What does a design editor do after finally landing her dream home? She starts reimagining it, of course. Rue’s Editorial Director Kelli Lamb welcomes us into her first home—and into the design process that would make it truly hers.
When my husband and I bought our first home, I think we might have been in a state of shock. We had a bit of a harrowing home-buying process, which I shared in the spring issue of the magazine, but it was apparent that our 1928 Spanish Revival home was worth the wait. With keys in hand, we packed up our Silverlake bungalow and headed towards Altadena, a small, peaceful pocket of Los Angeles at the base of the foothills.
The house had all the architectural magic we could dream of—graceful archways, original beams, a plaster fireplace. That said, the kitchen, bathrooms, and floors had been updated in a way that didn’t necessarily match the architecture. We wanted to modernize the home and bring our personal style to the forefront, while honoring the intended style with every decision.
Though we’re definitely a creative couple–my husband Tim is an artist–it was clear we needed design backup. I’ve always said that as an editor, I can tell the story of a home, but designing one is best left to the professionals. We hired Patrick Maziarski of Beau Geste Interior Design to translate our ideas into a design plan. Patrick’s top job was to design the kitchen, which we’ll be featuring on RUE DAILY next week, and the bathrooms. (The latter will wait for Phase 2 of renovations.) However, his aesthetic is so aligned with ours, it made sense that he’d consult on the living spaces as well. Every step of the way, he made sure that each room would “speak the same language,” thinking of color, scale, and to be honest, good vibes. My husband and I are so busy, our home needs to be a haven!
The very first thing we had to update were the floors. Unfortunately, a very gray, wood-patterned laminate had been installed prior to the sale. It was a cold material, both visually and underfoot, and we realized we couldn’t / didn’t want to live with it. Though we had early hopes to restore the original hardwoods, they were very damaged and in many areas, beyond repair. (Bummer!)
I originally felt really overwhelmed by the world of flooring. It can be an overlooked element in the homes that we feature at Rue. So often, the floors are simply beautiful and serve as a stunning foundation for the home itself; you really only take notice if it’s not fabulous…like with our gray laminate. Then I stumbled upon Stuga, a direct-to-consumer brand which made finding our perfect flooring easy. The variety of styles were in line with the look we were going for, and they’re a 1% for the planet member–I believe it’s so important to support companies that align with your values. I ordered samples and lived with them strewn across the house for several weeks before making a choice, just so I could see how the light would change the appearance. We went with Harbor, an oiled, natural hardwood floor with a smoked treatment that offers warmth and depth. With Patrick’s guidance, we all agreed it looked most original to the home. I cannot stress enough what an incredible impact this update had on our home. It feels so lovely underfoot and brought so much beauty to every room. (You can read more about our flooring process on Stuga’s blog here.)
The next big change was window treatments. When we first moved in, we installed very cheap paper blinds from the hardware store and tacked up a few old sheets…and let me tell you, that was such a visual eyesore. Like all of the elements in our home, we wanted to choose something that would have longevity versus a quick fix, so we worked with Everhem to create window treatments that were tailor-made for our windows. Everhem made the process incredibly simple from start to finish and I’m so pleased with how high-end their hardware, drapes, and shades all look. Tim said it best once they were installed: our house looked like a beautiful hotel. In the living and dining room, we chose dramatic linen drapery (the color is Bone) with accented woven wood shades (the color is Chestnut). In the bedrooms, we went with linen Roman shades (the color is Birch) and added a blackout lining for a great night’s sleep.
Finally, after nearly a year in our home, I started shopping for furniture. When you enter the house, to the left is the dining room, which features a custom table (made by a local woodworking studio) and Lulu & Georgia chairs. I purchased the chairs with the intent to swap the white boucle with a bold Crypton fabric, but am happy with how they look at the moment, so we’ll continue to allocate our budget towards renovation costs. The star of this room is the art on the wall: it’s a photograph by Amy Bartlam, one of Rue’s top photographers and my close friend. She snapped it in my home state of Idaho before we’d ever met, and it reminds me of long drives to my family cabin in the mountains.
Every time I go into the living room, I’m so happy. The original wood beams and plaster fireplace are stunning, and the light throughout the day is really calm and inviting. I chose a blend of foundational pieces sourced from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. The swivel chairs were an absolute game changer–you can face the sofa which is great for hosting friends and family, or spin around for a close-up view on game day or Oscar Sunday. And our elderly cats love the daybed in front of the big window. To further personalize the room, I added pillows from Filling Spaces and a few antiques, like the brass footman trivet that belonged to my grandpa. We brought in lighting from Regina Andrew, and styled the built-in niches with books and treasured heirlooms.
Now, the home has regained its Spanish charms and is a place we adore. I look back at all the places we’ve lived before and know this is where we’re meant to be. It’s been such a great joy to slowly but surely create a forever home that is just right for us.
See all sources in the slideshow.