California Cool With a Classic Twist

California Cool With a Classic Twist

California Cool With a Classic Twist


When California-based couple Sabrina and Brion Applegate found their Upper East Side pied-à-terre filled with dull staging furniture, they called Homepolish’s Ariel Okin for help.

Photos by Seth Caplan.

Both the East and West Coasts have their signatures, whether it’s their weather patterns, their cuisines, or their preferred exercise (hiking in New York City consists of the subway stairs we have to climb).

And whether the coastline hugs warm Santa Monica shores or chilly Hamptons beaches tends to affect the design. Typically, the West stays cozy and casual while the East bends either more traditional or cutting-edge. But who wants typical?

When San Francisco and Los Angeles-based couple Sabrina and Brion Applegate found themselves with a sterile New York City pied-à-terre, Homepolish designer Ariel Okin infused influences from both coasts to create a comfortable-yet-polished home for the two. The goal: create a cozy home-away-from-home for when they visit Sabrina’s daughter who attends college in NYC.

Right off the bat, Ariel knew the partnership would work.

“Sabrina and Brion were my absolute favorite clients to work with of all time,” Ariel gushed. “Sabrina totally shared my affinity for blue and white color schemes and Chinoiserie elements, so we hit it off immediately!”

Chinoiserie ended up being the perfect thread to blend the coastal styles, with its traditional,  soft, vintage vibe melding both East and West Coast palettes.

To move the room from the white-box rooms filled with rental furniture to perfectly personal, Ariel began with wall treatments that would take the space from sterile to stylish—powdery blue paint for the living room, a soft gray shade for the master bedroom, a silvery temporary Chinoiserie wallpaper for the guest bedroom, and floor-to-ceiling window treatments to add length.

For an additional boost of character, Ariel incorporated plenty of custom or one-of-a-kind pieces to ensure the space felt just as singular at what they have in their full-time home.

“I was really excited to use a vintage Chinoiserie screen in the living room; I feel like it’s the star of the show,” Ariel said.

Ariel sourced a host of incredible pieces to keep the home cohesive and perfectly curated.

In the spaces that didn’t feature the Chinoiserie motifs, Ariel made sure the design was as appropriately cozy—and chicly appointed, like the breakfast nook upholstered in icy linen.

“The custom banquette paired with the white marble Knoll table and custom Jonathan Adler Chippendale chairs is my favorite moment,” she tells us. “It’s such a happy and sophisticated little nook, and I love that Brion reads his morning paper there every day!”

Beyond the palette, Ariel worked to balance the formal with the fresh in every choice.

“I tried to blend the East and West Coast aesthetics by using classic silhouettes—like tufting, club chairs, etc.—but giving them a relaxed twist by upholstering them in light and airy linen and woven cotton fabrics,” Ariel explains. “By complementing the larger furniture pieces with woven jute rugs, which remind me of the beach, cool blue tones, and billowy window treatments, I tried to take a little bit of that California ease bicoastal.”

In the end, Ariel finished the project in just under three months, which is no small feat as Sabrina and Brion know.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better designer,” Sabrina says. “Ariel’s kindness, patience, and innate sense of style made this entire process a dream.”

Feeling inspired to spruce up your space? Sign up with Homepolish today. Click through the gallery below for additional photos and sourcing information. 

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