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Inspired by the beach and urban life, a jewelry designer settles in Venice

The Smith family at home in Venice. From left: Brian Smith, co-founder of Winc wine club, son Nico, Gina Nigrelli-Smith and daughter Ruby.
The Smith family at home in Venice. From left: Brian Smith, co-founder of Winc wine club, son Nico, Gina Nigrelli-Smith and daughter Ruby.
(Mariah Tauger / For The Times)

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.”

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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.

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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.”

The sunny white kitchen features high gloss cabinets from Ikea and bistro barstools from Serena and Lily.
The sunny white kitchen features high gloss cabinets from Ikea and bistro barstools from Serena and Lily.
(Mariah Tauger/For the Times )

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.

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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.

She consulted with a designer at Homepolish, an hourly interior design service, to help her choose durable accessories, such as the solid brass Schoolhouse Electric pulls in the kitchen.

Recently, the couple added a petanque court in the backyard as well as a 10-by-20-foot pool. In the future, they hope to add a master bedroom. In the meantime, they are here to stay.

“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.”

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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.”

lisa.boone@latimes.com

Twitter: @lisaboone19

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