Tour a Pacific Palisades Home Defined by Organic, Warm Details

When interior designer Mandy Cheng agreed to take on a project in LA’s upscale Pacific Palisades neighborhood, she came prepared to discuss ideas for how the clients wanted to live and function in their new surroundings. The clients, tech-industry executives Stuart Leung and Monika Shah, “wanted me to collaborate on ways to make the home express their own distinctive style,” says Cheng, an AD100 designer who parlayed her experience in television and film into a career as one of LA’s top decorators.

The designer’s penchant for employing light, earthy tones, and organic textures helped to showcase that distinctive style while creating an interior scheme that radiates easy, unpretentious livability.

Though the Spanish Mediterranean residence stretches more than 5,800 square feet, Cheng manages to inject warmth and intimacy into each of its rooms using decor that suggests a sophisticated, urbane sensibility. Cream-colored accent chairs with curved frames greet visitors in a living room that includes a deep and spacious velvet sofa. Rounded coffee and end tables add a soft sculptural form to the space.

Wood beams were added to the living room and throughout the house to provide more visual interest to the ceilings, Cheng says. The beams are appropriate for the architectural style of the house and allow visitors to appreciate the entire space from floor to ceiling, she adds.

Custom bifold arched doors were installed to separate the living and dining rooms and create a bold statement upon entering the house. The steel doors—added with the help of SZK Metals—are a nod to the iron doors found in older 1920s Mediterranean- and Spanish-style homes. Cheng says, “These doors really helped elevate the look of these two rooms and framed them nicely, allowing for visual separation.”

The homeowners say Cheng was able to find harmony in blending modern forms and understated colors that naturally reflected their lifestyle. The couple, who have two small children, relied on the designer to synthesize their broad ideas for the home into actionable interior themes.

“When the project started, we kept using a certain set of words as a reference like ‘organic‘ and ‘comfy,’” says Leung. “Mandy understood right from the start what we were after and really brought all of those ideas together.”

Those design aesthetics are on display in the home’s kitchen and breakfast nook, which emphasize craft and materiality. The stools next to the kitchen counter have wood finishes and natural seat cords that give the space an easygoing style that’s welcoming and calming. Floating shelves were added in a kitchen that includes a brass with white leather pendant light. A custom wrap-around bench in the breakfast nook includes an expandable dining table and upholstered chairs. A handwoven pendant light in natural rattan adds a soft, sophisticated tone to the space.

“Our priority was to create a home for our family that fit to our functional and practical needs,” says Shah, whose youngest son was a newborn when the project began in 2021. “The flow from the kitchen into the nook shows how Mandy anticipated the things that would become important to our family.”

Cheng’s talent for blending understated colors with natural textures is also showcased in the primary bedroom. A Noguchi Akari pendant light created from handmade washi paper and bamboo ribbing hangs above a soft-hued bench that’s wrapped in velvet upholstery with a foam-padded frame. An ottoman in cotton velvet with fluting and a piped rim adds to the bedroom’s balance of material, color, and texture.

“Stuart and Monika had a strong sense of how they saw this design unfolding,” adds Cheng. “So we really wanted interiors that didn’t take away from their own tastes.”

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