Decorating

Disneyland Inspired the Design of This Zany L.A. Home

April 18th, 2019

Disneyland isn’t usually an aesthetic reference point. But for Lacey Micallef and Philip Seastrom, co-founders of Big Bud Press, a colorful, ethically made clothing company based in Los Angeles, the amusement park is the ethos of immersive, well-curated fun. “The parks, the flowers, the architecture,” says Philip. “It’s sort of like how we cultivate the design of our home and shops—all the details count.”

colorful living room with three sofas

On the outside, the couple’s house in L.A.’s Highland Park neighborhood, which they began renting last year, is a pretty standard 1920s Spanish-style California residence. But inside is another story. Not unlike Disneyland, visitors are consumed by a radical amount of joy upon arrival—the groovy space is as psychedelic as Lacey and Philip’s clothing designs. The decor is centered around growing collections of 1970s Disney memorabilia and vintage McDonald’s merch, an ode to advertising that was handmade, colorful, and unapologetically zany.

mustard velvet sofa with multicolored vintage artwork and rainbow shelves

“The stores’ designs are simplified a bit, compared to my true taste—which is maybe bonkers,” says Lacey. “We know it’d be a nightmare to some people. In fact, someone said with a sourpuss face recently, ‘Oh…it’s a Fun House.’ Well, yeah. It is fun. That’s the point.”

living room with rainbow sculptural art hanginv above TV

The duo scours eBay, swap meets, and flea markets for the majority of their decor purchases. Given the home’s equally high and low design scheme, you may not be surprised to learn that Lacey, who grew up between Canada and Missouri, was formerly a preschool teacher with a democratic approach to learning. “We didn’t have a lot of money growing up,” Philip adds. “We had hand-me-down furniture that we made work—things don’t have to be new or even intended to be reimagined in a home.” This philosophy still rings true today. A latch hook rug of a sunset from Philip’s childhood house, for example, remains a pillar of inspiration for him.

bedroom with paintings surrounding wall AC unit and orangeandgray quilt on bed

Both the couple’s home and Big Bud Press are ultimately elements of a bigger mission: to archive a disappearing Technicolor world. It’s an uphill battle. “People, even in Los Angeles, are afraid of color,” Lacey admits. “Even at our store, where we’re known for our colors, we still mostly sell black.” Even so, the couple sees value in their efforts. “It’s a shelter,” says Philip, “a brightness against all the dark things in our world.”

white walls and door painted teal with colorful artwork surrounding it

Do It Yourself

  1. Choose something specific to guide your design choices. It’s not an exaggeration when Lacey says one of the worst decisions of her life was not buying an animatronic, life-size McDonald’s hamburger—the couple’s fascination with the aesthetics of the fast food franchise runs deep, and it’s apparent in their home. (The duo once drove all the way from Los Angeles to Florida to pick up a McDonald’s television!)
  2. If you’re house-hunting, focus on location. For Lacey and Philip, the major selling point of their rental was its proximity to the Big Bud Press shop, which is just a few blocks down the road—Lacey can walk to work.
  3. Accept your rental’s limitations. “We didn’t really do much to the physical structure of the space since we’re renting and probably not allowed to,” says Lacey. “We had to make the most of what we were given and had to add flavor our way.”
  4. View interior design as an evolution. Lacey and Philip self-identify as “fancy hoarders,” and their house changes as their interests do. Whenever they shop at local tag sales and swaps, they always look for new baubles to bring home.
  5. No design element is ever too much if you love it. “We’re tired of every home we see filled with Pier 1 and IKEA,” says Lacey. “You watch the design disappear. We wanted our spot to be different.”
  6. Don’t let anyone tell you certain colors aren’t cool. “I think people recognize that color is wonderful and appealing, but people are afraid. Stepping outside the box is scary. You’re going to get lots of compliments, but there’s a fear of getting that backlash, too. Living without color is, in some ways, easier,” says Philip. Don’t let that fear stop you from trying out a color palette that appeals to you, no matter how unexpected it is.

Designers Agree—This One Upgrade Makes a Rental Living Room Look Expensive

April 11th, 2019

Decorating a rental living room can be a tricky task. We get it: With the ever-looming threat of losing your security deposit, giving your space a fresh coat of paint, swapping out light fixtures, or even hanging up artwork with nails is discouraging, to say the least. Though replacing laminate wood flooring with the real thing may be out of the question, it is, however, possible to transform your standard leased living room into a space you love without sacrificing thousands of dollars in the process, contrary to popular belief.

To demonstrate how it’s done, we turned to the experts. We tapped interior designer Emily Henderson of Emily Henderson Design, Homepolish designer Mandy Cheng, Nathelie Macchioni of Hyphen & Co, San Fransico-based designer Nicole Newkirk, and Leanne Ford of Leanne Ford Interiors for their go-to rental living room hack. Read on to find out how these pros make a leased living room look expensive. (Spoiler alert: There was a clear consensus on the number one upgrade renters should make.)

These Are the 9 Minimal Décor Brands you need to Shop

April 4th, 2019

Even though maximalist designs have been making headlines recently, we’ll always have a soft spot in our hearts for chic, clean, simple, minimalist interior designspaces. The seemingly cold and sterile style can actually feel incredibly comfortable and lived in if you know how to balance textures and materials to create a warmer, more welcoming effect.

When it comes to decorating your home with a minimalist sensibility, it helps to know just where to shop. Thanks to minimalism’s popularity and serious following, there’s a myriad of design stores to source perfectly simple products from. Ahead, discover 10 of the best minimal décor brands. Each houses furniture and décor that are streamlined and sophisticated.

After you’ve read this list, you’ll never want to shop anywhere else.

AYTM

AYTM offers luxury home décor based in Nordic traditions. Their products are sophisticated and sleek, yet completely eye-catching. The designs are created with an emphasis on contrasting materials and surfaces in neutral colors. For modern, minimalist Danish design, this is the place to shop. Find larger pieces of furniture as well as smaller details like lamps, mirrors, and pillows.

IKEA

No list of simple, minimal décor brands would be complete without a mention of IKEA, the Scandinavian home goods outlet with a reputation for it’s streamlined, affordable products. It offers furniture and smaller décor details for every room in the house, from the living room to the kitchen. Just don’t let its association with first apartments and dorm rooms scare you off. There’s a treasure trove of timeless designs found at this retailer.

Menu

With a mission to make the world less complicated, it’s no surprise that Menu is one of the best minimal décor brands. The retailer features high-quality pieces with an unmistakable Scandinavian look. They focus on modern décor meant for everyday use that also happens to be visually stunning. Shop here for furniture, lighting, and home accessories.

MUJI

MUJI is a veritable one-stop-shop of minimal products. You can shop everything from furniture and décor to travel essentials and clothing at the Japanese retailer. Of course, we’re partial to their home décor products, which are decidedly minimal and often made with recyclable materials. The brand takes minimalism to the next level by avoiding waste when it comes to production and packaging. And, to the delight of staunch minimalists everywhere, they also have a no brand and no logo policy.

Ferm Living

At Ferm Living, you’ll find contemporary designs featuring luxe textures and rich colors. While some of the products are a bit more avant-garde, the retailer earns a spot on our list of minimal décor brands because of its Scandinavian tradition. Based in Copenhagen, the pieces are created from global artisans and maintain a sleek, modern look.

H&M Home

Don’t be skeptical of H&M Home‘s décor just because it’s cheap. The brand has proven to be a high-quality resource for home essentials. You can find simplistic bedding, sleek kitchenwares, and affordable pillow covers primed to stand the test of time. Although some of their pieces err on the side of trendy, many are steadfastly minimal. New collections seem to drop all of the time, so you’ll never be without new interior design inspiration.

Blu Dot

Based in Minneapolis, Blu Dot was founded by two architects and a sculptor in 1997. Since then, the brand has made a name for itself as a modern design retailer brimming with unique pieces (all designed and made in house) that won’t cost you your life savings. Their products are sleek, elegant, and simple enough to work in just about any space.

Umbra

Toronto-based Umbra creates modern designs that often fuse function and form. The brand prides itself on being original, modern, functional, and casual. You can shop for furniture as well as sophisticated accessories for every room. Products include everything from tables to trash cans, allowing you to source sleek pieces for every nook and cranny of your space.

Apparatus Studio

Founded by Gabriel Hendifar and Jeremy Anderson, Apparatus Studio features stunningly sleek lighting in elegantly pared down designs. Although the brand is based in New York, they recently unveiled a Los Angeles design showroom where their striking pieces are on full display. The products are more like works of art than ordinary home décor, yet they maintain a simplistic quality that would fit into a minimal space.