Vanessa De Vargas of Turquoise
is a woman of many talents, not the least of which is her keen decorating eye. She can find a piece of furniture
on the street, lacquer it, send it to her top secret upholsterer with the perfect piece of fabric and wahlah, it's a drool-worthy, one-of-a-kind dream piece of furniture. When she's not running her interior design business, Turquoise, or restoring furniture or blogging
or going to interpretive dance karaoke, Vanessa somehow finds time in her very busy schedule to plan networking events for her design peers
in L.A.. She is a generous mentor to the point that I've even heard her called "Mother Hen". Without further ado, let's step inside Vanessa's 550 square foot cottage in Venice Beach California.
Please tell us about your “first meeting” with your house.
I knew I wanted to be by the beach and the fact that I was ideally looking for a place that was its own freestanding cottage made this place perfect!
What was the first step of your remodeling/decorating process?
The walls were all dark green; it was awful. So I painted everything light. The bedroom light blue, the living room off white and the kitchen
. Paint was the first thing I tackled. Then came the floors - I bought a bunch of sea grass rugs that cover the hardwood floors. Then deciding on what style I wanted to create - I went for a relaxed Chinoiserie beach look!
What was the biggest renovation/decoration challenge you faced?
Storage, where to store things!
Luckily, I have a small mud room off the back that houses all my materials and miscellaneous interior design samples. I have really downsized since moving into a small space. It forces you to keep what you need and I find myself always cleaning out drawers and closets
- making room for new things. Also, I created side tables from lucite storage boxes. I don’t read my books all the time, but it's a great way to display them at the same time!
What are your favorite styles and colors?
My favorites right now are emerald green, salmon/pink/ magenta and of course turquoise
Which spot in your house makes you very happy and proud?
It would have to be the green vintage Asian cabinets I had re-lacquered in my entryway. The pop of color is a nice combination to the off-white walls
and other vintage Asian pieces I have in the room.
What is your most precious piece of furniture/accessory/art?
The large 11"x14” black and white modeling
photos of my mother.
What is your next house project?
Painting the floors in the kitchen again...and framing all my letters and miscellaneous press to put in my bathroom
. I really want to make it a fun collage of letters I've received and magazine articles.
What is your best tip for the remodeling/decorating beginner?
Make an inspiration board, find colors that you wear or respond to when you're out shopping, or find yourself gravitating toward. Pick basic colors like beige, white and cream
for remodeling. That way you can play with wallpaper for a punch of color or artwork that can always be switched out.
What is your favorite source for home decor (etsy? flea market? grandma's attic? Fyndes? etc.)?
Vintage old home decorating books from the 60’s and 70’s. The Better Homes and Gardens series are classic books that are actually quite informative when it comes to color and furniture placement. I am a fan of Real Living Magazine
What is your biggest design pet peeve?
Pieces of furniture pieces that are too large for a room. If you live in a small space, think of the relation to the other pieces in the room. Smaller scale items don’t crowd a room. I can't tell you how many times people walk into my place and say, "Wow I love how spacious your home is" and I have to remind them, it's only 550 square feet!
Since you are a professional interior designer, please pick out a few favorite projects to share with us.
The e-decorating board below was done for a New York living room and I especially loved working with this particular client. She had AMAZING taste and she loved how it turned out.
Another recent favorite is Venice 5. The I love the raspberry color I chose for my client's bedroom..it's really bold! And a color I have never used before. I like taking chances and clients that will appreciate them!
I love that raspberry color too. It seems like it could have gone horribly wrong, but it went sooooo right! Look closely and check out the clever way Vanessa added a headboard without using a headboard. I need to go add that to my creative headboards
To see more of Vanessa's work, click here
Thank you so much to Vanessa for letting us into her beautiful cottage!