Design Vidal

Design Vidal

For this month’s Style Talk interview we were thrilled to connect with Karen and Guy Vidal of Design Vidal in Los Angeles and Brooklyn.  The husband-and-wife team has a knack for restoring and remodeling interiors in their own innovative style that embraces pattern, color, and cultural details.  Today, Karen and Guy are here to discuss what inspires their work in restoring old homes, their unique aesthetic, and what’s new for the talented design team.

Design Vidal has such a great story of saving “tear-down homes” in historic neighborhoods. How did you first get started in home renovation? 
Guy and I were living in our first house in Echo Park. There was a house on the street that seemed totally abandoned–we called it “Miss Havisham’s house”. We had just had our daughter Ginger and were out for a walk when we saw a guy working in the front yard. Curious, we asked him what the story was with the house; he said the owner was going to sell it–it was his fathers’ who had passed several years earlier. We just looked at each other and knew we were going to buy it. We had no experience renovating, but somehow we did it. We learned everything the hard way, and that house had more problems then any other house we would deal with for years! We had to replace the brick foundation, and upgrade every single system. It turns out we had a skill for renovating, and the house sold on the first open house. With the profit we bought three more houses to fix up, and over 5 years we restored 25 homes, some of which had been boarded up or abandoned. Over time people started asking us if we could renovate their homes. At first we said no, but when the flip market turned south we realized that we needed to parlay our new talents into a career in interior design and we started working with clients.

Design Vidal

Design Vidal

How would you describe your overall design aesthetic? 
It’s funny because we just re-did our website, which involved looking at a LOT of photos of our work in a very concentrated way. If you had asked me beforehand, I would have said that we don’t have an aesthetic, but having just gone through this process I can definitely say that our jobs have a certain look. I know that we love color and pattern, and use both no matter what the style of the house. We have a weakness for a lot of tile! We like to create opportunities for display. We love built-ins. We tend to open up spaces, but in a way that stays consistent with the character of the home.

Design Vidal

Design Vidal

So many of your interior designs showcase the beautiful and intricate patterns of traditional Moroccan style. What is it about Moroccan culture that inspires you? 
I’ve never been to Morocco! I grew up in a really big family in a really small town, and I think so much of my life has been about wanting to know what was outside of our small town. I think someone from Morocco would look at my design and say “That’s not really Moroccan”, which is true because it’s not meant to be. It’s a romantic interpretation of the exotic. Often times, it’s ‘Moroccan Moderne’, as in the case of my daughter’s room. A few years ago we went to see a newly restored print of “The King and I” at the Alex theatre. I had loved watching it as a girl, so I wanted to take the kids to see it. Halfway through, as I was looking at a set in “Siam” that was a cut out gold screen over a hot pink background, I realized how deeply it had saturated my psyche. Then Yul Brynner walks in, and I look over at Guy and I just started laughing (see picture of Guy to really understand why).

Design Vidal

Seeing your kids’ room’s was one of the highlights of last year’s Apartment Therapy tour. How involved were they in choosing the décor for their spaces? Are they having thoughts of one day joining the family business? 
Their rooms are definitely a reflection of their personalities; Ginger is an artist and Levi loves animals and nature. That’s so funny that you ask! It’s a running joke we have: “When can we sign Ginger up to be part of the team?”. Maybe Guy and I can retire in 15 years and have them take over! That would be great.

Design Vidal

Design Vidal

What’s next for Design Vidal in 2013?
2013 is the “Year of the Product” for us. We are working on a tile line, and have already developed some prototypes. We are also doing our first project outside of the US! It’s in India, and should be done this year.

Thank you so much Karen and Guy for sharing your journey and your work with us on AphroChic!

{Images furnished by Design Vidal}

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