“I jokingly refer to the style of the home as Beach Deco,” interior designer Laura Roberts says with a laugh. “It’s a little bit of Southern California and a little bit of old-style Manhattan.” Her client, a young first-time homeowner, had recently moved to Santa Monica, CA from Manhattan. “He was very clear that he wanted to infuse some of his favorite parts of New York into the design, from West Village bistro cafes to the classic white subway tile ubiquitous at every train stop.”

When she first started working on the project, the client was renting the space and had moved to Los Angeles with little more than a mattress. “The apartment was an empty shell, so I pulled in my interior designer friend Nana from The Luster Kind to help me decorate it before and shortly after he arrived,” she recalls. “Less than a year later the pandemic struck, and he was given the opportunity to buy his unit. He called me back in to design and renovate his kitchen, powder room, and bathroom, and to give the furnishings and art a refresh to make the space more cohesive and personalized for him.”

The open-concept space is decorated with masculine, mid-century pieces. “We expanded upon our original decoration with a speakeasy-era freestanding bar and a sleek glass railing with dark bronze details,” Laura says. “That normally challenging area under the stairs was transformed with black paint and shelves accented with high-contrast white accessories.” The living room flows to the dining area, which is anchored by a marble top bistro-style dining table, a brass urchin ceiling fixture, and mid-century wishbone chairs. 

The kitchen wasn’t a total gut job, but a thoughtful refresh. They added white subway tile with black grout, black and white tile flooring, and a unique shelving unit made of raw pipe and glass shelves, transforming the space into an authentic-feeling New York bistro. The 18 square foot powder room is small but brings in as much style as the kitchen. “We replaced the floor with distressed concrete tiles in a black and white Deco pattern and installed graphic Deco-inspired wallpaper on three walls,” Laura explains. “The vanity wall was clad in glossy black horizontal tile and the ceiling and trim was painted to match. A diminutive walnut vanity to tie in with the walnut details in the living room was accented with a black faucet and accessories, and a brass mirror and sconces completed the moody, ‘boutique hotel’ vibe.” 

Upstairs, there are more clear nods to the beach outside. The bedroom has surf photography and walls painted in a soothing ocean blue (Delft by Sherwin-Williams). In the guest room, Contented by Sherwin-Williams brings in an inspiring sea green hue. 

The client had to live through the remodel, but Laura credits his impressive patience with making the project a success. “Even though he watched the work daily as it was happening, he said he still couldn’t believe the transformation when it was completed,” she smiles. “He said it exceeded his hopes and expectations, which is all that a designer can hope for!”