In a city full of well-designed spaces, finding one that leaves a lasting impression is always a treat. Japanese spa paradise, Tomoko Spa in Beverly Hills is one of those; partly due to the killer massages this zen heaven has to offer, but also thanks to the artful intuition of mother-daughter duo, Thea Segal and Dorianne Passman of Thea Home who designed the elegant space.

Thea and Dorianne specialize in environments that create a feeling, not just a look. Their work is refined, and always highly-functional. Their holistic approach to design results in spaces that leave us feeling completely at-home, yet delightfully transported.

We asked Dorianne to share some of the design savvy that’s landed their work in publications from Architectural Digest to Elle Decor. Her answers are bound to inspire…

Favorite 3 elements in a well-designed room:

A well-designed room usually includes the right canvas, meaning beautiful floors and wall color/materials. This is the basis for the design in the entire space; these elements should be highly considered. A well-designed room should also always feel balanced. This does not necessarily mean symmetry. It just means there is a balance between furniture and negative space. You should feel like you would be able to breathe and move through a space freely. And lastly, we would have to say that colors and color coordination are important. Even though our design tends to be on the neutral scale, even those neutrals have to blend together in the perfect harmony.

My signature touch is...

Our signature touch is bringing in antiques to a space but keeping the space feeling fresh and clean. I would also say our chalkboard sliding appliance garage door in a kitchen is something every client rightfully asks for, along with our paper towel drawer. These are custom designs by us to keep the less pretty items in a kitchen out of sight and off of your counters.

Favorite design trend right now:

Our favorite design trend right now is everyone’s love of neutrals. We have never been designers that throw a bunch of color in your face. Don’t get us wrong, there is a time and place to have fun with color and bringing in tones that can be exciting and statements but still keep a space calm. But now that neutrals are trending, we’re breathing a sigh of relief. White walls are cool!

Trend you’re ready to see go:

Brushed brass. Again, there is a time and place for everything, and especially in moderation. We love a patina natural brass, but the brushed brass fixtures (whether it be plumbing, lighting or hardware) is on the out.

Biggest decor mistake most people make:

Using too much symmetry. A mantle and a shelf shouldn’t have two candelabras flanking it. A sofa shouldn’t have two pillows on each end of the sofa. There is a beauty in keeping things “off balance;” it makes a space feel more organic. Symmetry is great in architecture but should be broken in decorating.

Design rule you love to break:

Not sure we believe in that many rules!

Favorite green or eco-design tips:

Buy vintage/antiques! This is the most natural way to reuse/recycle. Throwing in vintage pieces keeps a place feeling warm and real. When everything in a space is new, it can feel overly designed with a lack character.

Favorite natural materials:

We have to say we are huge 100% linen fans. We use linen all the time – it’s beautiful, feels organic, looks organic and is easy to maintain because of its breathable nature.

Tips for creating an intentional space…

Don’t rush it. Creating a home is almost like anything else in life. It takes time to curate, understand what you want out of the space, how you want the space to flow and finding the right pieces that mean something to you. Make every piece intentional and your space will reflect that.

Favorite home/decor shops…

Nickey Kehoe, Galerie Half, Brenda Antin.

Favorite current design project:

We are currently doing my (Dorianne’s) house, which is incredibly exciting and proving to be quite the challenge. It is a 100-year-old Tudor home in historic Hancock Park. We are gutting the house but doing everything we can to maintain the integrity and history of the home. It’s been amazing for the two of us to work together to create a space doing everything we want, both architecturally and decoratively.

Item that instantly upgrades a space…

Rugs and art!

Current design mantra:

Less is more.

Explore more inspiring design interviews here.

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