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3 Tips for Creating a Stylish and Inviting Home

Two Los Angeles designers explain how details make the difference in the overall look and feel of your interior

Who: Ava Tai and Arlene Tai of AA Design Firm

Where: Los Angeles

In Ava's own words:"Your interior design should make you feel at home in your home." For designers Ava and Arlene Tai, a home that reflects who you are gives you a solid foundation that lets you explore the possibilities in the rest of your life. "It gives you confidence," Ava says. That's why the twin sisters, owners of Los Angeles-based AA Design, approach every project with the goal of creating a space that fits the personalities and lifestyles of their clients, with keen attention to detail. "Your home should match who you are," Arlene says.

Business background. Both Ava and Arlene are quick to say that while design was always their first love, they were also focused on being entrepreneurs. They studied business at USC started a chic stationery company and owned and managed a contemporary noodle restaurant in downtown Los Angeles. "We think that makes us more well rounded as designers and business owners," Ava says.

They circled back to interior design, their first passion, after redoing the condo they bought together. The process of turning the blank canvas into a warm, stylish home reconnected the pair to their shared love of design. "We were so excited that we invited all of our friends and family to visit and they started asking us for design help." Arlene says. That positive response led them to open AA Design in 2015.

Collaborative approach. Ava says their first order of business with any client is to get to know them. " We want to know who they are and what's important to them," she says. She and her sister then tailor the design to fit their clients' personalities and lifestyle, involving them in all the decisions and details. "The end result should be exactly how they imagined. it would look like," Arlene says.

Looking for ideas to make your home feel both stylish and inviting?

Ava and Arlene share their tips below.

1.Add Organic Touches

Include earthly elements in a contemporary design to bring it to life. In their contemporary Los Angeles high-rise condo, the sisters installed water reclaimed rainforest Angelique wood, a sustainable timber, on one wall to add warmth to the minimalist design. "Every piece is a slightly different color and it gives the living room personality," Ava says.

The two also turned an architectural stumbling block into a focal point by wrapping the large support pole with a bronzed mirror. It's now a feature that subtly reflects the view of the city and pulls in the warmth of the wood. "I love a colored mirror and it picks up the tone of the space," Arlene says. A matching mirrored piece is set below the wood on the accent wall to add more interest and visually expand the space..

2.Play With Textures

Combine different textures to add depth to a room. Stone, glass, granite and wood in shades of brown and cream work in harmony in this Los Angeles condo's bathroom. " We wanted it to have a sophisticated, interesting look," Ava says.

The organic-edge stone sink is the centerpiece of the room. The sisters paired it with a granite countertop and a wood cabinet to pull everything together. Next, they installed glass tile from the countertop to the ceiling as a stunning backdrop. The adjacent shower also features glass wall tiles in a complementary hue and an intricate pattern of porcelain tiles on the floor. While the various textures and materials play off one another, sticking to a muted color palette keeps the design visually balanced.

3. Install Great Lighting

Choose a mix of lighting options that will give you the right light for each space while highlighting all the details in the room. "Good lighting is essential," Arlene says. "You need to spend money on a mix of lights, including recessed lights."

The pair used a mix of lighting to highlight the three-dimensional tile on the walls of this Los Angeles condo. "It makes it pop," Ava says. They began by installing house lights that provide overall lighting without creating hot spots. They then added additional lighting such as pendants, sconces, and downlights to contribute to the mix. A final touch: "We always install dimmers so you can control the light and mood," Arlene says.

More: for more information on Ava and Arlene Tai and examples of their work, visit AA Design Firm's Houzz profile.

This story was written by the Houzz Sponsored Content team.


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