How Designer Stefani Stein Transformed Samira Wiley's Home

By Laura Eckstein Jones | March 30, 2022

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For their second project together, interior designer Stefani Stein (@stefanisteinla) brought a bit of the English countryside to her clients’ Los Angeles home. “We began to joke that we were creating a California in the Cotswolds, which ended up sticking with us,” says Stein. “I love for a home to be a retreat, to invoke that feeling of being on holiday but at home.” Her clients, actress Samira Wiley (@whododatlikedat) and producer-director Lauren Morelli (@lomorelli), craved a cozy and comfortable—yet elevated and artful—space for themselves and their daughter, George.


The entryway is lined with August Abode’s Modern Stone wallpaper in ecru. The sideboard is by Morelato, purchased on 1stDibs, while the footed Lupa ottoman is from Martin & Brockett. Photographed By Sam Frost
The entryway is lined with August Abode’s Modern Stone wallpaper in ecru. The sideboard is by Morelato, purchased on 1stDibs, while the footed Lupa ottoman is from Martin & Brockett. Photographed By Sam Frost

In the salon, Stein re-covered the clients' Lawson-Fenning sofa from their prior home in rust mohair velvet Photographed By Sam Frost
In the salon, Stein re-covered the clients' Lawson-Fenning sofa from their prior home in rust mohair velvet Photographed By Sam Frost


Homeowners Lauren Morelli (left) and Samira Wiley. Photographed By Sam Frost
Homeowners Lauren Morelli (left) and Samira Wiley. Photographed By Sam Frost

“Both of their East Coast roots factored into their preferences and our aesthetic dialogue,” says Stein, who touched every surface of the 3,700-square-foot, two-story house, including the pool and patio areas. “Because the home had been recently renovated in a more pared-down interpretation of the architecture, we all felt strongly that we needed to reintroduce details and character. In a way, that provided a blank slate to layer upon, very minimally—white walls, limited millwork—we had a bit of a blank slate as a foundation. The addition of color, cabinetry and millwork, along with updating the lighting throughout, provided a rich foundation for furnishings.”


Antique French bergere chairs from Nickey Kehoe surround the fireplace in the salon Photographed By Sam Frost
Antique French bergere chairs from Nickey Kehoe surround the fireplace in the salon Photographed By Sam Frost

Since Wiley’s taste veered classic and Morelli’s skewed more contemporary, Stein had to find a common ground to work with stylewise. Luckily, both clients favored the color green, a shade Stein herself loves. “I wanted to bring the familiarity and comfort of their East Coast roots to the home by infusing woody and floral compositions, however doing so in finishes and materials inspired instead by the everyday beauty of the California landscape,” she says. “For me, the process begins with discovery and gaining insight not only into clients’ aesthetic preferences, which tend to shift and evolve a bit from one home to the next, but also an understanding of their household, how they want to feel in their home, how they prefer to live from day to day,” Stein explains. “What we unearthed was a strong preference for color and comfort, a dichotomy of both classic and contemporary mingling together, and a desire to add depth and detail to the existing architecture.”


The dramatic dining room contains Martin & Brockett’s Sydney chairs and the Arcadia cabinet by Lawson-Fenning, painted in a custom periwinkle shade Photographed By Sam Frost
The dramatic dining room contains Martin & Brockett’s Sydney chairs and the Arcadia cabinet by Lawson-Fenning, painted in a custom periwinkle shade Photographed By Sam Frost

Beyond green, Stein selected an earthier, dustier color palette than she used in the couple’s prior home. “Samira was into this idea, but I did have to convince Lauren that it wouldn’t feel drab,” she says. “These foundational colors selected lend the home a comfortable quality reminiscent of an older, lived-in space. Pairing this with furnishings that meander from modernist to antique, with a sprinkling of both vintage and statement items, kept things fresh and unexpected. For me, the composition is about that balance between studied and whimsy, edited and layered.”


William Waldron’s “Jamaica (School Girls, Montego Bay)” (2011) presides over the den. Photographed By Sam Frost
William Waldron’s “Jamaica (School Girls, Montego Bay)” (2011) presides over the den. Photographed By Sam Frost

One of Stein’s favorite spaces is the living room, or, as she and the clients call it, the salon. “They wanted this room to be a place for gathering, for discourse and ideas, for games with friends,” says Stein. “The 17th and 18th century French salons came to mind while we were exploring how this room would be used, and the name stuck. The dusty, pale pink walls have a slightly darker iteration on the ceiling. Paired with the rust mohair sofa, the room is bathed in this lovely soft light that is quite magical, especially when the fireplace is lit.” Morelli requested drama for the dining room, and Stein delivered, using a custom grass-cloth wallpaper by August Abode, paired with the clients’ dining table from their former home. The den is another standout. Bathed head to toe in teal—Wiley’s favorite color—the small space has a jewel-box quality. “I added bookshelves and wallpaper that made the space really cozy, with this Adriatic hue that just envelops you,” Stein explains, noting the vintage midcentury chess table. “[It] was our very first furnishing purchase. We came across it on a shopping outing and Samira, an avid chess player, instantly loved it.”


The kitchen’s Lawson-Fenning Orsini counter stools mingle with a vintage French breakfast table and cabinets painted in a custom shade by Portola Paints & Glazes. Photographed By Sam Frost
The kitchen’s Lawson-Fenning Orsini counter stools mingle with a vintage French breakfast table and cabinets painted in a custom shade by Portola Paints & Glazes. Photographed By Sam Frost

“I LOVE FOR A HOME TO BE A RETREAT, TO INVOKE THAT FEELING OF BEING ON HOLIDAY BUT AT HOME.” –STEFANI STEIN


A vintage wood and rush chair and an antique Bakhtiari rug purchased from Mehraban add texture to the entryway. Photographed By Sam Frost
A vintage wood and rush chair and an antique Bakhtiari rug purchased from Mehraban add texture to the entryway. Photographed By Sam Frost

While all of the home’s spaces are special, George’s nursery holds a special place in Stein’s heart. The clients were pregnant with George while designing the home, and did not know the baby’s gender. They wanted a rustic—but not too rustic—gender-neutral space. Instead of painting or papering the walls, Stein selected pine in random widths. “The natural knots provided a hint of a rustic, or more so an organic, backdrop,” she says, noting that the ceiling is painted in Farrow & Ball’s School House White shade, with the walls covered in a custom dilution. “I adore George’s nursery,” she says. “It is both studied and whimsical. The clients shared how George loves to lie in her crib and gaze at the little birdies on her ceiling fixture. I love when a design detail becomes a special memory or heartfelt moment that brings joy to my clients’ lives.”


To provide a rustic—but not too rustic—look in George’s nursery, Stein lined the walls with pine planks in random widths Photographed By Sam Frost
To provide a rustic—but not too rustic—look in George’s nursery, Stein lined the walls with pine planks in random widths Photographed By Sam Frost


The primary bedroom’s millwork is painted in Farrow & Ball’s Breakfast Room Green shade. The bedside tables are by Faithful Roots, and the table lamps are by Design Frères Photographed By Sam Frost
The primary bedroom’s millwork is painted in Farrow & Ball’s Breakfast Room Green shade. The bedside tables are by Faithful Roots, and the table lamps are by Design Frères Photographed By Sam Frost


The primary bathroom’s mirror is by Michael Smith for Mirror Image Home. Photographed By Sam Frost
The primary bathroom’s mirror is by Michael Smith for Mirror Image Home. Photographed By Sam Frost

“FOR ME, THE COMPOSITION IS ABOUT THAT BALANCE BETWEEN STUDIED AND WHIMSY, EDITED AND LAYERED.” –STEFANI STEIN


The patio contains a mix of new and vintage pieces, including a sofa and ottoman from August Abode’s Hayworth Collection, a vintage Italian marble coffee table from the 1960s found at Castle Antiques & Design and a vintage terra-cotta turtle garden stool from Van den Andern found on 1stDibs. Photographed By Sam Frost
The patio contains a mix of new and vintage pieces, including a sofa and ottoman from August Abode’s Hayworth Collection, a vintage Italian marble coffee table from the 1960s found at Castle Antiques & Design and a vintage terra-cotta turtle garden stool from Van den Andern found on 1stDibs. Photographed By Sam Frost

In addition, Stein and her team reworked the bedrooms, the kitchen, the bathrooms, the family room, the laundry, the outdoor areas and more. And her clients are thrilled with the results. “They had just returned from several months on set and came home to a completely transformed space,” Stein says. “It’s my safe space,” says Wiley. “I’ve always wanted to live in a ‘home’ versus a ‘house,’ and when traveling all the time for work, to be able to come back to a home is just priceless.”


A vintage Salterini rocking chair sits beside the pool, while planters and potted plants were sourced locally and designed in collaboration with WildFlora Design Studio. Photographed By Sam Frost
A vintage Salterini rocking chair sits beside the pool, while planters and potted plants were sourced locally and designed in collaboration with WildFlora Design Studio. Photographed By Sam Frost

DESIGN DETAILS

LOCATION
Los Angeles

INTERIOR DESIGN
Stefani Stein
stefanistein.com

LANDSCAPE DESIGN
WildFlora Design Studio
wildfloradesignstudio.com

RESOURCES
AUGUST ABODE
Wallpaper throughout, primary bedroom coffee table, patio furniture
augustabode.com

FARROW & BALL
Primary bedroom and nursery paint
farrow-ball.com

LAWSON-FENNING
Salon sofa, kitchen stools, dining room cabinet and patio console table
lawson-fenning.com

MARTIN & BROCKETT
Entryway ottoman, dining room table and bench
martinandbrockett.com

NICKEY KEHOE
Primary bedroom sofa, nursery throw, salon coffee table and antique gray chairs
nickeykehoe.com

PORTOLA PAINTS & GLAZES
Salon, kitchen and breakfast nook paint
portolapaints.com

Photography by: Courtesy of Sam Frost