If you want to design a living room that is at once urban, modern and comfortable with a dash of Los Angeles-Americana, bohemian rock-and-roll, take a leaf out of interior designer Max Humphrey’s design sketchbook. Humphrey’s vignette for Perspective Los Angeles, a yearly design event showcasing luxurious Sunbrella® fabrics through the eyes of top interior designers, marries the easy-going nature of California living with the touch of urban joie de vivre inspired by Humphrey’s own personal interior design aesthetic.
Currently partner and designer at Los Angeles-based Burnham Design, Humphrey came to interior design after a career in television production and the music industry (he toured the U.S. and England as the bass guitarist for a punk rock band.) His aesthetic is both modern and traditional, but amped up by his taste for the unorthodox, as seen in his full-scale Perspective LA vignette.
“This room says Max all over it,” said Humphrey, “though it’s a bit turned up compared to what I typically do for a client’s family room. I live downtown in a loft space and I used that as my inspiration. If I could start from scratch, this is what I would do.”
Humphrey started with a neutral fabric with a subtle quilted texture in Ritz – Sand by Link for the two large banquettes that make up the bulk of the seating in the living room.
“There’s a whole world of really high-end textured neutrals out there,” Humphrey explained. “When I shopped at the design center for this project, it wasn’t hard to find Sunbrella fabrics that I would use in one of my client’s houses.”
Humphrey added an eclectic mix of primary colors and preppy and bohemian patterns with decorative pillows in Check It Out – Zinnia by Stark, Ona Ikat – Clay from Beacon Hill, Veracruz – Noir by Kravet and Kasumi – Indigo, Rayure – Denim and Calabar – Chili, all from Pindler. Two dining chairs upholstered in Heather Breeze – Night Sky by Robert Allen and a lampshade made with chambray fabric lend a classic menswear vibe to the finished design. A graphic black and white Moroccan accent table plays off the black and white plaid decorative pillows, while adding to the collected feel of the accessories and wall art, including large-scale photography, a papier-mâché wall-mounted zebra sculpture, dart boards, metal signs and wall-mounted guitars.
“I buy and borrow stuff that I respond to without overthinking it,” said Humphrey. “I try, at least for myself, not to curate too much. I just collect things that I love and make them work.”
The result is a design that is tailor-made for a hip, young musician-turned-interior-designer with a flair for clean mid-century lines, luxurious high-end fabrics and a dash of rock-and-roll.
“Interior design is 99 percent planning and organization and really boring stuff, and that one little percent that can’t be taught is just sort of going for it – going with your gut,” Humphrey said.