Our Designer’s Bright California Abode

Our Designer’s Bright California Abode

Our Designer’s Bright California Abode


Daniela Malca Benloulou, Homepolish designer


Tour along with Homepolish designer Daniela Malca Benloulou as she shows us how she created a beautiful suburban home outside of Los Angeles.

Photos by Amy Bartlam.

Two weeks before our wedding, my husband and I moved from a tiny West Hollywood apartment to a townhouse in the ‘burbs. With family flying in from all of the world in the August heat, all while planning the details of multiple wedding-related events, it was a whirlwind! I honestly don’t know how we survived. We had found a 1967 home without much of an architectural style (I suppose the outside could be labeled Hollywood Regency Revival wannabe). Because there were no moldings or details inside, I decided the interior should be kept clean, with a very slight nod to the mid-century. We were able to install recessed lighting, as well as paint the walls white, before moving in. Over the next year, we slowly gathered furniture and accessories while I planned the kitchen renovation. Finally, on Election Day 2016 (you can never forget a day like that…), we broke ground on the kitchen and master bath remodels.

In the kitchen, the main imperative was to take down the wall separating it from the rest of the common area and to allow natural sunlight to be reflected off of light color choices. The cabinets are a custom veneer. I looked at pretty much every supplier to find a modern, whitewashed hue that would make brushed brass hardware pop. (I literally had a heavy gold cabinet knob in my purse for months while walking into various cabinetry places!) As a special tribute to our Moroccan heritage (hey, your home should reflect YOU!), the backsplash is a white mosaic of mother-of-pearl and white Thassos marble and the cement floor tile is in a brilliant blue floral pattern. I was really set on choosing materials that weren’t in everyone else’s remodel.

The master bath required moving a few walls as well, and relocating all the plumbing. Materials were kept simple from white marble to glass. I installed a discreet shelving niche to hide away my shampoo and body scrub hoarding problem. And my bathtub makes me SO happy. We did some serious construction, expanding the bathroom, relocating HVAC, just to be able to fit that large soaking tub. And you know what? I don’t regret the construction headaches in the slightest.

In terms of furnishings in the rest of the home, everything here is pet-friendly. All upholstery is “cat-proof” microfiber or velvet, and all rugs are “accident-proof” Flor tiles or just inexpensive enough to toss if needed. The overall aesthetic goal was to create a warm, inviting, home while keeping to clean lines with happy pops of color and pattern. And of course, keeping it functional for us.

When it came to accessories, we are an international family. I wanted the home to reflect our global perspective without being too kitschy. For example, the wall plates in the living room are actually from wooden table bases, one from Morocco and the other from Algeria. I figured they would get more love up on the wall. Other “worldly” accents, such as the rugs, are secretly super-durable Flor carpet tiles. Perfect for us what with the pets. All in all, it’s a home perfectly made for us.

5 Think Like a Designer Tips
1. Don’t be afraid to frame wrapping paper or a similarly inexpensive paper as art.
2. Faux succulents and air plants are a fabulous alternative to the real thing if you have a black thumb.
3. Textiles from around the world can add interest to a modern aesthetic.
4. If you have low ceilings and lack direct sunlight, keep your walls white and your furniture as light as possible.
5. For a kitchen remodel, I highly suggest one big sink without a divider.


For related stories, check out:
The California home of our designer Haley Weidenbaum.
The San Francisco loft of Homepolish’s Savannah Metcalf.

In this tour: