Cool Meets Casual in California

Cool Meets Casual in California

Cool Meets Casual in California


Designer Nina Jizhar brings warm, comfortable, and California cool elements to a couple’s Oakland home.

Photos by Vivian Johnson

In California, the world capital of cool, there’s an artform to making interiors livable and effortlessly stylish—and designer Nina Jizhar has nailed it. After a couple remodeled their Oakland home, they brought Nina on to introduce a warm, comfortable, modern vibe in the living room, dining room, and home office.

“We knew we wanted a bright, airy, livable look without any clutter,” Nina shares.

The resulting design tilts more curated then cluttered and more polished than precious. To really crank up the cool factor, Nina embraced tranquil colors throughout the home.

“My clients aren’t afraid of color,” Nina explains. “They like earth tones without being too earthy. Their walls were already painted creamy beige white, so to offset that, we balanced the color with cooler tones.”

Because the home office had also already been painted a calming blue, Nina chose to incorporate the color in moderation throughout the rest of the house to establish a cohesive look.

In the dining room, for instance, she selected an indigo star-motif console, abstract artwork with traces of cool blues, and black cerused oak frame dining chairs in blue upholstery that complement the existing character of the home.

“Bringing in furnishings with curves and movement really accentuates the beautiful tray ceilings throughout the house,” she says.

In the adjacent living room, the palette is largely neutral, with splashes of blue in the throw pillows and a Turkish rug in deep jewel-toned colors. To invite visual texture into the room, Nina went for a more layered look.

“We want a mix of materials in the space,” Nina says. “We incorporated natural wood furnishings with some black metal accents and brought in pattern and textures through textiles.”

These choices are evident in the industrial iron side table, teak and rattan armchairs, and a gently curved coffee table with a tobacco finish.

Nina also convinced her clients to add customization through built-ins, which double as storage in the living room and office. In the latter room, the goal was to create a space that was easily adaptable, in case her clients wanted to transform it into a guest room in the future. She made sure the built-ins, which include a bookshelf and window seat, shelving and cabinets, could also serve as a dresser or storage for linens. Because in California, even rooms go with the flow.

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In this tour:
Living Room