Los Angeles based creative visionary, Garance Doré (who is also an author, illustrator and photographer) encompasses an undeniable energy that translates to everything she touches. As the founder and creative director of Doré, an online destination whose sole focus is creating content that inspires a more creative life, you can bet her home renovation was approached with a similar intention.
The French photographer had a stint in Manhattan before buying a home Mar Vista, Los Angeles. Domino Magazine came on to tell the design story of the remodel, and paired Garance up with uber-talented designer and mom of two darling kiddos, Sarah Sherman Samuel, to design the home of her dreams. When asked if we’d like to get involved, it was a screamingly obvious “yes".
PHOTO BY JASON FRANK ROTHENBERG FOR DOMINO MAGAZINE
With Sarah's signature lived-in aesthetic, we knew the home would be nothing short of spectacular. It's modern, but warm; relaxed, yet styled. In every corner, you'll find functional and relaxing spaces (think clever built-ins, endless seating, playful lighting fixtures, and loads of blush hues).
Sarah and Garance are a dream design team, and it came as no surprise that the two are just as lovely as they are creative. We absolutely loved getting to chat with them about their recently completed project, and we think you might learn a thing or two from the creative duo.
Continue on for our interview with Sarah and Garance, and head to Domino Magazine for the full feature.
PHOTO BY JASON FRANK ROTHENBERG FOR DOMINO MAGAZINE
Barnaby: We imagine decorating an L.A. home is a very different process than styling your last home in Manhattan! How are you approaching this space differently?
Garance: Let’s be very honest here: as many New Yorkers, I don’t really feel like I had a home before. Apartments in New York are small, and you don’t really spend much time at home — I mean I really didn’t. In L.A., I spend most of my time at home. I work here, have friends and family over, it’s such an important part of my life, and because it’s a place for myself as well as for others, decorating it is more broad. Some spots are just for me, some are to enjoy with the people I love. I created a lot of different sitting areas, six in only in the living and dining area, and we use them all. It’s fun, welcoming, and atmospherical.
Barnaby: Sarah, we know you’re knee-deep in your own renovation right now! How did this process differ from renovating your home in Michigan?
Sarah: Whenever I work for a client I have to take their life’s story into the design as well as pair it with my own aesthetic. Ultimately, Garance was my muse and her personal style, her heritage, and her backstory play a big role into material selections and the overall design.
Barnaby: How would you say you complimented each other? Any specific places we can see the marriage of your unique styles in your home?
Garance: I’ve followed and loved Sarah’s work for a long time and I love the peace that I can feel in her designs. I also loved that she’s grounded and realistic, yet knows exactly what she wants. We were almost neighbors and when we met and I told her all my ideas. I could feel that she was listening, truly listening. I am not a very detailed oriented person, I am a big picture person — she has both. My favorite thing is the kitchen because that was my number one thing I wanted to change. We needed to bring in light - but she also brought texture and softness. The living room too, with the built-in seating I had dreamt of, but with those rounded angles that make it so welcoming. Oh, and last one, the nook! I really wanted a nook (I’m writing to you from it) and we really worked together on conceptualizing it. how do you create a nook in a room that has no angles? Then she took it home with the leather pillow.
Sarah: The built-in banquette was a great marriage of our styles. It was her idea to create a nook within her large open concept space. We both love built-ins and plastered anything so we used my own line of cabinet doors in the kitchen which ultimately also carved out the perfect place for her nook. I then designed the banquette with a plaster base, and a natural leather cushion which will get weathered and worn over time allowing Garance to make it completely her own.
"Find inspiration in the abstract."
— SARAH SHERMAN SAMUEL
"To me, a home is about feeling good. I sometimes feel uncomfortable in a place that feels too 'perfect' like an exhibition. I want a place to be able to live."
— GARANCE DORÉ
Barnaby: That banquette has taken over Pinterest, and it’s pretty obvious why! How would you describe your signature look?
Garance: I would say warm and welcoming, intimate and bright. To me, a home is about feeling good. I sometimes feel uncomfortable in a place that feels too “perfect” like an exhibition. I want a place to be able to live. So different corners, being able to sit on the floor, a fireplace for a source of warmth, a very welcoming kitchen, and just a lot of softness and natural, sensual materials.
Barnaby: How did you feel that Barnaby Lane fit in to the project? In other words, what stood out about the brand when selecting furniture and decor?
Garance: SO MANY THINGS! Visually, the the chairs and the lamps are stunning. But when I opened the boxes, and actually saw and touched and sat on the chairs, that’s when I got to understand the full vibe. The materials are beautiful and sensual, and the chairs feel so good! They’re a big big part of the atmosphere of the home. The lamps are in my master and there again, the finishes and colors are absolutely perfect. The room is a very special, intimate place. I made it very dark as a contrast with the rest of the home. Black leather is perfect for it.
Sarah: The beautiful blush leather combined with the warm wood was the perfect fit with all of the natural finishes and the color palette we were going for in Garance’s home. They have a polished but a relaxed look all at once which is always a winning combination.
Barnaby: What goals did you have for the dining area?
Garance: I just thought about my friends and family, and about a warm, welcoming space. I knew I would get back to cooking and that I’d have a lot of people around. I am not formal, I cook as I go, people help, and I wanted this casualness to be imprinted in the dining space.
Sarah: We wanted to create a space for friends and family to gather over a meal and feel comfortable enough to linger long after. The dining area is part of the main space so we didn’t want it to feel to formal or fussy, but be an extension of the living room.
Barnaby: We’re obsessing over the dark, moody bedroom’s contrast to the rest of the hues in the home. How did you approach the design of the master bedroom?
Sarah: Garance was clear from the get-go that she wanted her bedroom to be all about sleep and she likes it as dark as possible. She had two sets of temporary black out shades taped over her windows when I first walked through the house. There was never any doubt we were going to go dark for her bedroom. It creates a retreat, a cozy place of rest in contrast to the rest of the house.
Barnaby: How did you land on your colour palette of blushes and terra cotta hues?
Garance: Blush and pink have always been a part of my repertoire, my book is that color, but Sarah really pushed to make it a thing! And that’s where working with another creative is so interesting. I wanted more colors in the beginning and she was more into this muted tone. I actually love it now and wouldn’t want anything else.
Barnaby: Your best bit of design advice?
Garance: I would say, it takes a village. In France, it’s very rare to work with a decorator but I really couldn’t have done without her. I really encourage people to collaborate!
Sarah: Find inspiration in the abstract.
Barnaby: Can you give us 5 words to describe you?
Garance: Wow, mmmm... free, creative, messy, human - full of love.
Sarah: Creative, dreamer, mother, wife, aesthete.
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