We partnered up with the famous blogger for a modern makeover of her new Los Angeles studio.
In terms of interior design bloggers, Victoria Smith is the queen of bohemian modern style in spaces of all sizes. So when we set out to find a designer for our APT CB2 contest, joining forces with Victoria was a no-brainer. She offered to transform a 100 square foot studio apartment next to her new house in LA where she plans to host family, friends, and Airbnb guests. The best part: She let her Instagram followers pick the big-ticket items. So for the past seven days, fans have nominated their favorite sofa, rug, barstools, and more. The final room looks naturally pulled together, with textured gray seating, a subtly-patterned rug, and colorful accessories in the form of pillows and a pouf. (Watch a timelapse video of the process here).
We sat down with Victoria last week before the contest began to talk about her background, her aesthetic, and the poster that put her on the map.
You start a blog way back in the blogging stone ages, circa 2006. Why?
I was working in advertising as an art buyer and a director of print production, and I’ve always been into decorating. My friend Joanie told me about Apartment Therapy’s home tours. She said, “You gotta be on a home tour.” And I was like, “I don’t even know what that is!” So one night I took a bunch of pictures of my place but I didn’t have anywhere to put them. I was like, “Oh there’s that blogspot thing.” So I put all of the pictures on there and sent them to Apartment Therapy. They liked them and we reshot the place and they posted it. I realized right away that I liked the platform. I love photography, I was a writing major in college, and I love design. So it encompassed everything that I really liked. So I just kept up with it.
What was your aesthetic back then?
At the time my apartment was more midcentury modern. I had this cool, old apartment. I blogged for two years at night and then I started to get more followers and putting advertisers on the site. I asked my friends who had little shops if I could put a free ad up so it would look like I was bringing in advertising and people would start asking. And so they did. Also, this is the embarrassing part. You know those Keep Calm and Carry On posters? I knew they were a public domain image, so I could keep producing them in better colors on recycled paper. So I just started redoing them and I sold thousands and thousands and thousands. I was able to save all of that money. In 2008, I was able to quit my job and I’ve been full-time blogging since then. But as soon as they got really popular, when you saw Keep Calm and Eat a Cupcake, I stopped making them.
In general would you say your aesthetic changes over time?
If you follow my blog, you see I change the furniture around a lot. And I look back at some of my apartments and think, what was I thinking? My apartment definitely evolves. For a while all I wanted was austere midcentury modern and then I realized living in it wasn’t me at all. My last apartment was really minimal because it was small. I recycle a lot. And if a piece doesn’t have a spot anymore, I’ll sell it on Craigslist or Chairish.
You just moved to LA from San Francisco. How are you liking it?
I’m really loving it. It’s a new adventure for me because I was in San Francisco for 20 years. There’s just something new to explore all of the time.
How are you incorporating your bohemian modern sense of style into the new place?
I went in May to Tulum, and there’s this store there named Coqui Coqui. It’s the most amazing place, and I loved everything about it. And so I’m kind of designing my house around that because it feels beachy and LA and very soothing. I’m using a lot of vintage with modern and just mixing it up.
Where is your studio located, and how big is it?
It’s about 100 square feet with a teeny bathroom and a little kitchenette. It has a private entrance just above my garage.
How do you plan to use the space?
One of the reasons I bought this house was because I thought it’d be really great to have this outside apartment that friends and family could stay in. But I also plan to hopefully be an Airbnb host and rent it out for short-term rentals and vacationers. So I’m decorating with that in mind so it won’t have too many personal objects but some nice artwork to make it functional but still beautiful.
How do you want it to make you feel?
I’d like the room to make me feel comfortable and calming, but I also want it to be a functional cottage. I like a Scandinavian vibe—a functional but aesthetically beautiful space that people feel comfortable in. I want people to feel at home there and do their own thing without having to come upstairs.
Are you nervous about letting your followers pick the products for you?
At first I thought it might be a little scary to have other people decorate because I’m a little bit of a control freak when it comes to that. But I actually think that my followers know me so well that they’re choosing the things that I love. I think it’s been a fun process. It’s fun to let other people do it and take the pressure off of yourself. They’re doing a great job!
How does CB2’s point of view work with your style?
I’ve been a fan of CB2 since it started. I’ve shopped there for a long time. I think they’re the perfect apartment aesthetic for someone who’s first starting out or someone who wants to add a little contemporary style to what they’ve got going on. It’s modern but still comfortable and pretty. So I feel like it’s the perfect studio makeover partner because everything is streamlined, on trend, and looks great.
What’s your ultimate goal with this makeover?
The ultimate goal for this makeover is to create a space where people will feel comfortable. They’ll have everything they need down there and it’ll be a really charming space where people want to hang out.
APT CB2 TIME LAPSE VIDEO
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