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Expert Design Tips for Giving a Classic Style a Contemporary Update

How Nativa Interiors put a modern spin on a timeless foundation

By Sarah Pfledderer

Preserving the architectural integrity of a home is no small feat. Yet Nativa Interiors Senior Interior Designer John Hayward, with help from his associate Laura Verdu, did just that on a Rancho Santa Fe beauty with a timeless foundation. Here, we look to the living room to get the details on preserving the old and adding a personal touch with the new.

Can’t Compromise a Kellogg

Built in the late ’70s on blueprints by renowned architect Kendrick Bangs Kellogg, this home is steeped in midcentury features with organic twists.

Case in point: all that wood, from the slatted beams and floors to the panel walls. The concrete hearth, with its inset light boxes, is a focal point Hayward refused to mess with. So, he made some minimal adjustments in the name of functionality, adding a TV with a wooden frame and installing cushions for additional seating.

Material Things

“Especially in a historical property, you don’t want to deviate from the original idea. You want to keep things intact and add balance.” The wound bamboo coffee table, light fixture, and wooden TV frame all complement the home’s wooden beams; likewise the gray sofa with the fireplace bricks.

No Postage Necessary

Working with an open layout means you have to define every space yourself. For this living room, the rug both anchors the space and is large enough for the sofa to sit on top of it—not in front of it. “A big mistake people often make is buying too small of a rug. It looks like a postage stamp!” In this room, the light fixture helps draw the eye to the living room from almost any point in the open layout. “There wasn’t a fixture before,” Hayward explains. “I wanted to lower the ceiling and make it more intimate. Without it, it’s just a big open space.

Built to Entertain

The homeowners enjoy entertaining, but also like their alone time. For this reason, they wanted the living room cozy enough for two but welcoming enough for up to eight. Creating multiple seating areas was just the ticket to achieving both, beginning with the oversize couch, then adding two accent chairs. They used the fireplace ledge for another seating area, with two round side tables to complete the space.

Well Rounded

“When you walk into the house, it has a low slatted ceiling. Then in the living room area, it opens up with the high beams. I wanted to soften those lines. That’s why we used a rounded couch, round rug, round chairs, round coffee table.”

Nativa Interiors

7770 Girard Avenue,

La Jolla;

143 South Cedros Avenue,

Solana Beach


Expert Design Tips – Nativa

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