Homepolish designer Kaitlin Thomas shares how she infused a 1920s Los Angeles home with a modern, relaxed style befitting a young family.
Photos by Sara Tramp
In Los Angeles, health is huge. Moon Juice and Runyon Canyon might be great for the body, but true wellness is pulled from who and what you surround yourself—a fact that both Homepolish designer Kaitlin Thomas and her Mount Washington-based clients know well.
A thirty-something couple with a baby on the way, her clients were looking to enhance the classic framework of their newly-purchased 1920s home while injecting hints of playful minimalism.
“The home itself has charm, with the original hardwood floors, brick fireplace, and beautiful views,” Kaitlin tells us. “We wanted to modernize the space while still keeping elements of that charm throughout. When first sharing inspiration images with each other, I noticed that my clients loved a Scandinavian vibe with cozy textures and a bright, airy, minimal feel.”
A kicked-back feel was essential for her adventurous clients.
“When I first met with the clients, they had just moved from a tiny one bedroom apartment into this big 3-bedroom, 2-bath space after ten years of renting,” Kaitlin recounts. “They both love to travel and hike and camp their way through national parks (the wife is even studying to become a geologist!).”
When the two aren’t out exploring the wilds of the Grand Canyon, they lean towards cozier spaces and inviting folks into their neck of the woods for entertaining—the husband even brews his own beer.
To create an optimal chill, family-and-guest-friendly vibe Kaitlin opted for a calming palette of blues, showcased in everything from aquatically-inspired artwork to geometric patterned rugs.
“I tried to layer in the color in thoughtful ways,” she explains. “I think we achieved this by bouncing the color throughout a room so you get a nice, even balance without it feeling overwhelming or too heavy in one area. Aside from the client loving the color blue, subliminally it’s a very calming color that I like to use in environments where I’m trying to create a serene sanctuary.”
After creating a zen vibe with a handful of turquoises, ceruleans, and indigos, Kaitlin leaned into the tranquil, mellow feel with natural materials and earthy metallics.
“Since the client likes a more minimal design with lots of white and touches of blue, I wanted to inject a more natural, cozy element to give that feeling of warmth,” Kaitlin tells us. “Wood is forever my go-to for softening and warming up a space. We also added a bit of elegance with the brass finishes to help elevate the palette.”
To push the spirit of relaxation even further, Kailin created a sanctuary and spa-like space in the home’s one full bathroom—starting with a gut renovation.
“The master bath was originally built in the ‘20s and the layout was super funky, so we basically started from scratch,” the designer shares. “One thing that was key with this design was putting the tub-shower valve on the opposite side of the showerhead. Before I learned this trick I had always assumed the valve and showerhead had to go together (since that’s how you typically see it), but it’s an easy switch that makes a lot more sense, especially since we had a fixed glass panel installed!”
As soon-to-be parents, the clients wanted to save wherever possible, but Kaitlin made smart choices to disguise the challenge. Herringbone tile provides a fresh, take on classic subway tile, while marine-hued details, glimmering brass hardware, and elevated-yet-rustic accessories echo the rest of the home’s aesthetic. And overall Kaitlin believes that aesthetic delivers on the client’s whims.
“The clients wanted a home that’s warm, bright, welcoming, minimal, and calm, and I can confidently say that I think we achieved all of the above,” she gushes.
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