REDinterior: Creating the La Jolla Lifestyle Through Custom Interior Design
Buying a home is one thing, but making the space your own is a whole different ballgame. Whether you are moving into a new space, revamping your home to reflect your lifestyle, Rebecca, of REDinterior can help every step of the way. La Jolla provides endless opportunities to live the California lifestyle, own a beautiful property surrounded by water and enjoy everything this fantastic community has to offer. Whether you are settling into your home, need to organize before you sell or are searching for the perfect pieces to revamp your space, Rebecca is a wonderful resource for these projects and more. For almost a decade Rebecca has run her design studio REDinterior, specializing in helping homeowners settle into their home and personal style. She is not only an excellent resource for the best contractors, but also has an eye for creating exceptional home design experiences. We understand that settling into your new home is a process that extends well beyond closing and hope that our FAQ with Rebecca below will answer some of your design questions along with providing a local expert to help you along the way to molding the perfect space for you.
Q: What do you provide for new homeowners? A: I am known by my clients to be like family, the good kind that is, the family you can always count on who doesn’t demand much in return. I also believe what we create should reflect my client’s personal taste, not mine. Plus, I don’t work in just one style or have a “signature look” which I create over and over. Instead, I help my clients create the home they have dreamed of, a place which is both unique and entirely “them.”
So, if the first thing I provide to my clients is sincere interest in their vision and dreams, the second is guidance. There are so many decisions which need to be made when designing a room, whether it’s furnishings or a remodel. If you’ve ever bought a sofa, you know what I mean. Which fabric? Individual cushions or bench? Tight back or loose cushions? What dimensions are best for the space? What kind of arm: Lawson, English, square, etc.? Should the cushions have a welt or a flange? And that doesn’t even cover all the choices – just for the sofa. Now imagine piecing together a whole room. There are loads of decisions that I guide my clients through. Nailing all of those details is critical to achieving the look which truly suits them and their lifestyle.
Q: What is different about designing for new homeowners? A: I love designing for new homeowners. I think it’s because the majority of them always want to do a little bit of remodeling, not all, but the majority. Those projects can be overwhelming. I think people don’t realize all the choices out there. Clients can easily become overwhelmed or simply not have the time to spend making those decisions, so they pick something “good enough.” I think if you’re spending the money you should get great, not good enough. I help them get great. The other thing people tend to do is to use too many different styles which don’t blend well. Clients need help making their home look cohesive. A reoccurring comment from my clients is along the lines of: “you’ve taken all of our likes into consideration and brought in as many as you could, while kindly telling us ‘that one’ doesn’t go.” It’s hard for clients to give up a certain something. I meet this challenge by explaining how elements 1-8 work together and how elements/ideas A & B don’t fit in as well. Then I ask if they would be willing to give up elements A and B. Seeing what they couldn’t see before, because of the explanations I’ve given, 99 times out of 100, clients happily agree and move forward.
Q: What is one of the biggest mistakes you see new homeowners making?
A: Gosh. It’s going to sound a little self-serving but it’s going to the big box stores for furnishings and not budgeting enough for furnishings. The reason I feel that it’s a big mistake to go to box stores is because we are all unique individuals and we want to express ourselves in unique ways. When you go to a box store, your neighbor can go out and buy the exact same look the next day if they want to. Boring! I think most people don’t realize how much is out there that they don’t even know about. They have no idea it even exists, there are hundreds of vendors and furniture makers out there who designers have access to. On the luxurious end you’ll see them advertised in Architectural Digest and other shelter magazines, but there are just as many in the moderate price range as well. Clients don’t realize they don’t have to buy the sectional that’s 6 ft. by 8 ft. at the box store. We can make one that’s 5-3/4 ft. by 9-1/4 ft. because that’s what fits the space better, because that’s what suits them best and because that’s what will suit their space the best, rather than a preconceived size that’s available from the showroom. Then there is the budget for furnishings. Too many people don’t budget enough for furnishings. A good rule of thumb is 10-15% of the home’s value. Imagine you have a 3 million dollar home, of course you don’t go to Pottery Barn to buy your furnishings, that’s like buying a Ferrari and going to Jiffy Lube for your oil changes.
Q: Is one of your specialties helping to make a budget work alongside creating a design that is custom and catered to your clients’ tastes?
A: Yes. Some people have Rolls Royce budgets while others have a Lexus budget. I can work with either, but I need to know where to shop. When I ask for a budget it’s not to spend every penny, it’s to get you the best value for your dollar. Imagine you don’t tell me your budget and I bring you a Rolls Royce when you can afford a Lexus – or vice versa – either way I’ve wasted both our time and look foolish. I’m not going to charge one person more for the same item because they have a bigger budget. It’s the attention to detail, it’s the little nuances, and it’s the special touches you get at the higher end. For the moderate type budget, I try and convince those customers to do things in stages. Let’s get you quality stuff that will last for a long time and do it in stages rather than get low quality items to fill the house.
A: What can I do to make my home as appealing as possible with the lowest cost? Understandably, they don’t want to invest in things that might or might not work in their next home.
Q: What is the first tip that comes to mind for home sellers?
A: De-cluttering is always first. However, making homes neutral from a color standpoint is a close second. For example, some people will see your orange pillows and if they hate orange they may shut off – you definitely don’t want that. So, make the home as neutral as possible. This way anyone can say I could choose a yellow pillow or a red pillow or a purple pillow or whatever the color may be, that is their personal taste in the room.
Q: Would you say that de-cluttering is the number one thing people need to do before they list their home?
A: I do. We people, we human beings are collectors and our stuff isn’t always appealing to other people. You need to aim for a model home look. This is a look where anyone could imagine themselves in. The goal is to get the most people to like your home so they want to put in an offer. If ten people walk through your home, you want eight people to like it.
A: I think we’re seeing a strong attraction to casual elegance, where we take traditional pieces and strip them down to make them more livable vs. stuffy. We use neutral fabrics rather than a traditional fabric on a traditional piece of furniture and add in accents of color. So this year’s colors are a form of purple, when next year’s color comes up, you can switch out some accessory and it will still look current. Traditional will always be in, right? These are forms and shapes that have been around for decades, we are just putting our own spin on them to make them feel relevant and current. We are adding reclaimed items to make traditional more hip or pairing a traditional chair with a very contemporary fabric to make it go with our leather sofa. It’s a very eclectic time and I really love it but it’s hard to pull off – you definitely need to know what you’re doing. With that said, the seventies are coming back right now – it’s kind of cool. We’re doing 70s in a much more sophisticated way. We’re not doing it with the avocado green and the horrible orange that was big back then; rather we are adopting the metals in chairs and coffee tables and incorporating them into our rooms. Lastly, here in California, I would also say outdoor living spaces are always important but we now have fabrics that allow us to make them look nicer than ever before. We can truly take the inside and bring it out like we’ve never been able to before.
A: A bookshelf or shelving of any sort. For books, simple little things like bringing them all to the fronts of the shelves – just that will make a stuffed shelf look less cluttered.
Q: What is the best renovation in terms of adding value to your home?
A: A kitchen or a bath. A master bath is the best investment I think, but even a really cute powder room can win someone over. Don’t get me wrong, a kitchen can make or break a house but with people becoming more and more interested in food and cooking, kitchens are becoming very, very personalized, it’s not a one size fits all anymore.
A: Oh gosh. The weather is fantastic, but for anyone who lives here, that’s a ridiculous answer. Let me give you an example. My husband made this really cute comment to a woman in the coffee shop. She said “Oh my God, it’s such a gorgeous day out we have to enjoy it.” He responded with: “I know, we have to enjoy all 320 gorgeous days we have because the rest are really terrible.” Living our indoor/outdoor life is why we all live here, because you really can be outside 320 days a year. So, because of that, I would say our ocean views are the best thing about La Jolla; we can enjoy them year round and count on the fact that the weather and the views help homes really hold their value, no matter what the market is doing.
Q: Selling a home is much more than selling a number of bedrooms and bathrooms. How do you suggest home sellers sell the lifestyle of La Jolla through particular design elements?
A: Making a home visually consistent from the inside to the outside. Creating, if you can, walls of glass that open up the inside to the outside expands your space and it makes a smaller home feel bigger and a bigger home feel more luxurious. Back yards are also a great place to have fun and entertain. Like in my backyard, we have a fire pit and we bring out the movie screen in the summer and show outdoor movies. It’s just so much fun to have friends over and socialize outdoors and even though drive-in theaters have gone by the wayside we’ve created our own private outdoor theater. However, the master bath is really important too. There are so many demands on us today with technology being what it is; we’re reachable 24/7. I think we rarely shut off our minds anymore. Creating a small sitting area within the bedroom gives a homeowner a space to retreat to and relax whether it’s with a book, to watch a favorite TV program or to meditate. A luxurious bath with free-standing soaking tub is another treasured way to relax and unwind from a long day. Creating these spaces in your home will make it more desirable, both an indoor/outdoor space and a master bath.
For more information about Rebecca’s awesome backyard movies, design services and how she can help you move into or out of your current home, we encourage you to browse through her website, Facebook or blog!