Creating an interior that combines vintage, mid-century, and modern pieces requires a fine balance, but that’s certainly what Lucie Ayres, Principal Designer at 22 Interiors, has achieved in this Los Angeles home. Lucie transformed the former bachelor pad of a successful Hollywood screenwriter by lightening and brightening the interior spaces and adding vintage finds and contemporary pieces to complement his stunning mid-century collection.
When it comes to the interior architecture, what once felt dark and disjointed is now light and open providing a soft clean canvas to showcase furniture, furnishings, and decorative objects. “Light and space played the lead roles in this renovation and design,” Lucie explains. Walls have been torn down with those remaining painted white; floors stained a matte almost raw-wood color; and sheer curtains added under the linen drapes for both privacy and light.
“I also wanted it to feel warm and layered, but a very curated layered,” Lucie says, and the mix of furniture in the living room certainly does just that. The vintage sofa and chairs in textured, dark grey upholstery with angular wooden framework ground the light room as does the walnut cabinet bar neatly positioned in the niche next to the fireplace.
Lucie found the two pillows featuring the King and Queen of Hearts at an estate sale and they add playful pops of color to the living room. A Madeline Weinrib buche cotton carpet in neutral and white brings a layer of warmth to the floor.
In the television area Lucie incorporates a Design With Reach Reid sofa and custom leather ottoman to offset the vintage furniture. While they are modern additions, their clean lines and soft forms don’t stray too far from the comfort of the mid-century aesthetic. A classic Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman by Charles and Ray Eames is new, but as the chair made its original debut in 1956, it still has all the character of its postwar origins.
Lucie describes her approach to furniture “as very Wabi-sabi or Kundo;” Wabi-sabi being an appreciation for modest, humble, and imperfect beauty. “If it’s meaningful to you, if it makes you happy, it works,” she says, and this can be seen in the use of the client’s banjo that also serves as a decorative object.
Back in the living room Lucie has transformed the fireplace into a decorative feature with a painting – a family heirloom of the client – and a collection of ceramics sitting atop the mantelpiece. A soft and earthy palette unites the collection. “A collection works well mixing eras. Like blue vases or primitive masks from different cultures/eras or paintings of the sea,” Lucie explains. Handmade blue and terracotta glazed tiles on the hearth of the fireplace play with the same natural color palette.
“The dining area is my favorite combination of library/books and dining,” the designer says. “I wanted lots of walnut so that it feels cozy and usable whether working on a laptop or having breakfast.”
Lucie also expertly blends a stunning mix of furniture and lighting that hail from different eras and are composed of a variety of materials. The brass and aluminum Geometric Tri LED pendant light (2013), walnut Cross Extension Table (2005), and polypropylene Eames Molded Plastic Wire-Base side chair (1948) are quite distinct yet their splayed or angled limbs cleverly complement each other.
When it comes to styling a bookcase, or organizing a client’s book collection, Lucie has a few tricks up her sleeve. “Remove the dust covers off any books that look better without them. Bring the books to the edge of the shelf – they always look sharper when pushed forward. Pick the favorite book covers and place that book facing the room, almost like instant art on the shelf.”
Like the main house, Lucie has transformed the garage into a light and bright space, which now serves as a home office. The client wanted a more minimal environment and the result is a calming white space with lots of practical storage. The desk, shelving, and cabinets are more traditional; a custom ladder, selection of prints, and ceramic statue add character; and the Metropolitan armchair designed by Jeffrey Bernett has a round and enveloping form that harks back to the 1950s and 60s.
Photographs by Amy Bartlam