A 600-square-foot apartment typically leaves little room for anything but the bare necessities, especially when shared by two adults, a dog, a cat, and a newborn baby. This diminutive space in Los Angeles’ West Adams neighborhood, however, is the perfect fit for Danielle Directo-Meston and her family.
A native of the sunny skies, mountains, oceanside views, and unfortunate traffic of LA, Danielle and her husband moved into their current place about two years ago for its central location and pleasant patio.
“I work from home, but my husband works in Santa Monica, and that played a major role in deciding to move to this location. We wanted a rental that could accommodate a potential addition to our family, so we were pretty stoked that our current place was a standalone unit and had its own front patio.”
As the associate editor of Racked LA, an online publication focused on the city’s fashion, beauty, and wellness scene, Danielle spends much of her spare time discovering the many “bizarre and hidden gems” her city has to offer. “I’m an expert deal hunter and love wandering around LA’s different neighborhoods, so the job is the perfect marriage of my reporting skills and shopping know-how,” she explains.
Lovers of both flea market finds and travel memorabilia, Danielle and her husband had displayed a fair amount of eclectic, decorative items throughout the small space and it was beginning to feel cramped. Anticipating the birth of their son, they decided it was time to make their cozy abode a bit more baby-friendly.
Although Danielle had a pretty good idea of her design aesthetic and preferences, her tastes began to shift as she embraced her forthcoming journey through parenting.
“I think motherhood has given me another identity to channel in my approach to interior design and how I live, so I really wanted a space that was relaxing but also reflective of my husband’s and my personalities,” says Danielle on the redesign.
In search of space-saving techniques and a more inviting overall feel, Danielle launched her design project ready to take the first step into a new chapter of her life. Designer Maria DeLucia created a style board that resonated with Danielle’s flair for California-cool and from there, they worked together to refine the space.
“My inspiration came from [Danielle’s] great collection of mid-century furniture. She wanted a more bohemian vibe, so I thought that adding a bit of the “tribal” aesthetic would breathe new life into the space,” says Maria on her initial design ideas.
Danielle’s inspiration for her space was fueled by an amalgamation of past design styles and fashion trends —“I’ve recently been into mixing ’70s California bohemian, mid-century modern, and Art Deco. I’m really into the laid-back ’70s vibes that have been appearing on the runways, and I think that has inspired my approach to styling my home.” Also influenced by the rich history of her LA home base, she looked to vintage photographs of Laurel Canyon and historic mid-century homes to inform the direction of her own interior.
The once crowded space was pared down to favorite keepsakes, decorations, and essential furnishings, eliminating anything that might be dangerous for the baby to be around.
Maria purposefully chose design elements that would merge Danielle’s existing mid-century furniture with a more contemporary, bohemian style. To further the LA vibes, she created an east-meets-west aesthetic by pairing Danielle’s Japanese prints with art by California artists. With the addition of lively botanicals, a Moroccan rug, fur throws, and patterned cushions, the bohemian spirit of the space felt complete.
Maria’s design choices helped open the room and allowed Danielle to reimagine the ways in which it could be used. “Originally, we had the dinner table tucked away in the corner and I was skeptical about moving it to the center of the dining area as the designer suggested, but it really opened up the space and, with the help of the folding screen, helped hide our unsightly wall heater! I love how our space actually looks more welcoming while remaining functional.”
The soft textures of the rug and pillows not only add contrast and energy to the space, but create a warm and inviting atmosphere for the new baby. Danielle remarks that decluttering was probably the hardest part of the process, but the minimalist features and relaxing decor additions enable her to work comfortably from home. The new design feels balanced—a place that’s family-friendly and functional, but also layered with eclecticism and personality.
“I feel that the California bohemian aesthetic speaks to where I am in life: calm, collected, and confident.”