We've long been fans of White House decorator Michael S. Smith's refined aesthetic that blends classic and modern while infusing laid-back elements from his native California. So naturally, we've been poring over his new book, The Curated House ($37; amazon.com), in which he shares the design philosophy behind a few of his lust-worthy spaces, from his own house in L.A. to his decadent Manhattan digs (sadly, his impressive 2010 makeover of the Oval Office is not included). In each, "there's a kind of ease, a happenstance and looseness that allows people who live [there] to breathe," he writes. "I always say if you can't put your kid's fingerpainting up or decide you want to buy duck decoys, then someone's done a bad job. Nothing should be so precise or right that you can't liven it up." Apparently, even POTUS agrees.
Below, three nuggets of décor wisdom from this inspiring book.
1. HAVE FUN WITH TEXTURE
Juxtaposed with more formal fabrics, a neutral sisal rug lends a less serious, beachy vibe to a living room.
2. THROW IN A WILD CARD
A modern piece, like this sparkling glass coffee table with bentwood legs, plays against the formality of the room and gives it a worldy, sophisticated vibe.
3. EMBRACE CELADON (A GO-TO TONE FOR SMITH)
"There's always a little lemon in what I do," writes Smith, meaning that he will often reference his California roots in a room design. Exhibit A: This luminous living space incorporates a few eccentric pieces, like this tortoise coffee table and cozy corduroy couch, all against an ethereal green backdrop that conjures lush foliage.