Inspired by the beach and urban life, a jewelry designer settles in Venice
Jewelry designer Gina Nigrelli-Smith’s 1949 home, which she has done in a casual bohemian vibe, has all the qualities of her Jules Smith line of accessories: understated, accessible and versatile.
The Venice home, which she and her husband, Brian Smith, purchased in 2015, is a mix of bohemian charm and chic sophistication as rooms are flooded with lush greenery and vintage kilim rugs from the nearby Santa Monica Airport outdoor antique market, colorful art prints and sunshine from every angle.
“I wanted the house to have a California feel,” says Nigrelli-Smith, who moved here after living in Brooklyn for eight years, and said she especially loves the seamless indoor-outdoor feel of her new home. “I feel more engaged with my surroundings, and that permeates my life.”
Brooklyn transplants Gina Nigrelli-Smith and Brian Smith enjoy their Venice backyard with daughter Ruby, 2.(Mariah Tauger / For The Times)
Butterfly chairs and John Robshaw block printed textiles create an inviting place to sit in the sunny Venice home.(Mariah Tauger / For The Times)
Gina Nigrelli-Smith lined the existing fireplace with custom terra-cotta tiles by Tabarka Studio in a Mediterranean pattern.(Mariah Tauger / For The Times)
Gina Nigrelli-Smith, her husband, Brian Smith, and their kids Nico, 5, and Ruby, 2, play in their bohemian-chic Venice home.(Mariah Tauger / For The Times)
A hanging air plant and seashells add to the seaside atmosphere of the Venice home.(Mariah Tauger / For The Times)
On the wall in the dining room, Gina Nigrelli-Smith hung a vintage kilim rug from the Santa Monica Airport Antique Market. She also paired a Restoration Hardware dining table with orange Eames chairs from Herman Miller. “Those chairs have traveled the world with us,” she says with a laugh.(Mariah Tauger / For The Times)
The rooms flow into one another and are punctuated with color and pattern, from the graphic print by New York-based artist Kaws, at right, to the John Robshaw pillows and orange Herman Miller dining chairs.
(Mariah Tauger / For The Times)
“Ice Cold to Go,” by New York artist Stephen Powers.(Mariah Tauger / For The Times)
The new, open kitchen looks out over the dining room and an elevated living area.(Mariah Tauger / For The Times)
To give the home a more modern feel, Gina Nigrelli-Smith tore out the kitchen and installed high-gloss white Ikea cabinets. She also added a farm sink and a long butcher block countertop that serves as a multipurpose work space and a place for Nico, 5, and Ruby, 2, to hang out. The bar stools are from Serena & Lily.(Mariah Tauger / For The Times)
A small shelf in he kitchen was made from wood remnants from the custom countertop.
(Mariah Tauger / Mariah Tauger)
The dresser is fashionably placed in the hallway outside of the bedrooms due to the smaller size of the master bedroom. The red lamp is vintage.(Mariah Tauger / Mariah Tauger)
Mirrors decorate the wall just outside the master bedroom. “Urban Outfitters have really good accents that are inexpensive and look really good,” says Nigrelli-Smith.
(Mariah Tauger / For the Times)
In the master bedroom, textiles by John Robshaw and Lemlem, and a print by Los Angeles artist Cleon Peterson.(Mariah Tauger / Mariah Tauger)
Color, pattern and graphic artworks punctuate the interiors. The rattan chair at left is from Serena & Lily.(Mariah Tauger / For The Times)
The entryway of the Venice home is painted a bold blue.(Mariah Tauger / For The Times)
Before the remodel, Nico’s bedroom was part of the original living room.(Mariah Tauger / For The Times)
Accessories in Nico’s bedroom reference the home’s location.(Mariah Tauger / For The Times)
Nigrelli-Smith remodeled the bathroom and installed inexpensive cement tiles.(Mariah Tauger / For The Times)
Jules Smith designer Gina Nigrelli-Smith and her daughter, Ruby, at home in Venice.(Mariah Tauger / For The Times)
Nico prepares to make a splash.(Mariah Tauger / For The Times)
The front porch of the Smith family’s Venice home.(Mariah Tauger / For The Times)
The bright yellow front door hints at the sunny interiors inside.
(Mariah Tauger / For The Times)
The couple met in Denver in 2002 and moved to Las Vegas, where Smith worked as a sommelier at Aureole and Nigrelli-Smith worked for Diesel doing merchandising. After a year, they moved to Chicago, where she got her masters in fashion merchandising and Smith worked in finance. When Smith opened a brokerage firm, the couple landed in the Caribbean, where she started her jewelry line in the basement of their home. The couple next moved to New York before Smith relocated to Los Angeles to start Winc, a direct-to-consumer wine club.
They first saw the three-bedroom, two-bath, 1,700-square-foot home in Venice during an open house — and passed. But when she returned for a second look at another open house, there was something subtle about the interiors that appealed to her.
“The light got to me,” says the designer, who notes that she suffered from seasonal affective disorder when she lived in Brooklyn. “The interiors were so bright.”
After purchasing the house, she immediately installed Wi-Fi so she could work from home and with the help of her father, a former builder, proceeded to remodel the house in 90 days.
To add even more light to the interiors, they blew out a wall in the living room and faced the fireplace with delicate Mediterranean custom terra cotta tiles by Tabarka Studio. Macramé hangings from Etsy, bright orange Eames chairs from Herman Miller and cozy butterfly chairs add to the home’s comfortable vibe.
“I like that it’s a hodgepodge,” says Nigrelli-Smith. “As a designer, it’s inspiring.”
To give the home a more modern feel, Nigrelli-Smith tore out the kitchen and installed high-gloss white Ikea cabinets, which were 20% off during a sale. She added a farm sink and Thermador appliances, and got a free hood thrown in because she purchased an entire set. A long butcher block countertop serves as a multipurpose work space and a place for children Nico, 5, and Ruby, 2, to hang out.
The rooms flow in to one another and are punctuated with pattern, from the graphic cement tiles in the bathroom to the John Robshaw textiles and Lemlem bedding in the master bedroom.
“It’s an ideal place to live as a family,” Nigrelli-Smith says . “We ride our bikes to the beach, We live a charmed life here.”
After living in several cities, Nigrelli-Smith views Venice as the perfect combination of the Caribbean and New York: urban and small, with access to the beach.
“I think of when we lived in New York, with my kid strapped to me in a Baby Bjorn, trying to get a taxi,” she says. “That life seems so far away. I love living in this house.”
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