From punchy patterns in bright colors to sleek surfaces with a little shine, SoCal designer Tia Zoldan shares her nine essentials for this relaxed-but-hip look.
Writer: Sarah Latta, Stylist: Char Hatch Langos
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Sleek and Casual
A few years ago, Aimee and Phil Monroe decided they wanted to inject their laid-back Del Mar, California house with a shot of chic. To keep the comfort but add a hip factor, they hired L.A. designer Tia Zoldan to infuse modern—but low-maintenance—style. Here, Tia dishes on how she balanced beachy and glamorous.
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In the dining room, a bright orange fabric on the chair backs adds just the right amount of intensity to the light and airy space. “In a small room, you don’t want too many focal points, so everything in here but the chairs and the rugs is washed-out and serene,” says Tia.
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Contemporary sofas with clean lines—like those in the living room—can still be comfortable, Tia says. All it takes is soft fabrics and the proper proportions. Choose seating that has plush, wide arms (even if they’re boxy), thick cushions, and a deep seat, and then cover it in a cotton twill or linen. The living room’s ring-base sconces, fish-eye mirror, and rug with a circular pattern add a curvaceous element to the squared-off furnishings.
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Tia paired the glossy veined marble on the kitchen backsplash with honed granite countertops, slick leather barstool cushions, and a chrome vent hood. The varying textures keep the kitchen from swinging too modern. The wooden tabletop is a welcoming touch of warmth amid all the sleekness.
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In the den, Tia gave a classically coastal texture—sea grass wallpaper—a modern twist by choosing an elegant charcoal gray hue “The family gathers here to watch TV, so I opted for the darker shade to make it an extra-cozy space,” she says. Pops of pink and kiwi add some pizzazz.
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The key is to use them sparingly, which keeps the mood calm. Tia suggests introducing prints on pillows or an occasional chair, like the one pulled up to Aimee’s desk. “A clean and simple backdrop lets you go all out with a few patterns here and there,” she says. Bold rugs, too, give a formal space, such as the entry, a more casual feeling. For a beachy tone choose softer shades of typically coastal colors—periwinkle blue, light purple, and sea green.
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Breezy, Light Basics
For a neutral, airy feel, Tia chose white and pale gray for the house’s backdrop, specifically the walls and curtains. “This works especially well in houses with open floor plans, where each room leads to the next,” says Tia. Plus, today’s light-color fabrics come in ultra stain- and wear-resistant options, so white needn’t mean hands-off.
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From the silk drapes to the lavish-looking velvet throw pillows and the tufted silk-velvet headboard, the master bedroom exudes soothing luxury. “Aimee and Phil wanted this room to be more sophisticated, so we kept the colors muted and the patterns minimal and opted to play up the texture instead,” says Tia. Simple all-white bedding and furnishings keep the rich textures from feeling too formal.
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In the mater bath, a vintage Murano glass light fixture and a Lucite footstool add radiance to the serene space, white the fuchsia seat cushion follows the bold color motif that’s layers throughout much of the house. With white floor tiles and silver-gray marble walls reflecting sunlight around the room, the vibe here is pure shimmer at the shore.
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Warm Gathering Spots
To make the most of Southern California’s year-round temperate climate and create a comfy area for hanging out with family, Tia designed an outdoor inglenook with a pair of settees flanking a fireplace on the poolside patio. The low-slung seating and minimalist stacked-stone hearth and chimney prove that cozy can still look clean and simple.