You never know when or where inspiration will strike. For Kaylyn Hewitt, the answer was right under her nose: flowers.
As the lead floral designer at The Bouqs Co., it’s clear that Hewitt’s devotion to bright blooms and sweet posies directly informed her interior decorating style. From the natural materials to the textural layering, every element in her bright and airy 100-year-old bungalow in Santa Monica, California (which she shares with her adorable dog, Bear) is a subtle nod to the delicate bouquets she creates for her profession.
"I am very much inspired by anything floral and botanical, and I think a lot of that comes through in the color and in the art," she explains. The abundance of natural light throughout the apartment was also a major influence compelling Hewitt to create a "plant-focused" space: "I just want my home to be full of life," she adds. But interestingly, the home's soft color palette didn't start with flowers. "I found a pillow at Target that had a little bit of everything I wanted," she discloses. "It’s the one in the center of my couch. I saved it to a Pinterest board and used that for inspiration for my entire home."
This open approach to design was a tip Hewitt gained from watching Kelly Wearstler’s Masterclass at the beginning of quarantine. "She really inspired me to go outside of my comfort zone," Hewitt recalls. "Before lockdown, I hadn’t made too much headway on decorating my home, and I was feeling a bit stuck. Something I really took to heart was getting comfortable with mixing different types of textures and materials in my space." And Hewitt did just that.
While she definitely leaned into the California bungalow aesthetic, Hewitt really challenged her typical design choices this time around, playing with materials and textures she'd never used before like rattan. And she's so glad she did because now the rattan Urban Outfitters lounge chair is one of her favorite pieces in the home. "I have never owned anything like it," she says. "I think it lends itself well to my location and what I wanted my home to feel like." Ultimately, Hewitt stayed true to what she loves but by letting her curiosity lead the way, she opened herself up to discover new things along the way. "It has been so much fun exploring new design elements that lend themselves to my surroundings," she admits.
As a result, the 700-square-foot home feels very personal—a stylish mix of Hewitt's floral fascination with that Cali-cool quiet beach town vibe. And that's exactly how she envisioned it to feel when she signed the lease sight unseen after discovering it online. "I had a really good feeling about it," she says. "This home felt like it could be mine even through a computer screen from miles away." It's also the first time Hewitt has lived alone. She continues; "I just wanted it to be a space that I absolutely love." And it is. Naturally, one of the biggest selling points for the home (apart from the abundance of natural light) was the outdoor patio space. "I’m actually in the process of growing tons of seeds that will become a cutting garden," she says. "My goal is to get somewhere close to Ms. Honey’s house from Matilda." Sounds like a dream.
One thing we loved about Hewitt's design approach is how accessible it is—most of her pieces are from affordable retailers like Target, Urban Outfitters, IKEA, World Market, West Elm, or Facebook Marketplace (which is where she found her stunning vintage coffee table). And that, she tells us, was intentional. "I always have to find that balance because while I do love high-end design, I can't live that way all the time," she explains. "I can get very crafty when it comes to satiating my design taste within my budget restraints." Hewitt doesn't believe style and design have to be expensive. "There are a lot of things in my home that I was willing to compromise on, and some things I was willing to splurge on, so it definitely was an intentional thought process," she says.
Her tip for decorating on a budget? Save everything to a Pinterest board and decide what you want to go all-in on, and what you can be flexible on, or find a copycat version of. "Because I live in a big city like L.A., I was able to find pieces from my Pinterest shopping list on resale sites," she reveals. "That helped the budget more than once!"
While quarantine had its frustrations (like delivery delays) it also had its advantages. Working from home allowed Hewitt the time to really figure out her design style and map out her interior goals, one room, and furniture piece at a time. Now that she's on the other side, this is one piece of advice she wants new designers to know. "There is so much inspiration out there and so many good ideas and so many beautiful things that it can quickly turn into analysis-paralysis," she says. "I think it becomes easier to discern where to go, how to design, and how to create when you know what you like. It’s important to take the time to figure that out." And while it might mean a longer journey, having a home you love to live in is worth it in the end.
And Hewitt urges us not to get too caught up in inspirational images, either. "Looking at inspiration can be such a good practice, but it can also make us believe that we 'should' be doing something else," she advises. "If you go on Pinterest and see all the mid-century minimalist inspiration in the world, but you know in your heart of hearts that you love maximalist design, put something in every corner." The lesson? Follow your gut and design a space you love.
Now that the house is done, doesn't mean it's finished. Hewitt admits her home is a work in progress and she's constantly changing, upgrading, and finessing. But that's all part of the fun. "Design is such a creative outlet for me," she notes. Even though she has a creative day job, finding the space just to be creative can be challenging, but interior design and working on her home has filled that gap. "It's fun for me to work on projects, but I like a clean, pared-back space, so I need to make sure I’m not overcrowding the space and keeping things very intentional," she insists.
When asked to describe the aesthetic of her home in three words Hewitt doesn't hesitate: Cozy, feminine, and bright. And we couldn't agree more. Despite taking a neutral and minimal approach throughout, Hewitt's home is brimming with warmth and personality. "My home is small, so I had to be very strategic when it came to spatial planning," she voices. "I think it’s timeless because it’s me. It features colors, textures, and art that I will always love. Maybe that’s what timeless design is—walking into a space and being able to tell that the person loves living there."
When asked for advice on creating a space that's minimal yet still warm and inviting Hewitt goes back to color. "A lot of the warmth in my own home is through color, specifically through the rugs and pillows that function as the base of that sunset color story in the Target throw pillow I was really inspired by," she says. "I think that's a really literal way to make a space warmer — through your color choices."
And the inviting part? Well, Hewitt says that's a decision you have to make. "I don’t know what my home says about me, but my hope is that anyone would feel welcome and comfortable here," she affirms. "I've always been someone who has made it a high priority to make my home feel like home. When all is back to normal, I hope this space is one that can be enjoyed and where life is well lived." Fingers crossed we're invited!