This Los Feliz Home—Layered with a Myriad of Vintage Pieces—Has an Unexpectedly Modern Edge
Isabelle Dahlin, the interior designer behind DeKor Living, mixed the Old World with the contemporary to bring this colorful home in Los Angeles to life.
When an artist nears the end of a project, there often isn't a eureka moment of completion—one just decides to stop painting. Such is the method for Isabelle Dahlin, the California-based designer behind DeKor Living. She builds up rooms with an eclectic blend of vintage furniture, contemporary décor, and patterns galore. With outposts in New York, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara, Dahlin has become known for bringing modernist, industrial edge to every space, which often feature a wide range of eclectic styles.
For a recent project in Los Feliz, California, she took on a home in "The Oaks" that belongs to a regular at Dalin's East Side shop; she quickly went from customer to client. "When I started my first store in Echo Park, she used to come in," notes Dahlin. "When she and her husband bought a new house, they asked me to help with their backyard. They liked it so much that when they expanded their family and moved, they asked me again. I had about four weeks because she was having the baby. It was just in the knick of time."
It was a team effort. Her client—a film producer in Los Angeles—came into the project with an eye for design and plenty of ideas of her own. The result? An unlikely, nuanced blend of pieces, colors, and styles. Lots of French and Italian countryside influences are seen throughout the space and a little bit of paint holds it all together—Benjamin Moore's "Deep Space," an inky, moody navy, punctuates nearly every rooms' trim. The living room, however, is what really sets the tone. "We brought in this beautiful rug from 1920 and a custom sofa," says Dahlin. "The leather chairs are from England. I like mixing a lot of stuff. I wanted it to feel like an artist might live here."
Isabelle Dahlin's work regularly features a mix of colors (in this home's living room, it's all about the blue), but she says everything goes great with green. Here, an impressive fiddle leaf fig plant defines a quiet corner, where a navy piano sits. "I always want to bring plants in," she says. "You need to tell people it's a living being and they need to care for it. If you nurture it by giving it water once a week, that's all you have to do. It makes the air in the house amazing and it brings joy to your eye. Nature is healing, so it's really important to have it in the room as much as you can."
Mix It Up
While the home is filled with plenty of modern fixtures and color schemes, the rooms feel more lived-in thanks to vintage pieces—like this decidedly traditional antique mirror and chair spotted here, off the main living area.
In the family room, a wraparound bench, positioned communally in front of the television, commands major attention; nearly every throw pillow on it features a different pattern.
Benjamin Moore's "Deep Space" ties together each eclectic room (and the transitional spaces, like the staircase) with ease, complementing a wallpaper print here or a patterned rug there. "I suggested we do a charcoal-blueish tone throughout, but it took a while to get the client to commit to it, because it's everywhere. Once we did that, everything just started falling into place," explains Dahlin.
Wine and Dine
The room behind the glass doors—which is now a studio—was the former dining nook. But Dahlin and her client couldn't resist the picture window; "it made so much sense," says the designer, to position a long table directly in front of it.
The Kids Are Alright
In the nursery, a familiar color scheme prevents the space from feeling kids-only. Dahlin's team opted for a lighter wooden floor to increase the contrast between wood and wall paint.
A bold wallpaper goes a long way in the guest bedroom. Centered around a vintage four-poster bed, the light-filled room is the perfect spot to retire after a long day.
Eclectic wall coverings continue in the master bath, where bird-centric, whimsical paper lightens the mood of dark, traditional cabinetry.
Dahlin wanted to create an adaptable master bedroom, a space where her clients spend a bulk of their time. Bringing in neutral colors and organic, vintage pieces keeps the space feeling bright, open, and familiar; more visually dynamic details, like art, pillows, and lamps, bring intrigue. "I'm not afraid of mixing and matching patterns," notes Dahlin. "It's like a painting. Pillows and rugs and art are so easy to switch out—it's great."