A designer after our own hearts, Haley Weidenbaum knows a thing or two about mixing eras and styles, and blending the old with the new for an always-inspiring happy home feel. Based in Los Angeles but also a devoted traveler, she effortlessly infuses signature California-tinged cool with worldly-inspired accents. A longtime Homepolish designer and fan of both modern and traditional decor, Haley has been helping people create their dream homes one bright and stylish room at a time. She often uses Schoolhouse lighting and furniture in her interiors and throughout her own delightfully designed home. Below we chatted with Haley about her top tricks, favorite palettes and why lighting is key in building a solid design foundation.
Describe your aesthetic when it comes to decorating. What styles draw are you drawn to personally?
"I’m drawn to all types of styles, but I like to call my design aesthetic New Traditionalist. I appreciate the designs of the past, however I reinvent those designs with subtle nuances particular to each space. I’m a traditionalist designer at heart but embrace a more modern way of living so function and comfort are top priorities without sacrificing classic and timeless designs."
Where do you find most of your inspiration and who are your influences?
"I’m inspired by hotels and restaurants around the world that I have visited and dined at. Whenever I travel, I always make mental notes of spaces that give me comfort and make me feel welcome. I strive to emulate this same feeling with every room I design. A few designers who influence my work daily are icons like Kit Kemp and Isle Crawford but also new age designers like Joanna Gaines, Studio McGee, and Becki Owens continually provide me inspiration."
What are some of your go-to basics when it comes to decorating a space?
"My first rule of thumb: Always bring in natural materials, whether that’s as basic as wood or stone or as specific as grass cloth. Natural textures invoke a feeling that a space has a lived-in and warm quality to it."
Tell us a little about your process when it comes to designing a space for clients.
"At the initial meeting, my foremost priority is really trying to get to know the client. This is a vital first step in successfully designing their home. I try not to measure any walls or get ahead of myself before I’ve truly looked at the situation holistically. I like to listen to the client, gain an understanding of who they are and what they are looking for in their home. This makes it easier to execute a design that is authentic to them."
Favorite projects you’ve done?
"My own home comes to mind, which is my husband’s and my first house together with our new baby, and our two dogs. I wanted our home to be like a boutique hotel with elements and influences woven throughout from places around the world we’d visited. This way, coming home would always feel like a getaway for our family. Comfort is always paramount but every piece, every material, every pattern, and every color was meticulously and purposefully chosen specifically for our family's needs and wants."
"Two other projects that I look back on with pride were also for new families moving into new homes. Both the Venice and Silverlake projects hired me to make their new houses a home. They each gave me the freedom to design their entire respective spaces, yet I worked closely with both families to deliver exactly what they were envisioning. I took the very same sentiment when I designed my own home and applied it to the homes of my clients."
Favorite design trends or timeless looks that you love?
"Subway tiles in the kitchen or bathroom, a simple jute rug for layering, or white walls never really go out of style."
Least favorite design trends?
"I’m not a huge fan of saturated colors in the home, at least not in large quantities. I can appreciate it in a commercial setting, but at home I believe the vast majority of chromatic hues should be subdued."
Favorite color palette or materials to work with?
"Cool greens and warm blues are mainstays of my design aesthetic as well as jutes, sisals, rattan, and wood. I take pains not to overuse any of these elements. Rather, I incorporate them subtly and in harmony with the space."
What’s your top design trick to share?
"I don’t know if there are any 'tricks' per se, but I would say that starting with a foundation of thoughtful, well-layered lighting can transform a space. There isn’t one set way to do this but there are definite principles to adhere to that help make a design more successful."
What’s your dream design project?
"I dream to make homes that make people happy. Whatever that happiness may look is different for each client, but I know that a project is only successful if I listen to the client’s vision of their dream home."
Finally, what makes a house a home to you?
"I always try to keep the principles of hygge in mind when I’m designing. I found that the feeling of hygge is the best way to make a house a home. Hygee translates roughly to 'coziness' and embodies the feeling of simplicity and serenity in your everyday. The home has a big influence on your lifestyle so as long as your home is comfortable, inviting, free of clutter, and your own oasis then you have successfully transformed a house into a home."