Interiorssneak peeks

An LA Rental Inspired by the French Countryside

by Garrett Fleming

An LA Rental Inspired by the French Countryside, Design*Sponge

Ask just about anyone, and they’ll tell you a “souvenir” is a knick-knack you bring back with you from some grand adventure. It tends to be something physical; a treasure you can hold in your hand or stick to your fridge. Souvenirs don’t always have to be made of paper or plastic, though. Some of the best ones aren’t tangible at all, in fact. My best souvenirs have come in the form of memories. At the end of a trip, they’re the most valuable thing I bring back home with me.

Oftentimes these mementos live on solely in our heads. Some ingenious homeowners, however, don’t have to imagine they’re back on vacation — they have memories so powerful they use them to inform their houses’ decorations to bring to life far-off destinations right in their very own homes. Such is the case with blogger and photographer Stephanie Liu Hjelmeseth and her talent-managing husband, Kyle. Unlock the front door to their one-bedroom rental in Los Angeles, CA’s Hancock Park, and you’re immediately transported to their top destination: the French countryside.

To replicate the feeling they had while on vacation there, they simply had to recall all of their favorite aspects of the romantic region. For starters, nearly every corner of their art-deco space features flowers in some stage of being dried. Whether hanging upside down or in a vase waiting to be pressed, the buds’ fragrance wafts throughout the unit, immediately transporting Stephanie and Kyle to the other world they so cherish. And the French touches don’t stop there. These florals are paired with an accent wall in traditional French blue. And what a backdrop it is! It not only helps plants pop, but it also pairs perfectly with two other styles inspired by Provence, FR: reclaimed wood and tufted furniture.

Building this little slice of France in LA wasn’t solely a practice in good design. It was a way for Kyle and Stephanie to give themselves the best of both worlds: it’s allowed them to live close to friends and family but feel they’re in their favorite spot on the globe once they turn their front door’s key. Click through to take a look, and get ready to be whisked away. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Stephanie Liu Hjelmeseth

Image above: Stephanie and Kyle worked with HUTCH to land the perfect layout for their living area. The company had a tall order on their hands: transform the quaint space into both a center for relaxation and a comfortable spot from which Stephanie and Kyle could work on their blog. After trying out around 25 different designs, their clever decision to position the sofa in the center of the room was the winner as it perfectly distinguishes the Netflix area from the 9-5 grind. The blue chair is from Target.

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In 1929 the hotel Hermoyne was completed, its art deco details attracting a celebrity clientele. Today -- even though the hotel has been converted into apartments -- some of those original details remain. My favorite has to be this arched doorway in the foyer.
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The couple repurposed the arbor they were wed under into the decoration you see framing the TV stand. Kyle’s father — the founder of HJELM Furniture — built it from scratch and then drove it all the way from Washington to California for the big day. Flowerboy Project provided the florals.

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Newlyweds Stephanie and Kyle moved into this home two years ago. Over the years it's become an embodiment of their love for the lush greenery, dried flowers, cornflower blue hues and textures of the French countryside.
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Kyle works from home, his afternoons enlivened by the sweet sounds of jazz coming from the living room’s record player. While for Kyle this spot’s all about music, for Stephanie this corner is all about florals. She hangs hers here to dry out on the blue walls. Cedar side tables by HJELM Furniture.

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Stephanie’s latest collection of fashionable finds hangs from a Samichi Design rack in the corner of the living room, waiting to be photographed for her blog. One of her most cherished pieces of art hangs here as well: a painting of the French fields where they grow the essentials for making Chanel No. 5.

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This cabinetry provides a nice divider between the kitchen and dining room without totally cutting the two rooms off from one another.
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Many of the couple's statement pieces and larger finds are made of their favorite texture: reclaimed wood. "There’s so much history and character in reclaimed wood, and it perfectly anchors our endearment for Old World charm," they tell us. This adoration is the reason their Restoration Hardware table sits sans tablecloth. No need to cover up something you love so much. Accessories by H&M.
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Originally Stephanie was leading the charge with floral drying, but recently Kyle has gotten in on the game and is now just as into the pastime as his wife. The pair specifically chooses blooms that remind them of the rolling vistas of Provence, France.
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The quirkiness and unique minty shade of the kitchen's countertops really sold the couple on the space.
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Stephanie and Kyle keep their bedroom calm and cool thanks to wood textures, neutral accessories and golden hues. There used to be a sitting area underneath the bay window, but the pet cat Sammie kept taking up the chair. Gathering that he clearly loved the sunny spot, the couple replaced their seating arrangement with a tall cat condo. The bed is from Restoration Hardware, and the bedding is from West Elm.
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The bedroom's photography wall consists of a collection of shots Stephanie took in Monaco, Venice and other European destinations. Their color palette matched the room's vibe too perfectly for them not to be displayed here.
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"Dried florals, wicker bags and periodicals for late-night reading." These are a few of Stephanie's favorite things, and they all live around her West Elm bedside table.
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"Our favorite thing to do at home is... create vignettes that remind us of our travels!" -- Kyle Hjelemseth and his wife Stephanie Liu Hjelemseth
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"We subtly accentuated the monochromatic palette of the bathroom with dusty-blue textiles, and a touch of live greenery. I love how much light pours into the bathroom. It makes getting ready in the mornings so pleasant and uplifting!” Stephanie says.
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The apartment's floor plan.

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