The welcoming abode has been thoughtfully layered with warm tones and vintage furniture.

| By Rachael Thompson | Home tours

Interior Designer Hema Persad's Inviting Family Home in Los Angeles

The welcoming abode has been thoughtfully layered with warm tones and vintage furniture.

Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we’re celebrating innovators, artisans, and crafters of all types, taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this installment, we tour interior designer Hema Persad's inviting family home in Burbank, Los Angeles.

For interior designer Hema Persad, the most important thing for her to do for her clients is give them a feeling of well-being, comfort, and pride in their homes. In doing so, she masterfully creates warm and luxurious spaces that reflect the owner's personal tastes. "I want to have a home that rejuvenates me, and I hope that as an interior designer I’m helping other people have that too," she shares with Bed Threads Journal.

Hema practised law for seven years before deciding she wanted to change career paths. She moved to Los Angeles and pivoted to celebrity styling which she undertook for another seven years. This line of work was affected by the pandemic and a new opportunity presented itself. “At that time one of my styling clients asked for help decorating her home and I said yes, even though I’d never done it before,” she shares.

Since then, Hema has fully embraced this area of work and has recently opened her own design practice Sagrada Studio. "Home is such an important space for me, and I am grateful I get to help others achieve their dream spaces too. I have never felt that way in any of my previous careers."

While we often see designers' work online, in social media, and in magazines, rarely do we get the chance to step inside their personal homes where they haven't had to follow a brief and have had free reign to decorate the space with their unique style.

For her own home, which she shares with her husband and three daughters, Hema has layered it with meaningful items including plenty of vintage pieces and items collected while travelling. "I wanted it to feel warm, inviting and lived-in but also like a thoughtful curation of interesting things. Kind of like what our Sagrada Studio projects look like – a modern way of showcasing culture and art."

The walls in the formal dining area have been painted a charcoal tone which makes it feel perfectly intimate for dinner parties while a pendant light with brass details adds a glamorous touch to the space. These elements continue through to the primary bedroom which exudes a cozy vibe.

They also re-did the entire backyard and converted the old garage into a fully functioning studio that boasts high ceilings, an eclectic array of ceramics, and plenty of space for Hema to get creative.

Below, take a tour of Hema's welcoming home and read about her advice for anyone set to undertake a home design project, the details within her abode, and her upcoming projects.

Shop Hema Persad's Edit.

Hi Hema! This series is called The Makers. What is it that you make?

I’m an interior designer so I do my best to make places beautiful.

How does the act of “making” relate to your personality and who you are?

I have always been the type of person who needs to have my own stuff so that I can face the world. I like my home and my life to be put together and organised and well-curated. It helps me navigate the world knowing that my home and personal things are in order (as much as possible because life is unpredictable) and I think I enjoy interior design because in designing spaces I’m giving my clients that same feeling of well-being, comfort, and pride in their homes. I want to have a home that rejuvenates me, and I hope that as an interior designer I’m helping other people have that too.

Tell us about your career journey to date. Did you always know you wanted to pursue this line of work?

Definitely not. I graduated from law school when I was 25 years old and practised law (lending, banking, and financial services) for 7 years before I decided to pursue something else. I’ve always been into fashion so I thought I’d give styling a try. I knew that to really have the career I wanted in fashion we had to be in either L.A. or New York, so I convinced my husband to move to L.A. so that I could really pursue that path.

I worked in celebrity styling for another 7 years and it was great but I also saw that it wasn’t a long-term career path for me. It’s a really difficult job for many reasons and also working in fashion really took the fun out of it for me. FYI, turning your passion into a job is not really always the best idea. I was pregnant with my third daughter when I started to think about other options but nothing was really coming to me.

Then the pandemic hit and everything kind of slowed down because no one was getting dressed to go anywhere anymore, so I even considered going back to law. At that time one of my styling clients asked for help decorating her home and I said yes, even though I’d never done it before. The rest is history – once people found out that I was decorating homes, it blew up into a full-fledged career within months, and I stopped styling altogether.

We just launched our studio this year (www.sagradastudio.com) and our projects keep getting bigger and bigger – it’s been a whirlwind but also amazing.

Talk us through your creative process. Where do you start?

With new clients, I always start by asking them how they want their space to feel when it’s complete. For me, design is about making a space feel a certain way rather than just colours or finishes. Once I understand that a bit more, then I’ll pull together reference images from all over – books, the internet, magazines, etc. that really convey the feeling my clients are going for. After that, we move into colour palettes, finishes, drawings, and renderings. It always starts with an image though – I encourage anyone who is starting a home design project to find an image that speaks to them and use that as their north star rather than trying to cobble things together without an overall plan.

What’s been the single most crucial tool or strategy you’ve used to further your career

Marketing! As a lawyer, I had no idea what that meant because I was too young and no one ever taught me how. When I was a stylist I worked with a lot of brands and their PRs so I learned about how marketing and PR are really necessary for the growth of a brand. I also worked on hundreds of photo shoots so I learned a lot about getting the right shot to showcase whatever it was we were working on. Still, I didn’t think to apply that to my career as a stylist – I was just working too hard and getting paid too little to even invest money into marketing myself, and also I was so burned out from that career I didn’t want to do it anymore. It all clicked for me when I started doing interiors – I immediately spent money on professional photos for each of my completed projects and hired a PR agency. I think that’s been the key to our rapid growth. You can be doing amazing work all day long but your iPhone photos just aren’t going to cut it if you want to show your work in the absolute best light possible.

What’s been the most challenging lesson learnt so far in your career?

Boundaries. This is by far the hardest I’ve ever worked in my life because the stakes are high and clients are demanding. I used to get calls and texts from clients all weekend long, or late at night and I’d respond because I thought I had to in order for them to value me. I have since learned that other people’s urgency is not my emergency and good design is a slow process – so I set up my client’s expectations properly from the beginning of the project. We don’t answer evening or weekend calls – there is no such thing as a design emergency.

What’s been the best thing that’s happened to you since you started your career?

I think I’m finally starting to feel like I am contributing something really valuable to my clients’ lives – I’m literally playing a part in improving their day-to-day, for them and their families. Home is such an important space for me, and I am grateful I get to help others achieve their dream spaces too. I have never felt that way in any of my previous careers.

Do you have a single piece of advice you’d give to your younger self or someone looking to pursue a similar line of work?

Interior design is nuanced, so you need to educate yourself somehow. I have had two previous careers that really prepared me for what it takes to do this – so that’s why I have had success at it without being formally trained. I’m not saying everyone needs to go to design school, but you should read and consume as much as you can about interior design – the words, the terminology, etc. There are also a lot of great online courses available. And of course – intern or get in somewhere entry-level. You learn so much on the job.

Now, the home stuff. How long have you lived in your home?

3 years! We bought it in 2019 right before the pandemic.

How did you initially know this was the space for you?

We were living in a large condo in the middle of the city with no outdoor space, which was fun for a time but also chaotic. With our third baby on the way we were looking for something with a yard, a good school district, and peace and quiet. I also wanted something with a lot of natural light. When we saw this house it was in the afternoon so the sun was streaming in through the windows – it checked all those boxes so we know.

Did you do any renovations or make any big changes after moving in?

We’ve done a ton. When we bought the house it was two bedrooms – we renovated and turned a second unnecessary living room into two additional bedrooms. We basically reconfigured the whole back of the house. We also re-did the entire backyard and converted the old garage into a fully functioning studio. Just recently we gave the kitchen a facelift and finally redecorated the living room. We added a wall to enclose the dining room so it’s a more defined space and added skylights to get some natural light in there. I am constantly doing stuff to this house – it’s my pet project.

Which is your favourite room in the house?

Probably the studio – it’s always quiet in here and I love the high ceilings.

What are your top tips for a well-styled bedroom, and home generally?

Bedrooms need to be free of clutter and everything should have a place! Even if things get untidy, you can always restore order if everything has a specific place to go.

Do you have any projects coming up you want to talk about?

We are working on a complete re-design of a Med Spa in Venice so I’m really excited about that. We also have some fun residentials we are working on, and I have a few brand partnerships in the works with brands I really love and use all the time. It’s a lot but it’s all really exciting.

For more from Hema follow her at @hemaapersad

Photography by Laura Flippen. Styling by Danielle Armstrong.

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