As the world shelters in place, four North County interior designers take us on bold explorations of the place we call home. Make room…
Splendor takes many forms in the world of Le Dimora. There’s the luxury of sumptuous fabrics, the nuance of indoor-outdoor design, and the eminent livability of award-winning retreats from Rancho Santa Fe to Cabo San Lucas. Yet for today’s uncertain world, some of the design studio’s most impactful work is unnoticeable to the naked eye.
Owner Maria Barry has added clean, green, and organic resources to her repertoire. For a recent Encinitas residence, her team created an interior that’s toxin-free and VOC-free, from the wood in the locally crafted cabinetry to the couches made by Pure Upholstery, a leader in organic furniture.
“I always try to look for the good in something bad,” says Barry. “The homes of our future will be cleaner, smarter, and more multi-functional than ever.”
The same consumers who demand clean ingredients in their skincare and beauty products want to know what’s inside their mattresses and couches — places where homeowners spend most of their time. Barry is also maximizing the flexibility of spaces, decluttering and diversifying rooms. In Del Mar, for example, she nimbly changed the floor plans of a home theater, foregoing bulky recliners in favor of wraparound seating so the media room can double as a yoga studio.
Barry’s crystal ball: “We may see the end of unused formal living rooms in the future as we continue to spend more time at home.” 858.261.0600, ledimora.com
Form Meets Function
If the quarantine has one single message for the home design world, it’s that decorative furniture is antithetical to sheltering in place. Your Louis XV chair masquerading behind a desk to actually sit and work? Its days are numbered.
“Clients are prioritizing comfort above all else,” says interior designer Erica Silveira of Nativa Interiors. “People realize their desks aren’t functional. Chairs aren’t big enough to curl up with your dog. Your couch has limited space.”
With showrooms in Solana Beach and La Jolla, and a cross-border factory of furniture artisans, Nativa features a world-class portfolio of brands including Stressless from Norway, Gamma Arredamenti from Italy — and the most in demand? — American Leather.
Practicality has never looked so good. Bringing European craftsmanship to high-tech furniture, the Texas-based American Leather has rewritten the script on couches, beds, and seating. The Comfort Sleeper is a flexible pull-out option ideal for family movie nights. Meanwhile, its Comfort Air chair is custom-tailored to move with your body, perfect for Zoom calls or reading. A Barcalounger it is not.
“You need to feel safe and comfortable while safe at home,” says Silveira. 858.454.1874, 858.794.0003, nativainteriors.com
Indoor/outdoor design is always of the essence for Susan Spath, the principal designer and president of the award-winning Kern & Co. With a showroom in Solana Beach and an intimate boutique in Rancho Santa Fe, Kern & Co. has for decades elevated living to an art form.
For a recent North County residence — a deconstructed French home — Spath extended the interior’s luxuriously rustic aesthetic to the greater outdoors, building custom garden boxes with reclaimed wood. All within a scone’s throw to the kitchen.
“We believe our homes have become more important in today’s world, and our clients recognize that the kitchen is the heart of the home,” says Spath. “With all this free time, people can make those recipes they always wanted to but never found the time.”
The recipes, of course, can be inspired and organically sourced from your very own verdant garden with Spath’s custom creations. Herb gardens feature mint, thyme, cilantro, parsley, and lavender. Veggie gardens boast lettuce, zucchini, and tomatoes, while berries are ripe for the picking. Functional, fragrant, and inspiring, the garden boxes are multi-sensory and multi-purpose.
“Gardens complete home design. They create interest, whimsy, and give an overall feeling of ease.” 858.259.7722, 858.756.7560, kerncodesigns.com
All The Feels
Executing a mood, be it calm, cool, or classically enduring, is what British designer Candy Barton does best. Barton + Barton Interiors, her full-service interior design firm specializing in new construction and residential remodels, is advising clients to create sanctuaries throughout the house. A window seat, for example, can suddenly be transformed into a dedicated reading nook, while a meditation space can emerge with luxurious pillows, textural nuances, and light.
Elsewhere, Barton often turns to wallpaper for energy, livening up spaces from guest bedrooms to powder rooms with bold patterns and modern splendor. Master bathrooms, meanwhile, can easily slip into something more tranquil, creating a spa haven for the home.
Located in Del Mar, the Barton + Barton showroom is a study in luxury. Stocked with a curated selection of furnishings, lighting, fixtures, and flooring, it is a one-stop destination for interior design. 858.847.2715, bartonandbarton.co