Interior designer Laura Brophy creates the perfect eclectic vibe for her art-loving clients.
(Above) A seating area features a sublime photo by Craig Larson of Huntington Beach Pier, printed on large wood panels. Photographs by Tim Hirschmann
Craig and Elisa Larson’s beach house has always held powerful, personal stories of their life together: world travels, artful pursuits, deep connections among family and friends.
When interior designer Laura Brophy entered the picture for a first-floor redesign of the Huntington Beach, California, property, she was captivated by the Larsons’ obvious love of their home and striking art collection. Much of her job, she figured, would be refining and reassembling the primary floor’s beautiful elements and updating the home for comfort and functionality.
“When I came in, we were only going to do the downstairs, toying with the interiors,” says Brophy, founder and principal of Laura Brophy Interiors in nearby Newport Beach. But Brophy’s workplan quickly expanded to a remodel of the entire house. Still, the focus on the couple’s journey through life, so reflected in the makeup of their home, remained intact.
“We started with asking, ‘What do you have? What do you love?’” Brophy recalls of her first meeting with the Larsons. The couple dug deep, and the result is a collection of rooms with singular art pieces and stunning tableaus, shining amid bright, spacious interiors.
Brophy had no problem finding treasures to work with, including archival-quality prints by Craig Larson, a former firefighter and now a respected photographer. Elisa Larson, an owner of Sand + Fog Candles, has her own artful sense of style. Working with California architect Jeffrey D. Dahl and R&B Builders in Dana Point, the designer studied the full array of the couple’s favorite things and let the beauty glow, while refining the home’s layout with Dahl.
Brophy recalls seeing the couple’s stunning collection of batik fabrics from trips abroad and feeling that they were destined for more prominent display. Batiks and woven tapestries—including those from the Larsons’ favorite travel destination, Indonesia—were transformed with beautiful frames. The framing both preserves the fabric and modernizes the house, Brophy notes. Other times, Brophy brought pieces to new life. A blue batik, for instance, was resewn as a pillow and now has a prominent place next to the family room’s fireplace with floating bench.
In the first-floor bar room, carefully curated pieces blend beautifully with the home’s modern design. In the center is a cunning chandelier of brass and weathered bronze, crafted by Arteriors. One of the home’s most arresting pieces, the fixture also cleverly maintains the room’s open spirit. Nearby, an eye-catching lamp fashioned from an antique fire extinguisher reflects Craig’s career in firefighting. A lush wall hanging appears as a found object against the black background.
“We focused on tailoring the house to the clients’ lifestyle and life experiences,” Brophy says. “The pieces have such beautiful, vibrant colors and exquisite craftsmanship. Finally, we could make them special.” The art’s new prominence also helps drive home the couple’s support of artists in faraway countries.
Architectural elements are carefully presented for both practicality and visual magic. In one imaginative move, a coat closet was converted into a modern refrigerated wine cooler. “This is one of our favorite aspects of the house,” Elisa says. “It’s truly a statement piece.”
The architecture adjacent to the bar room has the composition of sculpture. The team began by opening the space beneath the stairway, wrapped it in glass, and installed custom wire racks. The stairway, with cable railing, and a striking photo reminiscent of ocean waves by Craig, show the canny blend of building techniques, personalized house décor, and classic design.
The roomy kitchen features floor-to-ceiling cabinets with a built-in Thermador refrigerator and freezer columns. A large two-level island separates the space from a dining area. A first-floor powder room was transformed with graphic cream-and-black wallpaper.
The master bedroom features plush bedcoverings, art by Visual Contrast, and a vintage rug. Built-in cornice boxes hold remotely activated Lutron shades. Several seating areas throughout are designed with entertaining friends and family in mind, especially when their daughter visits with her family. The overall effect is one of sublime comfort.
For the Larsons, every feature in their much-loved home is precious. “We’re enjoying every space of our ‘new’ home,” Elisa says. “The bright characteristics make it feel spacious and light.” Best of all? The Larsons know they’ve come home.
For more information, visit brophyinteriors.com