Call it fate.
Just when lifestyle influencer Cara Loren was on the hunt for a designer to help transform her young family’s unfinished basement into something unique and stylish, designer Andrea West approached Loren with the idea of collaborating on a project for her portfolio. Loren—whose many followers look to her for advice and inspiration on everything from fashion to decorating, and travel to fitness—reviewed West’s work and instantly knew she was the pro to help turn Loren’s dream for lux and livable lower-level spaces into reality.
Collaborating throughout the project, the duo dived right in as West revised the raw space, then comprised concrete floors and rooms defined by bare two-by-fours. She reconfigured the floor plan to include an open family room and kitchen, as well as an adjacent bathroom, that the pair would design and decorate from the floor up. Today, Loren’s young family, good friends and avid fans relish the results.
“Having someone who knows how to take my style and taste, mix it in with the dimensions we had to work with, and make the end result something both beautiful and what I had in mind in the first place is magic,” says Cara Loren. “This is exactly what Andrea did for me.”
“I always begin with the kitchen; it sets the tone for the rest of the home,” West says. Loren rejected the idea of a typical kitchen from the get-go. “I wanted to take risks and do something that was different from what you might normally see,” she explains. The duo pulled inspiration from Loren’s travels and personal style as West cleverly integrated elements that visually enlarged the small space, created contrast and mixed materials to form an engaging design.
The island’s bold waterfall design accentuates the rich veining of its broad Nouveau Calacatta Quartz countertop. Lining the handmade subway tile backsplash, gold and glass shelves provide storage and display space whithout adding the bulk of upper cabinets. “The shelves are cutting edge yet timeless,” explains West.
Mixed metals, from chic gold-and-leather barstools to stainless appliances and brass pendants make the room feel collected and personal. “It reflects Cara’s fashion style,” West says.
THE FAMILY ROOM
“We wanted this space to be welcoming, comfy, kid-friendly and styled in a way that is true to us,” Loren says. What she didn’t want was anything resembling typical basement hangouts—overly loungey or theater-like. That meant a more tailored, personalized design rich with unexpected elements. “We had so much fun mixing the materials and textures in this room, from the leather and velvet sofas to the faux fur and gold accent chairs,” Loren says. The duo picked the wall’s blush tone first then worked from the ground up, starting with the rug, then adding other elements to create the room’s eclectic desert vibe.
Forget a predictable sectional. Instead, two sofas—one velvet and the other leather—pair with two faux-fur director’s chairs to provide ample seating and surprising style. Loren also dreamed of dressed her basement with a stylish gallery wall to reflect her love of travel and art. “Andrea helped me navigate the right sizes, dimensions, and types of art that would fit my style,” she says.
A wall-mounted TV displayed above an open-shelf console welcomes movie watching without dominating the design with typical theater style.
“We wanted a more neutral palette in the bathroom, with a clean, fresh and relaxed look for Cara Loren’s online make-up videos and tutorials,” West explains. But don’t mistake neutral for ho-hum. The duo filled the space with splashy features and head-turning fixtures that make it overflow with character. “This was the room I was most excited about,” Loren says. “I have always envisioned this beautiful, glam, classy-yet-edgy bathroom that I could spend days on end in.”
A mix of black and white cement floor tiles work together to animate the room, while grounding the space with large scale pattern. To soften the room’s harder lines and surfaces, West placed a curvy freestanding tub and a a starburst chandelier from Arteriors.
In the corner of the bathroom, a grid-and-glass shower enclosure delivers big style without consuming visual space.
Photography by Nicole Gerulat
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