You never forget your first love, and that’s exactly what Venice Beach was for consultant, Lisa Finn. She moved to the bohemian beach enclave more than 17 years ago, enamored of the live-and-let-live lifestyle. “There was a real sense of community and acceptance there, and the diversity that existed was very stimulating,” she explains.
But as the once laidback locale rapidly gentrified, Lisa began to feel that she had overstayed her welcome. Saying goodbye to the place that she had long called home felt like the end of an era, but it opened the door to a new life just a few miles south in Long Beach, California.
“Long Beach is the best kept secret in Southern California,” she says. “I am really loving the urban beach experience that exists here.” She also loved the surprisingly affordable oceanfront real estate, finding a beautiful condo with a balcony overlooking the water.
Lisa dreamed of creating a space that married the boho vibes of old school Venice with her love of the colors and textures of the beach. Working with Laurel & Wolf designer Maria DeLucia, her vision was brought to life in her living room, bedroom, and beloved balcony.
“I often felt like Maria was reading my mind… she really understood me and my design aesthetic very quickly, so I trusted her with everything,” she says.
Recognizing Lisa’s desire for the space to feel casual and comfortable, Maria visualized the living room as an indoor version of the beach, awash with sandy neutrals, sea greens, and soft shades of blue. “We used lots of driftwood and rattan finishes,” Maria notes. The coastal style carries through in coral-colored accents and art that reflects beach culture, but the design is also tailored to Lisa’s lifestyle with durable animal-friendly fabrics for her dogs.
In the bedroom, Maria worked to highlight Lisa’s love of travel, creating a gallery wall of pieces collected around the world and adding vintage shelves to highlight her favorite keepsakes. “My bedroom is my sanctuary,” Lisa remarks.
But for a beach girl, the outdoors will always be king, so it’s no surprise that the balcony is her favorite part of her home. Shibori-dyed pillows, succulents, and wood finishes evoke a free-spirited natural vibe. The outward-facing bench anchors the space and has become Lisa’s “favorite spot to meditate or cuddle with the [dogs] while reading a good book.”
Although Lisa loves her new Long Beach neighborhood and was inspired to bring some of its eclecticism into the condo’s design, she did not want to completely forfeit her favorite parts of her old home.
“I loved the openness of my place in Venice—the entire great room was covered with windows and skylights that let in amazing light and brought nature into my world at all times,” she says. “While my living space is quite different now, I still have that same connection to nature through natural light and the great views of the ocean from my living room and balcony.”
By taking the best parts of her past and bringing them into her present, Maria helped to create a truly soulful space. “It’s my perfect environment, and I still can’t believe I live here,” says Lisa. “I have closed a wonderful chapter of my life, but this space represents a new one.”
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