Inspiration from the Golden Coast

Moderate climate, salty sea air, and charming beach towns all provide a convincing argument for vacationers to flock to the beaches of sunny Southern California. Although I have fallen in love with Kansas City, I still feel a tug at my heartstrings for California sunshine. You can take a girl out of California, but you just can’t take California out of the girl! Because of this, it's always an exhilarating treat for me to go back to visit my family and the place that I called home for so many years.

Southern California’s beautiful topography constantly functions as a muse for artists and interior designers. It also serves as an inspirational canvas for manufacturers of wallpaper, tile, flooring and other home improvement materials. It's no wonder that the “coastal style” is so enormously popular and influential, even in the Midwest. Designers are constantly looking for places and things that inspire them, so constant research is required. As part of my quest to stay relevant in the industry, I like to study and predict trends. Traveling to areas of the country where interior design is treasured certainly aids designers in their quest to be on the cutting edge.     

With these things in mind, I made sure that the Laguna Design Center was at the top of my list of places to visit while on my trip. The Laguna Design Center is an exclusive “to the trade” compound, which is home to a multitude of high fashion home interior products. My experience there put an exclamation point on the patterned tile trend that I have been following for the last couple of years. Homeowners are slowly getting a little braver with their use of tile. Many have discovered that breaking away from their need to have a completely neutral space invites a whole new world of possibilities. Neutral has it’s advantages, however, oftentimes neutral can result in a lack of charm or visual interest. I believe that a trip to an Anne Sacks showroom will convince even the most die-hard neutral lover to branch out and bring a little pizzazz into their home. As pictured below, one can see how delightful color can be. 

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Moving on to my next design gallery, I noticed the coastal influence everywhere. Here, this lovely vignette is wrapped with a gorgeous larger scale grasscloth. This is not your mother’s grasscloth! This beautiful texture creates movement and excitement in the space. I love and appreciate a good quality grasscloth, so this unusual pattern was inspiring to me. 

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This final vignette made me smile! It is inspired by the artist Theo Van Doesburg. Recently, I had been hunting down a print of Van Doesburg’s work Counter-Composition in Dissonance 16 (1925) for a client. I was so thrilled to see how his work inspired this entire room! I first discovered this artist at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art gift shop. The Nelson was selling tissue and trinket boxes that looked like this very wall below. I thought to myself, “I must find out who the artist is!” This room and the tissue boxes are great examples of how fine art and design can inspire each other. I feel that the Theo Van Doesburg wall could be easily recreated by most homeowners. It would be spectacular as one accent wall in a teen bedroom, or on the wall of a modern basement. Because this wall makes such a strong statement, it was necessary for other furnishings in the room to be more neutral. 

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I hope this little peek into the world of design has left you “California dreaming,” and hopefully a bit motivated to take more design risks in your own homes. I would encourage you to invite more color and texture in your home. Look to nature for inspiration on color combinations as well as combining textures. The examples in the natural world around you will help you to become familiar with what delights you, and the risk will not seem so drastic.


Angela wants to live in a world where fresh flowers never die, and home decor magazines are printed on chocolate. Her chief ambition is to redesign all home interiors in the Kansas City Metro.  She also spends time sewing, whipping up delicious gluten free meals, and lately doubling as a carpenter.  Because of her experience living on both the East and West coasts, she brings a fresh, practical, and unique style to the homes of Kansas City residents.  A Southern California native, she began her vocational education by obtaining a Bachelors degree in History from Cal State Sonoma.  She realized shortly thereafter that interior design was her passion, and has been working as a designer in both South Florida and Kansas City for the past ten years.  As if being a home improvement whiz wasn’t enough, you will find her sometimes going to the gym, traveling whenever possible, and slapping on a manicure two minutes before she walks out the door.  She is also the owner of Angela Smeed Design LLC. Angela resides in Kansas City with her husband/best friend Shane, and her three entertaining children: Samantha (14), Andrew (12), and Landon (7).

Angela wants to live in a world where fresh flowers never die, and home decor magazines are printed on chocolate. Her chief ambition is to redesign all home interiors in the Kansas City Metro.  She also spends time sewing, whipping up delicious gluten free meals, and lately doubling as a carpenter.  Because of her experience living on both the East and West coasts, she brings a fresh, practical, and unique style to the homes of Kansas City residents. 

A Southern California native, she began her vocational education by obtaining a Bachelors degree in History from Cal State Sonoma.  She realized shortly thereafter that interior design was her passion, and has been working as a designer in both South Florida and Kansas City for the past ten years. 

As if being a home improvement whiz wasn’t enough, you will find her sometimes going to the gym, traveling whenever possible, and slapping on a manicure two minutes before she walks out the door.  She is also the owner of Angela Smeed Design LLC.

Angela resides in Kansas City with her husband/best friend Shane, and her three entertaining children: Samantha (14), Andrew (12), and Landon (7).

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