Stefani Stein fills a Los Angeles bungalow with eclectic patterns, wild hues, and playful art for 'Orange Is the New Black' newlyweds Lauren Morelli and Samira Wiley.
Photos by Tessa Neustadt.
When a theme of a couple’s wedding is “confetti,” one can imagine that their home will err on the side of colorful.
Thankfully, designer Stefani Stein knows a thing or two about how to have fun with a space, so when she met Lauren Morelli and Samira Wiley through Homepolish, it was a match made in a rainbow-hued heaven.
The couple, who wed in March of 2017 in a bright, bohemian bash in Palm Springs, is known for their legendary creative chops. Lauren has written for Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black since the very beginning, and Samira was a fan-favorite on the show for four seasons (and is also pretty well known for her Emmy-winning performance in The Handmaid’s Tale).
Lauren moved into the space solo only one week before her initial meeting with Stefani. The two of them felt that the bones of the home were fabulous, but the paint and finishes in the home were…not so fabulous. Save for the dining room wallpaper, almost each and every surface of the home needed help.
Armed with a blank slate, the possibilities were endless—and for Stefani that meant there was room for layers of graphics. “The goal for the design was a finished space that felt light and bright,” Stefani said. “Lauren gravitates toward bold colors and the selections for the space are truly reflective of her personality.”
“As a designer, I love getting to explore the interplay of color, pattern, and texture,” she says. “I chose to showcase the more colorful selections in a foundation of crisp white walls that offset some of the bold elements with negative space to create a balanced composition.”
“Once I discovered that Lauren was a fan of classic animal prints, I knew I wanted to incorporate Guepard Noir by Le Manach somewhere in their home. It is incredibly chic with everlasting appeal. Its ladylike, but definitely not sweet. It adds just the right amount of contrast paired with the pastel linen and sinuous lines of the Lawson Fenning sofa.”
Stefani’s approach included color combinations that were unexpected, but brilliant. The dining room is the perfect example. You usually don’t see lime green, red-orange, periwinkle, and taupe all in one space, but this room pulls it off in one elegant swoop.
All the color requires a curated eye, from freshly painted millwork to a boldly hued credenza, the color was perfectly curated. But in a house full of color, there were still times when you could turn the saturation up.
“The office felt like the perfect room to be vibrant and bold,” Stefani tells us. “Because this space would be the creative center of their home, I wanted to be as true to my clients’ tastes as possible. The Lips on White wallpaper by Voutsa added a level of drama and femininity that resonated with both Lauren and Samira.”
To provide a feminine-yet-moody contrast to the whimsical wallpaper and bohemian wood and fur accents, Stefani layered in jewel-toned emerald velvet and midnight blue lacquer.
Wallpaper and furnishings weren’t the only ways Stefani infused the space with color. Graphic art and accessories abound.
“Much of the smaller art was acquired by the clients over a period of many years and is a combination of both purchases and gifts. Having this selection available made styling the gallery wall in the hallway a breeze,” Stefani says. “It is always nice when there is a mix of mediums to work with, particularly when some of the pieces have a level of sentimentality attached for clients.”
With a deep bench of options, the new pieces added in give the space additional lift.
“The Alicia Savage pieces were newer additions acquired during the course of the project. We knew that they would eventually reside on the main living room wall and I love how perfectly they pair with the pillows in Guepard Noir fabric by Le Manach and the Collection Particuliere Brick Side Table.”
The eclectic style dazzles when entertaining friends and family, but Stefani wanted the bedroom to give the couple a space to unwind.
“One of my favorite spaces is the bedroom. It is completely transformed from its original dark, moody, and slightly glam iteration, which didn’t jive with the light and bright goals Lauren had for the home,” recalls Stefani. “Both Lauren and Samira wanted the bedroom to be a space that was feminine and relaxing, but still felt modern. I selected a limited edition rug that was a collaboration between Aelfie & Studio Proba and paired it with custom furniture and the silvery lilac ombre walls to make the transformation complete.”
In a time when neutral shades and minimal shapes are everywhere, Stefani was excited to have the chance to decorate a space where color was king. As she told Architectural Digest, “it was such a treat to have color as the focal point, particularly at a time when many of my clients were all about neutrals and monochromatic spaces.”
And her clients certainly didn’t mind. The finished product definitely meets Lauren’s goals.
“I wanted it to feel like a representation of us, and I felt like we had an opportunity to do something uniquely feminine because it’s two women in a house.”