Maybe you’ve seen Brit Arnesen’s cool, relaxed, and elegant home, inspired by a contemporary mix of Art Deco, boho-glam, and mid-century Modern influences run through her personal filter? There was that Apartment Therapy article, and that feature on her bathroom transformation on Clare’s paint blog. Or maybe you’re one of her 33 thousand Instagram followers?
Brit bought the very same house she used to ride by on her bike as an 8-year old, not fantasizing about living in it someday but thinking to herself that it must be the world’s ugliest home. A ranch-style built in 1962, with the bare minimum done for almost 50 years and then abandoned for nearly 5, Brit must’ve surprised herself then, when she and her husband, Derek, bought it about 5 years ago, thinking they would fix it and flip it. But as they invested all their time, dreams, and energy into it, they became really attached. We would, too, if we’d made such a beautiful place for ourselves, and worked so hard in the process. Along the way, Brit, formerly a model, an elementary school teacher, a world traveler, and a graduate scholar, reinvented herself.
With two children, two dogs, one cat, and one hardworking husband (with freshly renewed vows!), she had her work cut out for her: How was she to craft a space out of the existing structure that lived up to her design dreams but was practical for the loves of her life? Knocking down walls, making the most of natural light, she created an open floor plan where
How would you describe your style?
Where did you look for inspiration when designing this space?
I have a pretty decent collection of interior design books that I looked at for inspiration. I also went to design blogs as well as Pinterest and Instagram, of course! The interior design community on Instagram is actually pretty close-knit and some of the interior designer friends I’ve made were also a huge help, especially when it came to sources.
What is the main impression or vibe you hope this space makes on someone coming to it?
I hope it comes across as stylish, yet relaxed. This area of the house gets a lot of use and I want it to be a place where my family wants to be. I think the mix of high and low design helps to accomplish this. The swing helps, too!
What role does lighting play in this space?
It’s the focal point for sure. I wanted something bold and elegant to really make a statement and help me nail down that Hollywood Regency vibe. The Estee chandelier with the Milo pendants and Ellis flush
Can you tell us more about that dramatic ceiling medallion in black around Estee’s canopy? Where’d you get the idea? Did you customize it?
As far as the medallion goes, it was actually my friend Emily’s (@gildedhearth) idea. We met and became friends through Instagram. She’s an interior designer in LA. We chit-chat a lot and I asked her opinion when I was figuring out what I wanted to do in the dining room. I’d been contemplating painting an area on the ceiling around the light when she sent me a link to the medallion and said to paint it black. I’m so glad I did! The combo is perfection!
What advice would you give to someone looking to expand their design horizons?
I would say to look for inspiration on either Pinterest, Instagram, or the many interior design blogs out there and then just go for it. I feel like design is trial and error, or at least it has been for me. I tend to change things up frequently in my home not only because I enjoy having a project to work on, but also because I’m trying to home in on what I really like and create a space that I can feel comfortable and content in. I feel like every project I do, I get closer and closer to knowing my style. You have to start somewhere and just keep going.
Fun question: What’s your favorite show to binge-watch?
Definitely Law & Order: SVU, although Breaking Bad is a close second.