Decorator Frances Merrill of Los Angeles–based Reath Design has a reputation for fearlessness when it comes to color and pattern. But she met her match in clients Frankie Shaw, creator of the Showtime comedy SMILF, and her husband, television writer Zach Strauss. “They really tested my limits,” Merrill confesses, describing the jubilant Franklin Hills home she designed for the young couple. Swathes of terra-cotta, yellow, green, and blue, strategically set against a kaleidoscopic array of fabrics and wallpapers, create an ambience that feels joyous and uplifting. Says Merrill, “It takes discipline to design a rainbow house that doesn’t look terrifying.”
When picking colors, test and retest, in natural and artificial light, at different times of the day, in all weather conditions, cloudy and sunny.
Juxtapose elaborate patterns (florals, arabesques) with punchier, graphic patterns (stripes, simple geometries) to create a lively rhythm from room to room.
Replace a nondescript side door, like the one off the kitchen, with a door that has a grid of glass panels in different colors. It’s cost-effective and unabashedly pretty.
Spend a little extra money on quality door and cabinet hardware—things you touch daily. “It makes a house feel solid and substantial,” Merrill says.
Small changes to existing architecture can make a big impression. Here the designer added a bullnose edge to the wall opening from the dining room to the kitchen to soften the transition and nod to the curved form of the breakfast bar.
Tips presented by smartwater
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest