Local Interior Designers Share Tips, Trends

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Looking to refresh or redesign a home in 2020? The Palisadian-Post checked in with local interior designers to see what trends they have noticed in Pacific Palisades.

“Originally, Pacific Palisades was quite traditional with small, broken up rooms, dark floors and beige tones with a Cape Cod wanna-be feel,” Lori Erenberg, who has lived in town for decades, shared. “This past trend has changed profoundly—people are gravitating toward large, open plans, lighter paint schemes and more fluid space to function in multiple ways.”

Erenberg, who boasts a “long-established interior design business,” explained that she finds clients enjoying kitchen and family rooms that open to each other without any dividing walls, ideal for facilitating entertaining, watching children or any family activities.

“Lighting is now used as art to flush walls with color, smart home functionality to facilitate our busy lifestyles,” she said.

Susan Jay, a Palisades-based designer who shared that her focus has been to “create unique, comfortable environments that combine function, aesthetics and dedication to understanding a client’s needs,” agreed about exploring “smart home” technology, which she said is “always evolving and improving quality of life.”

“Our physical spaces and environments we occupy hold an opportunity of influencing our core being,” Jay said of interior design. “I believe, inherently, we want to be surrounded by beauty, because intuitively, whether we are aware of it or not, there is a direct connection to how we feel.”

Jay suggested making lighting a top priority, that beyond general lighting, create layers for overall illumination of spaces—and utilize dimmers “everywhere.”

As far as color, Jay recommended staying true to what the person finds appealing rather than be influenced by what is “hip.”

“People are using bolder accent colors—light grey for walls, lighter wood tones for flooring,” Erenberg said of color choices.

When it comes to furnishings, Erenberg said to go casual and comfortable, with informal pieces like large sectional sofas with “mid-century modern accents or punctuated by a piece of functional art.”

“Invest in a few special pieces,” Jay shared of furnishings. “Blending high-quality with modest pieces can make for a ‘timeless’ and ‘eclectic’ look.”

Jay shared that indoor/outdoor living has gone beyond a trend in the Palisades … it is “essential to our well-being” and she recommended seeking ways to “nurture” with “nature.”

Photo courtesy of Susan Jay

Erenberg said that for outdoor spaces, Palisadians can consider fire pits, outdoor TVs, contemporary outdoor lounge areas for entertaining, herb gardens, lap pools, minimalistic hardscape and water-tolerant landscape.

When it comes to kitchens, Erenberg said that quartzite seems to be the go-to for countertops at the moment because it is stronger and more durable than granite or marble. She also sees a lot of slick kitchen cabinetry, with flat paneled doors.

And again, she circled back to open floorplans that are multifunctional. She sees under-counter refrigerators and wine storage, as well as induction stove tops and electrical outlets on counter types.

There are also “interesting and versatile” storage systems that can be placed inside cabinetry. Full height storage will hide most of the day-to-day appliances and kitchen utensils to the other open areas of the space.

“A trend I see in bathrooms are large wet areas with a free-standing bath and shower bench in the same area, and sometimes a separate steam room,” Erenberg shared. “Large format heated tile floors, marble or porcelain tile on the shower walls. Bathroom vanities, wall-mounted and free-floating and if not that, bathroom vanities that look like a piece of furniture in the room.”

She added that a nice element to include is a “beautiful dressing table” with good light and makeup storage.

Following last year’s fire season, Jay concluded that it is “essential to be proactive” and consider emergency preparedness in the home.