From her bungalow in Venice, founder Ariel Kaye shares her “no rules” formula
Words by MELISSA GOLDSTEIN
As the founder of L.A.-based home brand Parachute, which became a hit for homes as far away as New York City, Ariel Kaye has made a name for herself selling the dream of a modern lifestyle — complete with elegantly rumpled linen sheets and sumptuous Turkish towels.
And while tastefully neutral essentials with a Venice Beach bent are her claim to fame, Kaye’s design sensibility extends beyond aspirational textiles. This month, she debuts her first book, How to Make a House a Home (Clarkson Potter, $23), a guidebook for creating a “mindful, functional and nurturing space.” The timing is apt, in light of the fact many of us may be in the midst of rethinking the places we call home while rebranding them as workplaces and do-everything-else-places too.
Kaye’s tip-filled illustrated guide is organized room-by-room, with advice on everything from color layering to unintuitive layouts. “Honestly, there are no rules,” she insists. “I believe that a home should be unique to each individual and serve as a personal, purposeful space. … It is not a traditional decorating book — there are no design decrees. Instead I offer suggestions and concepts that will help create a home that feels like you.”
Parachute’s nine brick-and-mortar stores are closed at the moment, but fortunately for devotees, Kaye just launched free virtual styling consultations. Here, we talk to Kaye about her new book, fresh flower euphoria, design envy and how she stays sane in her 800-square-foot bungalow.
Your brand and your book are built around the idea of making your home a sanctuary. How is being at home literally all of the time changing your relationship to your home?
It’s a huge adjustment … but we are figuring it out. All of a sudden our home serves many different purposes — office, gym, restaurant, movie theater, playground and more. For me, home will always be a sanctuary and a place that nurtures — it’s working overtime right now. I’m leaning into daily routines and rituals within my home to make sure that it is taking care of our needs during a time of high stress and uncertainty.
Have you made any tweaks to your space to make it more pleasurable?
I’m constantly thinking about ways to make my home more functional. I’ve added additional pillows to my bed to support my back during phone calls. I’ve brought out extra throws to make our couch and chairs feel more cozy. Each morning I transform my dining table into a desk for the day. I have done some light organizing to clear any excess clutter because I am more productive in a clean environment. I’ve also prioritized supporting local florists and have been ordering fresh flowers for the house each week. They instantly brighten my mood and make me smile.
Do you find that there is anything you now desperately want to change?
Yes. While I love my home, I live in an 800-square-foot bungalow and am eager to make it bigger.
What are you cooking for your family these days?
I love to entertain and miss welcoming my friends and family into my home. While we social-distance, we’ve been ordering produce boxes from local farmers and enjoying tons of veggies. My daughter, Lou, can’t get enough. One of the best parts of being home is having the opportunity to cook throughout the day. Over the past few years, I’ve spent less time in the kitchen and I’m finding cooking to be a great way to decompress and relax. We’ve been making lots of soups, delicious pastas and fish. Last night was taco night.
Tell us, how are you staying sane?
I think it’s important to maintain a solid routine and have a clear distinction between work and home. I like to start my day with a short meditation and 30 minutes of yoga or cardio to get my energy flowing and set myself up for a productive day. Taking walks around the neighborhood has also been one of my favorite ways to relieve stress. It’s amazing what a little fresh air can do to boost my mood. Frequent calls and FaceTime chats with my lady friends is a must. I miss my people.
What’s the biggest design mistake you see people making or that you yourself have made?
I think people often get carried away by trends and can try to incorporate too many into their space when they are first getting started. It’s easy to get caught up in the “of the moment” look and within a few months you have a house full of mismatched styles. When I see a new item for the home I usually give myself a week before I purchase to make sure I really like it, need it in my home and see it fitting in with my aesthetic. I am also a firm believer that design is never “done.” Especially when you move into a new space, it’s nice to give yourself time to get to know the bones, the architecture, how you are using the rooms and take design cues from experience.
You are known for making magic with neutrals — how do you make things feel individual while using these versatile, pared-back pieces or palettes?
The key is layering. With a neutral palette I like to weave in pieces from my travels, different textured fabrics and creative pops of color. It’s these special touches that make my space feel even more personal and unique.
Is there another space that elicits major design envy in you?
The Proper Hotel in Santa Monica is a favorite. I love going there for drinks or dinner. I find myself lusting over every piece of furniture, architectural detail and color choice throughout the space.
What interiors trend are you loving now?
I’m loving that people aren’t decorating their space in one particular style and instead are embracing a more eclectic aesthetic. I’m drawn to mixing and matching — think a blend of classical furniture with modern accents or vintage tapestries in an otherwise minimalist room. I think right now it is especially important to move away from perfectionism and focus on the story that each room has to tell.
Is less actually more?
Personally, I like to keep things minimal. Eliminating clutter reduces stress and allows me to enjoy my home. I’m always looking for thoughtful ways to find a space for each item in my home to create more function.
Feature image: A cozy space as seen in PARACHUTE founder ARIEL KAYE’s new book. This and all photos reprinted from How to Make a House a Home, copyright 2020, by Ariel Kaye, published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House.
April 15, 2020
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