SoCal ButterlyAuthor:Abigail Stone
Ryan Saghian makes his mark inside a Beverlywood home
Like many interior designers, Ryan Saghian’s first clients were culled from friends and family. “There was a look that everyone wanted and they came to me for that look,” he remembers. Ever a student of design, his work morphed as he obsessed over his idols, integrating their ideas in the process of refining his own style. “Before Instagram, all that experimentation took place behind closed doors,” he says. “I’ve made all those mistakes and had those growing pains on social media, in front of everyone.”
Now 30, he’s left his chaotic twenties behind, embracing his signatures—a love of black, an enthusiasm for texture and a love of oversize, curvaceous pieces. Still, “every day it’s a learning process,” he says. “I’m still young!”
Much of Saghian’s work comes through social media. “The mistakes I’ve made and those vulnerabilities are why I’ve been able to connect with my generation,” Saghian says. “It’s why I think I’ve met so many clients through Instagram.”
The design of this home, in the Beverlywood neighborhood of Los Angeles, had been spearheaded by the husband. The result was contemporary, all angles and edges. The wife DM’d Saghian, hoping he might help them make the interiors feel softer and more welcoming. “She told me she didn’t want the house to feel this modern,” Saghian remembers. “She wanted me to take the edge off all the hardness and rigidity and sharp lines and make it feel a little bit more homey, a little bit more cozy, a little bit more inviting.” Saghian saw it as the perfect opportunity to highlight his version of modern, one that relied on intriguing textures, organic shapes and voluptuous materials.
The couple’s young children dictated many of the furniture choices, like the replica Mario Bellini Camaleonda sofa in the living room. Its classic lines checked the boxes for a piece with a low profile and rounded edges that would be able withstand the antics and messes of two toddlers. “When you’re working to meet someone’s budget, you have to decide what you’re going to push the client to spend money on,” Saghian notes. He campaigned for Stahl & Band’s sculptural layered coffee table, Faye Toogood’s Roly Poly chair and a custom piece from Voila Creative Studio that hangs above the travertine fireplace. The height of the thick countertop that collars the kitchen’s island was another design dictated by the presence of children. “She didn’t want the kids sitting in high chairs, so we came up with a way to drop the counter down to dining height,” Saghian explains. Its strong profile is balanced by the marble’s energetic veins, the grain of the walnut cabinets and a brushed bronze hood over the stove. Vinyl ensures the stools are also kid-proof.
The client shied away from Saghian’s favorite color. “She didn’t want me to do all black,” he says. They compromised with black accents against travertine in the primary bath, and she gave him permission to do an all-black powder room. The lively flooring and glamorous lighting showcase the hue’s saucy side.
“The biggest thing I learned on this job is that you can still create something moody without going all black,” Saghian confesses. In the primary bedroom, textured reeded walls—which camouflage the doors leading to the closet and the bath—imbue the room with tranquility. The all-white dining room thanks a dearth of reflective surfaces for its serenity; the muted finishes of the concrete and plaster table, hand-troweled walls, bouclé sheers, plaster chandelier and oak and linen chairs absorb light. “It’s about texture and tonality,” says Saghian. “But it’s still sumptuous and cozy and inviting. Black without the black.” He laughs. Lesson learned.