A Los Angeles Rental Is Warmly Whimsical — House Call

Name: Schalah Mitchell, one dog, and two cats
Location: Los Angeles, California
Size: 1200 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years, renting

I live alone with my dog and two cats, but my mother is a very frequent visitor and has made the guest room her home away from home, along with her two tiny chihuahuas.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Warm, whimsical, classic and eclectic

My living room is always decorated with extra chairs from my own chair design shop “Ma Chaise design.” They rotate according to sales, but somehow I always make them fit within my existing decor. The sofa is a relic, I have had for 20+ years and it’s still my favorite (I have had other couches while this one lived at friends or in my garage, but recently pulled it out again because I love its clean structure so much). My cats have torn the sides to shreds, but that just adds character!

(Image credit: Schalah Mitchell)

I have a lot of French furniture inherited from my grandmother or the home I grew up in Paris. I am half French and that’s definitely the side of me that controls the decorating.

I love attention to detail and surprising guests with unexpected little design accents. I am also very whimsical in my design and love to incorporate pieces usually reserved for children’s rooms.

I like my home to feel warm and inviting. It has to look good but also be comfortable; I want people to linger!

I am 1/2 French on my mother’s side, and actually grew up in Paris. I love having all my beautiful family photos framed in living room. And I love mixing them with more whimsical art… I have a lot of animal prints scattered throughout my home.

(Image credit: Schalah Mitchell)

What is your favorite room and why? Always the living room! That’s where I spend most of my time and where I entertain the most. Even for dinner parties, they usually end up buffet style with guests eating on the sofa.

My workshop is where I come up with all the design ideas for “Ma Chaise design” on the weekends. Before I started my business this original formal dining room was used as a den because I hate having a TV in the living room, so I painted the walls grey to make it feel more cozy. Now I have added lots of “daylight” bulbs to make it bright enough for design work. This space is always filled with chairs, lots of fabric, design books, and an always-changing inspiration board. I love that the room is open to the living area so it’s a constant reminder of my new business.

(Image credit: Schalah Mitchell)

I also love that the dining room and living room are both in the same great space, with the workshop only separated with an archway, so the entire space feels like one. It’s like loft living, but with a more traditional aesthetic.

My dining room area is a perfect mix of cheap and chic! The glass table is a desk from Crate and Barrel, and the chairs are IKEA but I dyed the slipcovers pink to make them feel more custom (no one every believes me when I tell them they are IKEA).

(Image credit: Schalah Mitchell)

If you could magically change something about your home, what would it be? I live in a rental, which does create some restrictions. There is a great breakfast nook space just off the kitchen into the workshop. It’s the perfect space for a morning coffee, or even a quick dinner for two. Unfortunately my landlord designed it with a large black marble top bar, and black corner built-in shelves. Black is definitely not in my color palette, and not what I would have chosen for the space, but it’s all here to stay!

Every creative space also needs a cozy spot to nap and dream; I’m lucky that the big windows in this room give out onto the porch and let in both light and fresh air. If I’m not sitting on my vintage settee, you can be sure to find my dog or cats patiently waiting and encouraging me as I work.

(Image credit: Schalah Mitchell)

My pets also make it difficult for me to maintain a clean rug, so after spending a lot of money on huge rugs that cost a fortune to clean, I decided to stick with either no rug or light weight that fits in my own washing machine. But still, I sometimes dream of having a beautiful, huge antique rug in my living room and bedroom!

My bedroom is quite large and spacious, with warmer colors and tones. I love books and bookshelves, and though I really try to keep my knick knack collecting to a minimum, they do accumulate on my shelves. Obviously I have previously tried traditional bedside tables, but I love being surrounded by all these memories.

(Image credit: Schalah Mitchell)

Any advice for creating a home you love? Make it personal and make it fun. It’s best to incorporate elegant quality pieces with cheap finds, so there’s a real mix and everything looks good.

Move things around as often as you want, it helps to keep the look fresh.

I also find that Coco Chanel’s rule for accessorizing (“Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off”) totally applies to home decorating. I always find myself removing one item from a bookshelf or mantel before deciding it looks perfect!

Thanks, Schalah!

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