Lucie Ayres, principal designer of 22 Interiors was called in by a friend to help him find a new, comfier sofa. What started out as just a furniture swap-out soon turned into a full-blown renovation. The floors had to be updated, walls had to be torn down, and the interior architecture had to be tidied up for a more cohesive look. The homeowner, a screenwriter, also had a garage that could be turned into the perfect office for him to complete his work. With more modern and streamlined pieces, Lucie was able to brighten up a home that once felt dark and disjointed.
We knew that Lucie had a few tricks up her sleeve to share with us, so we caught up with her to find out more about how she was able to transform this LA home.
What sort of design direction did the homeowner give you?
My client is a screenwriter with many tv and movie projects. He was incredibly sensitive to the fact that his place didn’t get enough light, or feel light enough. The solution was obvious — restaining the floors in a matte, almost raw wood color, obviously tearing down a bunch of walls, painting the walls All White by Farrow & Ball, and doing a set of sheer curtains under the linen drapes so he can have privacy and light at all times during the day.
Was there anything in particular he was adamant about keeping or creating?
My client became very adamant about creating more storage space once he met his now fiance and it became obvious she was going to need much closet space, which the house lacked. We bought an enormous chest of drawers from Restoration Hardware that we placed in the guest room, purchased the Matera storage bed from DWR, re-organized the closet interiors and added hooks in as many places as we could.
You wouldn’t know that you brought in so much practical storage. Every piece is so aesthetically pleasing and feels like it has been selected for that reason only. Speaking of aesthetically pleasing… the front door is beautiful! It must give the home so much curb appeal.
We love the door — it’s HUGE. 44″ wide! We had it custom designed with ETO Doors.
Tell us more about the floors, they have had such a transformation! Were they replaced or retreated?
The floors were retreated and in the areas where walls were torn down, we added new planks.
The other part of the home that has gone through such a big change is the kitchen. What are the rules about opening them up? Can the configuration be changed or are there some things that need to stay static?
If you’re trying to be efficient and don’t have endless amounts to spend, then the best thing to do is to try to keep the plumbing in the same area so you don’t need to run pipes in new places. Ditto for a gas range. Other than that, I would say that taking a minute to picture HOW you use the kitchen before you configure proves to be an indispensable exercise. The kitchen triangle rule is a good one to follow.
Where are the cabinets from?
I designed the custom cabinets and had the team at LA Remodeling, who were the contractors on this project, make them for me. The cabinets are finished in Farrow & Ball’s Pavilion Gray.
What are some book styling tricks you used to make shelves look so good?
It’s one of my favorite things to do for clients — I love seeing their collection and organizing. I have a few tricks — the first, is to remove the dust covers off any books that look better without them (which I’d say is 95% of them!). Next, bring the books to the edge of the shelf — they always look sharper when pushed forward. I only push back if I am going to place on object in front of them. Sometimes organizing by color is super fun but not every client loves that. Finally, I definitely love to pick my favorite book covers and place that book facing the room, almost like instant art on the shelf.
For the writer’s office, you chose a bit more traditional desk and storage furniture. Were those pieces kept from before?
Yes, these pieces were kept from before the renovation. This back house (former garage) was another amazing transformation. The floors were all replaced, walls were smoothed out and painted Benjamin Moore’s White Dove (didn’t want to go too bright in this space, mainly because of the furniture, and I wanted a more calming white, less vibrant than the one in the main house) and we added the amazing custom library ladder to give it some character. The client preferred a very minimal, almost stark environment and insisted not too much would be on those bookshelves.
Thank you Lucie for sharing this beautiful project with us!