when designing a sun-drenched home in Playa Vista, California, Julia Newman of Julia Adele Designs had the opportunity to help her clients start anew while marrying contemporary and traditional styles.
“Although the space is not small, it was downsizing for the client,” Newman explains. “Their previous home was very large and traditional. The furniture reflected this, and therefore was too heavy and dark for the new modern space.”
Showcasing their large collection of antiques was a priority for the couple she was working with, Newman explains. “This was especially exciting, as I am an antique lover myself,” she adds. “It was important to me to highlight their collection without weighing down the light and contemporary feel of the space.”
The antiques also set the tone in terms of the hues Newman introduced into the home. “To keep the focus on the art and antiques, we kept the colors fairly neutral but used accent colors to bring attention to pieces on which we wanted to focus,” she explains.
The perfect backdrop to begin displaying some of their most special finds? The home’s entryway. “I was careful to choose statement pieces for this space,” Newman says. “I decided on a beautifully framed landscape painting and a stunning wood end table that picked up the rich colors in the painting. I continued to build spaces around the focal pieces to give the home a cohesive feel.”
The living room was developed around the client’s remarkable antique rug, unusual for its kind, as it features such vibrant colors as bright pink, cranberry, and teal. She offset this colorful piece with a neutral sofa in an easy-to-clean chenille.
“The built-in was the opportunity to showcase the clients’ personalities and collections,” Newman shares. “Specifically, it highlights their Lalique pieces and colored glass Galle collection.”
Because her clients only brought with them their artwork, rugs, and antique décor, Newman was able to source a number of pieces of her own. One of her favorites? The Calligaris dining table. “I love how it looks like the top is floating on the legs, giving it an incredible lightness,” she reflects.
The dining room itself overlooks a park square, and Newman appreciates how the table complements the view. “While it gives the look of marble, it is actually much more user friendly and is ceramic with tempered glass, which subtly reflects the trees outside,” she adds.
The room’s light fixture, a past piece from Hubbardton Forge, “really reflects the approach I took with the whole home,” Newman shares. “It is clean, simple, but with great details. This light fixture was handmade to order in Vermont and embodies a long tradition of expert craftsmanship.”
In the bar area, the mirror was the star of the show. “I fell in love with it, and it needed to have its own dedicated space,” Newman says. “The mirror reflected the transition into a modern, lighter lifestyle. It was placed carefully to enhance the art pieces in the living room, all of which have gold frames like that of the mirror.”
In the kitchen, Newman skillfully selected pieces that pay a nod to other rooms in the home. “The blue velvet stools mirror the living room accent pillows, the marble backsplash ties into the marble look top of the dining table, and the pendant lights complement the dining room light,” she notes. “When working with open floor plans, it is important that the spaces flow.”
Newman designed the primary bedroom around an antique rug. “I tried to ensure that none of the other pieces were too heavy or distracting to let the rug stand out,” she shares. “However, there are thoughtful details throughout the space, including a solid walnut wood frame of the bed, a marble handled nightstand, and reframed multi-generational family profile photos.”
The home feels functional, comfortable, and completely personal. Everything feels like it has meaning.
Though merging antique and contemporary finds required careful thought and planning, Newman was extremely successful at creating a space that reflects her clients’ passions while meeting their day-to-day needs.
“My clients say that their art collection and antiques are more appreciated and look better in this space than they did in their traditional home, in large part because the design of the home was meant to draw attention to these pieces,” she says. “They also say that the home feels functional, comfortable, and completely personal. Everything feels like it has meaning.”