The design eliminates the concept of wasted space, every aspect of the home has a purpose and we use it to the fullest. We have intentions to do a large remodel at some point to increase the footprint. But our first round of improvements was really focused on reviving the home as it was.” 

The furniture and decor all breathe a sense of calm and the coast – nothing too precious but with a tight-knit concept that feels designed. You can tell that you are near the sea but it’s hinted at rather than shouted. “The coast has so many things to pull inspiration from, without being overly ‘Coastal’,” Aly advised. “I design off of the neutral color palettes that come from the beach – sand tones, soft blues and greens, whites and creams.” She uses a blend of natural materials, especially in the form of woven fibers including several stand-out pieces from Regina Andrew: “The living room is our gathering area for all things,” she smiled. “That said, we needed a lot of lighting to really illuminate the space. We added Regina Andrew’s Dublin Sconces in brass to keep the warmth. We tied it in with their Arc Floor Lamp to anchor the corner. The space is highlighted by the ultra-cozy couch, specifically created to have that lived-in feel I love.”

Besides the main house, Aly and her husband have a guest house that is where her mother-in-law lives. It features a lounge area with a day bed and kitchenette. “Although small on space, this kitchen is high in function,” she said. “We selected apartment sized appliances to properly outfit the guest house kitchen, which is a true Mother-in-Law Suite!” The dining and lounge area has some foundational pieces while others rotate. The rattan Georgian Table Lamp on the right side of the daybed anchors the room with its natural and textured base. Seasonally, Aly switches out some of the textile pieces in the guest and main house. “My husband thinks I’m a crazy person because I’m constantly rotating things in and out of the house,” she quipped. “In the summer, it’s all about the light and airy fabrics, bright white linens, fresh-cut greens, and letting the breeze flow. I clear out all of my heavy wool blankets and replace them with light linen blends. I swap out my darker, moodier pillow combos for something a bit lighter with worn hemps, a classic ticking stripe, and neutral linens. All in all, the entire home feels like summer – the essence is in the air!”