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Look We Love: California Eclectic

Design by Katie Hodges | Photo by Haris Kenjar

It's hard to know exactly what lexicon to use -- organic modern, modern California, warm modern, California eclectic, etc., but the name matters little, as I'm sure you're familiar with the layered, organic aesthetic. It's all about a muted palette, plenty of texture, and is restrained, but by no means minimal. It often incorporates rustic or reclaimed elements elevated by sleeker, more modern pieces -- especially lighting. And the style is not limited to the West Coast -- as an East Coast dweller myself I am a testament to its broad appeal. Here's how to get that cozy, lived-in California-cool style no matter your longitude.

 warm modern living room by Amber Interiors with vintage rug

Design by Amber Interiors | Photo by Jess Isaac

Layered Neutrals

The look is known for a warm, muted color palette. Putting neutrals together in a way that is interesting and layered -- and not boring -- can be tricky, but there's really a simple formula: texture, texture, texture! Even with few colors in a space, if there is plenty of texture, the eye will read it as warm and inviting instead of sterile. Current doyenne of the style, Amber Lewis, used boucle, linen, leather, and velvet in the space above, plus plenty of vintage textiles (including a rug, of course!) to give it depth. Texture also comes in the form of the hard surfaces, such as the tongue and groove ceiling and antique library table cut down to be a coffee table.

Shop our similar style: Tia, a 1920s Malayer

hallway with vintage rug

Design by Jake Arnold | Photo by Simon Upton

Reclaimed Elements

"Reclaimed" is a bit of a buzzword these days, and for good reason. Not only does it make environmental sense to use items that have already been produced, but you'll certainly avoid the current uncertainty surrounding production and shipping! Reclaimed building materials also bring more texture and history than new materials, which is a much-needed element to bring this look together. Even if you can't alter the architecture of your space, vintage and antique furnishings or accessories will certainly do the trick.

Shop our similar style: Titus, a 1920s Malayer

bedroom with vintage rug

Design by Amber Interiors | Photo by Jess Issac

Abundant Textiles

While there is certainly some restraint, it doesn't really apply when it comes to textiles. To achieve this look, pile on the pillows and layer in plenty of throw blankets, especially made of vintage and hand-made fabrics. This is often the primary source of color, so mix in deep, saturated tones and don't shy away from lots of pattern and texture. This style doesn't rely on a formulaic approach to pattern-mixing, and including an element or two that doesn't make sense on paper but somehow still works (like the burnt orange throw blanket, above) will give your room that cozy, lived-in feel.

 Shop our similar style: Sardis, a 1920s Tarbriz

living room with vintage rug

Design by DISC Interiors

Handmade Pieces

Hand-thrown pottery, tiles made in Mexico, original art, or fabrics block-printed by hand -- this is not a style of mass-production. Items made by hand are what bring that much-needed human element into a space, which is one of the reasons I am passionate about handmade rugs. There is just no substitute, but every piece need not be an investment. Scour your local vintage or thrift shops for pottery pieces or vintage art, or check out sites like Etsy or E-bay for plenty of affordable options. Look for items that are more sculptural than fussy and that invite a closer look. 

Shop our similar style: Cora, a 1920s Tabriz

organic modern dining space with vintage rug

Design by Julia Miller | Photo by Amanda Birnie

Something Sleek

A hallmark of this style is the juxtaposition between rustic, organic materials and more sleek pieces, like this Minnesota dining space illustrates so beautifully. In her own home, designer Julia Miller masterfully combined textural elements like nickel-gap paneling, handmade terra cotta flooring, and lightly-finished oak with sleek, simple lighting. The effect is warm and unpretentious, much like Julia herself!

Shop our similar style: Flora, a 1920s Malayer

Another look we love: Modern Parisian