“The best part about our home is our neighborhood,” Corre Marie Larkin says of her Newport Beach residence. “We live on one of those streets where you know all your neighbors and everyone is super friendly.” She and her husband bought the home five years ago and Corre describes the aesthetic as California Eclectic meets European Countryside. “My vision was to create a forever home and I went about that by using pieces of my collection and also my family’s collection and then filled those items in with things that I love,” she says. “Our home tells the story of our life thus far and also the lives of the people that came before us. I have my grandmother’s MCM Widdicomb dresser mixed in with pink 80s waterfall side tables and an antique oil painting. It shouldn’t all go, but it goes. My design ethos is to buy what you love and it will always work.”
The kitchen, which the designer says is one of her favorite spots, has a French bistro vibe. There is floor to ceiling subway tile, a decision that was initially a risk. “My husband thought I was absolutely bonkers and was pretty against it,” she laughs. “There weren’t a lot of examples to show him on things like Pinterest as it’s not done that often. But our favorite restaurant in the world is Anahi in Paris and when I told him that that was the inspiration he got on board. Now, he loves it.” This space is attached to the dining room, and the tile extends there as well. “It evokes a feeling of long drawn out dinners over several courses and bottles of wine,” Corre shares.
In the living room and master bedroom, gray paint on the walls (Benjamin Moore’s Galveston Gray) makes Corre’s collection of vintage and antique items look more cohesive. “Some of the pieces look too stark and austere against white walls and once you add paint suddenly everything comes together,” she says. “It’s no secret that I absolutely love antique and vintage pieces. They bring life to a home in a way that something that is mass produced never will.”
One of Corre’s favorite pieces is actually one of the first she ever acquired. “It’s the antique Chinese console in the living room. I bought it when I was only 25 and living in London. I had this tiny flat and one weekend when we were out in the Cotswolds I found this piece in a little town called Broadway. It took up half my flat but I didn’t care. I loved it as much then as I do now.” There’s also an antique Federal mirror in the kitchen, purchased from a retired dealer who still has numerous storage units full of amazing pieces. “He wouldn’t sell it to me at first and after I finally bought a number of items from him over the years he deemed me worthy enough to sell that Federal mirror to me. He explained that we are just wards of these items and they are with us for a period of time and then must be passed on to the next keeper of them,” she recalls. “That mirror is from the time of the Civil War and when I think of that it blows my mind.”
A lot of pieces are repurposed. There are two cane chairs at the end of her bed, which were found on Craigslist years ago. When Corre first got her hands on them, they were silver with mauve upholstery. “As long as the furniture has good lines and bones, the sky’s the limit on what can be done,” she says. The bar area was repurposed as well — what once was a storage closet is now a beautiful and bright entertaining hub. “It reminds me of a chic hotel bar in London that we used to drink at,” Corre says.
Though Corre is happy with the space today, she knows it’s always evolving. “The initial phase took 4 months and we did that prior to moving in. But the kitchen and bar were remodeled only last year. It’s definitely never done. In fact, I am in the middle of completely redoing my daughter’s room. But that’s one of the things I love about a home. It evolves over time and sometimes take twists and turns you never expected.”