Sunset Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Irene Edwards knows a thing or two about California style. Combining the tradition of the magazine’s legacy brand with contemporary aesthetics and content, she’s kept Sunset at the forefront of design conversations. Another way the publication stays ahead of the curve and ever-inspiring is with their annual Idea House where innovative designs and decorating ideas are showcased in homes around the country. This year, Irene has styled a Beverly Hills dream home that evokes Western living. We asked her about current design trends, reworking a space, and styling the 2018 Idea House.
What is the vibe of this house?
If I could sum up this house in two words, it would be: California dreaming. It’s a classic mid-century ranch with a seamless indoor-outdoor connection to the garden and pool. We kept the interior relatively neutral to embrace the gorgeous views to the backyard.
The house is a 1955 ranch, and what I love about it is it’s in Beverly Hills and it’s iconic and attainable. We remodeled the interior so from the moment you walk in, your eyes are drawn to the back where the doors open up to the yard and create a seamless experience. It’s a mild climate and a mid-century structure so it’s very dominate in certain parts of the west. There are lot of ranch homes around the country so it can give lots of people ideas.
What was your inspiration in creating these looks?
The idyll of West Coast living, where nature, the landscape, and a feeling of limitless potential inform our choices in design, food, entertaining, and what we choose to do with our time.
We kept the color palette pretty consistent, the art is pretty maximalist and eye-catching — I love art, so that was a conscious decision.
Where do you get started when reworking a space?
I normally start with spending a great deal of time at the current site or in the current space to capture its energy, mood, and the way light moves throughout during the day. I let that sink into my psyche so that it carries through to whatever we do next. Then I start with the floorplan and see where that takes me from there.
What are some great ways to get easy updates?
As we all know, the easiest and most dramatic way to make over an entire space is to play with color across large surfaces — paint, fabric, stick-on wallpaper, what have you. Lighting is also a major game-changer; there’s no substitute for what a properly lit room can achieve. I would also look to area rugs, artwork, and indoor plants or floral arrangements for instant and relatively affordable updates.
Mixing styles is currently trending. How do you blend different styles with ease?
It does take a certain amount of confidence to play with styles and juxtapose eras, sensibilities, and influences that don’t necessarily “go together.” But I love a good contrast and I think that’s exactly what makes a home come alive. I like to start with a neutral, pared-down space and then place an ornate object or furniture piece. Or the reverse — the master bedroom in my Victorian has Old World black and white toile wallpaper, so I kept the furniture fairly minimalist and mid-century-inspired with a hint of Swedish antique.
How does the look of the Idea House play with the environment?
This house draws from its environment in every way. The interior is subtle and low-key so that the backyard can take center stage.
What were some of your favorite pieces to style with?
First of all, I have to say, I could’ve spent all week on Hayneedle’s site — there is truly something for everyone. From the Idea House, I really love the entryway chairs and the side table. It makes the entryway feel really sophisticated. The low-profile bed in the bedroom feels like a hotel bed almost. I chose some console tables that I love — more people should use consoles because they’re such an impactful moment, especially around the holidays when you have a lot of guests. They’re great styling moments right off the bat and functional.
The stunning Beverly Hills Idea House features minimalist, contemporary style that blends Southwest style with California eclecticism. Best of all, it’s attainable for all spaces, big and small. Check out more looks from Sunset’s 2018 Idea House as well as more to come from our partnership.