Claire Thomas isn’t afraid to play with color and pattern, and it’s instantly apparent in this dreamy Venice, California guest house.
Every room has bold, vibrant hues combined with unique materials or one-of-a-kind decor—all inspired by owner Lacey Uhlemeyer’s worldly travels. From the antique dresser painted in San Miguel Blue from Dunn Edwards to the copper kitchen countertop and backsplash, the house holds delightful surprises around every corner.
The result is a whimsical and fun aesthetic that, despite its playfulness, looks super sophisticated. Let’s take a closer look:
Leaning into Old World charm
One of the main inspirations for the guest house was the grand ceiling and roof line, says Thomas. That, coupled with the design of the main house—a 1927 cottage—gave the whole property a sort of storybook feel, she explains. The goal was to create that same vibe in the guest house, making it a “hotel-like retreat” for any visitors.
The bathroom is a great example of this, as it’s a light and airy space inspired by old photos and clippings, says Thomas. The floor tile pattern, in particular, was pulled from a photo of a 1930s Art Deco bathroom.
Making the space feel custom
One of the first elements of the design was the idea for wainscotting, says Thomas. The woodwork not only gave the space a visually-pleasing custom vibe, but it also served a functional purpose: to create structure and break up the large amount of bare wall resulting from the high ceilings.
Though the opposite approach is often taken, for even more intrigue, Thomas opted to paint the wainscotting a rich shade of Miguel Blue from Dunn Edwards and the walls a more neutral color.
Carrying color throughout
Thomas calls the Miguel Blue shade the “hero color” of the cottage, since it’s featured in nearly every room in the house. You’ll see it on the wainscotting in the bedroom, on the Semihandmade DIY Shaker fronts in the kitchen, and on the ceiling and the trim in the music room. Because each use is so unique, it feels surprising and interesting, rather than repetitive.
Opting for dramatic pairings
One of the coolest rooms in the house is the kitchen, where the bold blue is paired with a stunning copper backsplash, apron-front sink, and complementary Signature Hardware Royden Kitchen Faucet.
Adding pattern play
One of the beautiful things about copper is it goes with so many colors and accents, says Thomas. So in the music room just beside the kitchen, they opted for an ornate Lewis & Wood wallpaper called Alhambra paired with bronze Hudson Valley Lighting fixtures. The coupling really adds to that enchanted storybook feel.
Showcasing personal treasures
The bedroom is inspired by the image of a 1920s world traveler, says Thomas, who was inspired by the “amazing heirlooms” from Uhlemeyer’s travels around the globe.
Using these pieces as inspiration, the pair had various items commissioned to add character to the space. The surfboard on the wall, for example, was hand-painted by Uhlemeyer’s friend Priscilla Witte. And the leather headboard was embellished with hand-embroidered pieces by Folk Project, an organization that works with indigenous women to source different fabrics and create one-of-a-kind pieces out of them.