L.A. Haven

I have long been inspired by Asian design and in 2005, I found a dream client who shared my passion. She hired me to design her 5,000 square foot home in Los Angeles with materials and furnishings I collected and custom designed in Laos, India, Thailand and Vietnam.  As a designer, I revel in discovering how and where things are made —  to see the raw wood, silk worms, and clay transform into objects of art. These experiences put me directly in touch with the soul of objects - how and why things are made - and allows me to see the skill and artistry that goes into them.


After an extensive intake with my client that brought out her vision for her home, I set off for Asia with a bagful of architectural plans and lists. My client wanted an earthy, neutral palate but was also drawn to silvers, golds, and jewel tones. She had already selected ebony floors and a soft white paint for the entire house, but from there she gave me carte blanche.


I spent weeks in Asia, scouring markets for textiles, custom designing furniture with local artisans, and visiting villages where textiles have been made for generations. I drank a lot of tea and did a lot of negotiating. It was exhausting and thrilling work. Once I was done with the sourcing and selecting, I returned home and then managed the importing process of three large containers.


As we waited for the imports to arrive, I began putting the finishing touches on the exterior design of the home. The house had numerous patios and great focal points for statues, water features, and greenery. Six months later the goods arrived and my team set to work on the installation. Curtains, bedspreads and pillows were made from the fabrics I had bought in India. The light fixture I had designed in Thailand was assembled in the foyer. Statues were placed, art hung. The result was an environment that felt like stepping into a refined and elegant, Asian sanctuary on a bluff overlooking the mountains in Malibu.


The famous cellist, Yo-Yo Ma, said, “When you learn something from people, or from a culture, you accept it as a gift, and it is your lifelong commitment to preserve it and build on it.” I took these words with me on my travels and held this commitment ever since. I was inspired by the doorways, the markets, the reverence for ceremonies and the commitment to passing on art and design to younger generations.


This process began with a plot of land on the bluffs of Playa del Rey. The marshlands stretched out before it, with the backdrop of LA in the distance. We used materials that looked natural and in harmony with the exterior landscape of LA - lots of sand colored neutrals, grays and browns to mimic the mountains and the marshes. Then we brought in pops of color — blue to reflect the sky and gold and silver. The wood selections were light maple and dark mahogany.