Nancy & Alan's Colorful Playa Vista Condo

Nancy & Alan's Colorful Playa Vista Condo

Bethany Nauert
Aug 24, 2011

Name: Nancy Schwappach and Alan Laidlaw
Location: Playa Vista — Los Angeles, California
Size: 1400 square feet
Years lived in: 7 years — Own

Nancy and Alan have been building a home for the past year, but in the mean time they've updated their Playa Vista condo. Though this is a temporary home, they've managed to bring together colorful artwork and warm decor for a functional and contemporary surrounding.

When interior designer Joel Dessaules of LDC Home, told me about his client's space, I was intrigued with the full makeover they gave their condo. Even though this is a temporary home, during the construction of their new house, they've completed a very inviting and comfortable setting to rest their heads. They've painted the walls rich tones that tie together the decor and accent pillows. I love that they installed a door to the master bedroom, where the original floor plan didn't include actual closed off spaces. They've brought out the charm of the hardwood floors, wonderful natural light and airy quality about the space through tons of tall draperies and various light fixtures.

Nancy and Alan depended heavily on Joel's design savvy to create custom pieces, such as daybed style lounging couches and the awesome reclaimed wood island/table in the kitchen. I enjoyed seeing deep red accents, which contrast nicely with the cool blues and creams. The furniture and accessories are mixed so well with all their personal effects, like their framed photos and artwork. Really, they could bring everything right into their new home. They've created a nice contemporary modern look which is adaptable to any home.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Comfortable and practical - but eclectic.

Inspiration: Setting off our artwork without competing with it. Finding furniture that is beautiful and can stand alone as a work of art - yet serves a functional purpose.

Favorite Element: House-wise - we love the high ceilings, open floor plan and large windows which catch an ocean breeze. Design-wise - we absolutely love our counter-height rolling dining table / kitchen island which was custom designed and fabricated for us by the world's best designer, Joel Dessaules of LDC Home. Although we could never have described it to him in a million years, he somehow read our minds and provided the perfect piece. We also love our roll-in entertainment center, which complements the kitchen island.

Biggest Challenge: We purchased an ocean front home that needs a major renovation and we do not intend to live long term in our current home, hoping to move on when the market recovers a bit. So we wanted to avoid a major remodel and do just enough to make it comfortable and stylish (and, ultimately, marketable). We also wanted our furniture to be portable and flexible - so it would have a chance to work in our new home - but suit the open and industrial look of our loft style condo. Finding the way to do "just enough" without having obviously skimped was an interesting balance (particularly for Joel!).
We also needed storage that doesn't look like storage - which is harder than one might think - and to coordinate all the new stuff with our existing art collection.

What Friends Say: "Wow - this looks so great." Then, knowing we could have never pulled this off on our own "Who was your designer?"

Biggest Embarrassment: The guest room - we decided not to touch it and now really need a way to hide it. Also, that we kept Nancy's grandma's veneer dining set (complete with cane backed chairs - we kid you not) and 25-year old sofa for as long as we did.

Proudest DIY: Just after we moved in we designed the buffet in the kitchen and the cabinets in the den. The buffet is built around our wine fridge but we have a piece that slides in as an additional cabinet if we ever get rid of the fridge. The cabinets in the deck can be re-arranged and stacked in different configurations when we move on. And the absolutely most favorite "pre-Joel" item is the very ordinary looking cabinet which converts into a desk. Our cabinet maker outdid himself on that one. Joel calls Nancy the "crazy cabinet lady" because of our mish-mash of wood cabinets but we like them.

Biggest Indulgence: Four $190 accent pillows - who knew plain old linen pillows could cost that much? But by the time we figured out the price we had grown attached to them. And they really do provide a lovely finishing touch.

Best Advice: If you are design or time challenged, for a big project like what we went through, find a designer you trust - and then trust him or her. But at the end, don't be afraid of "empty" or "unfinished" space and avoid buying something just because it "matches" something you have or "will fit" in a specific space. Instead, save room and keep an eye out for things you love and believe that somehow they will all fit together in the end.

Bethany's additional questions:
What is the single most significant thing in your home? Each other.

When you think of designing a home what is the most essential part? It has to be livable and make you feel happy when you walk in the door.

How has the lifestyle and culture in Los Angeles, affected your personal design aesthetic? We love the open floor plans and large windows.

Dream Sources: We are entirely not creative enough to answer this question - which is why we needed Joel.

Resources of Note:


    • Light Blue: Dunn Edwards Canadian Lake
    • Dark Blue: Dunn Edwards Vulcan
    • Brown: Dunn Edwards Bannister Brown
    • Sage: Behr Mountain Sage


    • Leigh Chaise Lounge: LDC Home
    • Industrial Stage Floor Lamp: LDC Home
    • Doughnut Drink Table: LDC Home
    • Custom Cabinet with Pop-Up Desk: Greg Lannan at Working Designs


    • Custom Sofa with Sunbrella Velvet: LDC Home
    • Leather Reclining Chairs: Mortise & Tenon
    • Woven Rattan Pouf: Mortise & Tenon
    • Tanner Coffee Table: Pottery Barn
    • Custom Ottomans: LDC Home
    • Custom Bookshelf: LDC Home
    • Drapes: Restoration Hardware


    • Custom Island/Table: LDC Home
    • Hicks Round Pendants: LDC Home
    • Leather Counter Stools: LDC Home


    • Custom Headboard and Side Tables: Greg Lannan at Working Designs
    • Chest of drawers: Mortise & Tenon
    • Lamps: Signature Table Lamps by LDC Home
    • Bedding: LDC Home
    • Merlin Mirror: LDC Home
    • Blue Vases: LDC Home


    • Several paintings by Sandra Jones Campbell
    • Glass sculpture ("Rosie") by Gavin Heath
    • Nancy met Sandra and Gavin at the Laguna Art Festival. Other artwork Nancy has collected in her travels.

Thanks, Nancy and Alan!

Images: Bethany Nauert

• HOUSE TOUR ARCHIVE Check out past house tours here
• Interested in sharing your home with Apartment Therapy? Contact the editors through our House Tour Submission Form.
• Are you a designer/architect/decorator interested in sharing a residential project with Apartment Therapy readers? Contact the editors through our Professional Submission Form.

moving--truck moving--dates moving--dolly moving--house moving--cal Created with Sketch. moving--apt