Photo: Amy Bartlam

If you thought renovating a powder room was stressful, just imagine planning a move, a wedding and a redesign of your new home in the span of only six months. Lucie Ayres, founder and principal designer of 22 Interiors, was brought on by her clients in late-2016 to revamp their 3,700-square-foot home in the Sherman Oaks neighborhood of Los Angeles. The engaged couple had recently relocated from Venice Beach, and were enticed by the five-bedroom home’s breathtaking valley views and detached studio space.

“They’re a very L.A. couple,” explains Ayres. “He’s a songwriter and producer and she is a health and wellness coach.” Although the home was in good condition — it was built in 1962, but last renovated in 2004 — it needed a few updates. “Even though it had a mid-century vibe to it, it felt almost Cape Cod-y on the inside. We wanted to bring the house back to its roots,” says Ayres.

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Photo: Amy Bartlam

The home’s garage-turned-recording-studio was the first order of business. The previous homeowners had converted a garage on the property into a nanny suite of sorts, with a spare bedroom and kitchenette. To morph it into a professional recording studio, Ayres’ client hired sound experts from San Francisco to ensure the acoustics were up to par. “For his [former] studio in Venice, he had a soundproof door made and they retrofitted the door opening to his new music studio so that it would fit,” recalls Ayres. “We really tricked out, geeked out and engineered out the studio!”

Photo: Amy Bartlam

The kitchen was a full gut job and took place simultaneously with the studio transformation. “They wanted it to feel very clean, but not stark,” says Ayres. “We chose a deep blue, almost black color for the island and went custom so we could maximize storage space.” Ayres designed a marble-clad peninsula with a waterfall edge that acts almost as a bar. “When my client is working with musicians and other artists, they often hang out in this kitchen. So it had to feel both social and functional.”

Photo: Amy Bartlam

She also carved a pantry out of dead space, artfully hidden behind sliding walnut doors. “It’s only about 8- or 10-inches deep, but you really don’t need that much room,” says Ayres. “We chose walnut to make the space feel a little bit more inviting, and then we went with matching walnut floating shelves.”

Photo: Amy Bartlam

The custom, built-in banquette — which appears to be floating — came at her clients’ request. “There was a moment where I really wanted to do four chairs and a table, but they insisted on the banquette and I think it turned out really lovely.”

Photo: Amy Bartlam

For more formal occasions, there’s the retro-style dining area off the kitchen. “We did those Eames chairs in a pretty aqua color and chose a classic walnut, very mid-century, dining table and a Sputnik-like chandelier,” says Ayres. The art on the wall was painted by a friend of the couple, and you’ll notice the colors are picked up not only in the chairs, but the swimming pool behind them. “It’s quintessential California!” notes Ayres.

Photo: Amy Bartlam

The living room posed the biggest challenge due to its elongated shape. They painted the red brick fireplace to match the rest of the house (Farrow & Ball’s “All White,” if you’re curious) and settled on placing the TV above it, using a swivel mount to angle it towards the seating area.

Photo: Amy Bartlam

“Since he’s a musician and they’re a young couple, I wanted to make this space feel really fun, so that’s where the swinging bubble chair comes in,” says Ayres. “The living room is sunken, there’s a step down from the dining area, and I didn’t want people to fall. I felt like I had to fill that space, but I didn’t want to do it with furniture, so I thought a swinging, hanging chair would be perfect.”

Photo: Amy Bartlam

Ayres kept the space modern and minimal, warming it up with throw pillows, a sheepskin throw and greenery. “Everything was curated and carefully selected,” says Ayres. “My clients are not clutter-type people — it wasn’t just staged this way for the photos, this is actually how they live.”

Photo: Amy Bartlam

The jumping off point for the vibrant entryway was the Linus bicycle — a gift from the couple’s real estate agent. “It’s such a beautiful color with a leather seat and wicker basket, so I thought, ‘Let’s put it in the entry where it can set the tone the second you come in,’” says Ayres. She then created another welcoming first impression in the hallway, complete with a bench and an oversized piece of art (also created by their talented friend).

Photo: Amy Bartlam

“The master bedroom is super simple, but that’s how they wanted it,” explains Ayres. “We chose a mid-century-inspired bed and nightstands, and they already had the rug, which I absolutely loved.” For the paint color on the walls, Ayres went with a shade that’s “a little blue, a little gray,” making the space feel moody and relaxing.

Photo: Amy Bartlam

The final room in need of a makeover was the home office, which Ayres’ health and wellness coach client uses for Skype sessions or in-person meetings. “She’s a girly-girl — she really likes color,” says Ayres. The walls were covered in a muted, peachy-pink, and Ayres designed a comfortable seating area and desk space.

Photo: Amy Bartlam

“My clients handled this reno so well, but it was definitely a high-stress scenario because they were getting married at the same time,” emphasizes Ayres. Thankfully, there were no unexpected surprises (a true rarity in the design world) and her clients are now happily married and enjoying their modernized, mid-century home.

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