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For designer Velinda Hellen, a home renovation in East Los Angeles turned out to be quite the serendipitous job.  She met the clients, Meredith and Olly, both chefs, while she was in design school and later reconnected with them when they planned to redo their home.

“I was working for Emily Henderson at the time, and when she was looking to move to Portland, it was a good time to go off on my own,” Hellen says. “They were my first freelance design clients.”

Living room pre-renovation

Living room under construction

For the couple’s living room, which they requested a Scandinavian minimalism-meets farmhouse aesthetic, the goal was to weave in adult sophistication, while hiding their child’s bright toys. “They had a small space and wanted both closed and open storage,” she says. 

The solution: a built-in media center utilizing Ikea Besta Units and Semihandmade DIY Slab Fronts. “The slab fronts elevate it,” Hellen says. “It’s so subtle but you wouldn’t think it’s from Ikea.” Custom paint and lighting from both and vintage sconces off Etsy complete the high-end look on a budget.

“We used three doors, all the same size, but ended up making the far right one a drawer,” she says. Because of the sofa placement, a super cozy Sixpenny Neva, she wanted toys, books, and games to be accessible without having to use a hinged door. 

For the rest of the room, Hellen installed shiplap for a farmhouse nod, added a second window with top-down, bottom-up shades to conceal the view of the neighbors and vaulted the ceiling. Overall, the space is layered, clean and intentional with a Jean Palmer Home vintage rug, plus three coffee tables.

White Scandinavian style living room

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