Seen & Heard
Ariel talks exclusively to Lonny Mag about the design process with California Closets.
Read on to hear what inspired the space and how she incorporated her favorite colors, textures, and fabrics into what became a jewel-box in her own backyard.
As seen in Lonny Mag.
Jewelry designer Ariel Gordon Maffei isn’t scared of color — or pattern, for that matter.
One glimpse inside the new retreat located behind her Victorian home, and it’s more than clear the designer's penchant for layering extends way beyond her signature jewelry designs. From hot pink bedding to flora-filled wallpaper to gingham curtains, each item is an unapologetic expression of her style.
“It feels like a serene little floral jewel box,” Gordon says. “A little garden oasis.”
The motivation came over the course of the pandemic, as Gordon wasn’t able to travel to her L.A. office for over a year. So, she decided to build a space in her backyard — from scratch — that could double as a WFH spot and a guest room. She mimicked the peaked roofline of her Victorian home in the architecture of the space, with white-paneled glass doors that swing seamlessly into the yard.
Meanwhile, the interiors play into the Victorian tradition, coated from head-to-toe in a swirl of dainty flowers and lush vines.
“I've been obsessed with the Lake August floral wallpaper for so long and that was one of my first design choices,” Gordon dotes. “I had a very clear vision of wrapping the whole space in it, ceiling and all.”
That same boldness and brightness is reflected throughout the dwelling. But, while aesthetic was a high priority, functionality was just as important, too.
Lexmod Table; Vintage Chairs; Custom Shades with Kravet Fabric; Ottoline Banquette Fabric; California Closets Banquette; Vintage Artwork.
Like so many, I spent the majority of Covid-19 working from home (and hiding from my kids). Having my own space where I can close the door and take calls, spread out projects — and not worry about jewelry samples walking away and ending up in my four-year-old Mia’s toy purse — feels like a real luxury.
Block Shop Textiles Bedding; Lake August Wallpaper; California Closets Cabinets.
The L.A.-based jewelry designer knew from the beginning that she wanted the space to have dual purposes. So, working with limited square-footage, she had to get creative with how to implement the guest room in with the office.
“I didn't want the room to be dominated by a big bed, so the idea of a Murphy bed and built-in banquette seating made a lot of sense,” Gordon offers as an example. “California Closets was my first place to look for the chicest version. Having the built-in banquette is not only great for when I have meetings up here, but also for when guests want a little nook for a coffee and a newspaper.”
California Closets Desk; Modernica Chair; CB2 Mirror; Custom Shades With Kravet Fabric; Eames Lounge Chair; Anglepoise Lamp.
As she started to actually utilize the space, Gordon discovered new pieces and areas that have become favorites.
“There’s a big long desk surface where I spend most of my time. There’s room for a computer, as well as [room] for me to spread out my samples or other projects I’m working on,” she notes.
“There’s the built-in banquette with a round dining table that is nice for a quick lunch or meeting,” she adds. “The Eames lounge chair is nice to curl up in to read or sit in while I take long calls.”
Backyards Unlimited Shed.
Still, it’s the patterns throughout that ultimately take centerstage. Gordon’s imagination comes through in full force — squiggly pastel pink and polka-dot pillows sit atop striped cyan cushions, candy red circus paintings atop leafy wallpaper.
Yet, despite all the panache, the details are very intentional.
“I love how the walls, the ceiling, even the window trim is wrapped in the Nasturium wallpaper. It isn’t linear, so even though it’s a busy pattern, it works on all the surfaces because it feels fluid and has movement,” Gordon explains. “Had I gone with a pattern that was too vertical, it would have felt too busy and awkward where the roof lines meet up.”
“I really leaned into busy patterns for the fabric on the windows and the banquette cushions,” she adds. “I think all the different prints work because they have similar tones and color, even though the patterns are all sort of wild.”
California Closets Cabinets; Safavieh Rug.
As a designer, Gordon works with multiple pieces she ultimately fuses together to create her elegant jewelry. So, naturally, storage and organization was a key next step. She opted for custom sleek white cabinetry, a relief to the senses against all the bold prints.
As for functionality, “I wanted a big work surface, storage for office stuff, a place to securely keep jewelry samples (the cabinets have a hidden lock), a closet for hanging clothes, and built-in benches,” Gordon lists off. “Because of the placement of the clerestory windows, the Murphy bed had to be placed horizontally, but they [California Closets] worked it all out to maximize efficiency and keep everything symmetrical.”
As for decor, Gordon opted for vintage above all. Her knack for cool finds, paired with an artistic eye, certainly paid off.
“I’m not an interior designer and I made a lot of bold choices, so it was super rewarding to see it all work so well,” she shares. “I also love being able to have ‘camp-outs’ in here with my kids.”
Her favorite aspect of the space? “The lock on the door — ha, that’s not true,” Gordon jokes.
“The serene feeling I get when I walk into the space,” she ends, candidly. “Listening to the kids play in the backyard while I work, but still having enough separation so I can actually be productive.”
Interior Design + Jewelry by Ariel Gordon Maffei
Photography by Ericka McConnell
Styling by Mikhael Romain
Flowers by Rachel at Forslund Florals & Design
Wallpaper by Lake August
Fabric (on pillows & cushions) by Ottoline Interiors
Bedding by Block Shop Textiles