Designer Spotlight: Hanin Smith of Beachy Bohème
Welcome to the first of our ongoing Designer Spotlight Series! I love meeting and working with designers and art consultants to help incorporate the perfect piece of art for their design project and am excited to help share their stories and advice with you!
Beachy Boheme is an Encinitas-based home décor and design boutique offering interior design services and an eclectic mix of new, handmade, vintage and unique home furnishings and accessories with a relaxed bohemian vibe. Designer and curator, Hanin Smith is passionate about helping create spaces that foster love and positive energy.
Tell us a little bit about you and why you love designing interiors!
My love for designing interiors started when I was young. When my family immigrated from Jordan, I was 8 years old and struggled to feel like I belonged in southern California. With home as my refuge, I turned to decorating to carve out my own space. I would always rearrange my own room as a kid, borrowing my mother’s Palestinian embroidered textiles and combining them with tie-dyed fabrics to create a space that felt like me… part Arab part American. Eventually I’d decorate larger spaces in our house (usually right before my parents were hosting a big party!), but I never pursued this as a career.
My Middle Eastern parents preferred I pursue more traditional education and reserve arts/creativity/design as a hobby. So, I have spent most of my adult life hopping around different jobs in TV, journalism, marketing, PR, technology and HR wondering why nothing ever clicked. It wasn’t until I got laid off while I was 6 months pregnant with my son Reid (now 2) that it all started to make sense. Armed with a small severance and lots of free time (aka unemployment), I got to fulfill my need to nest by decorating the crap out of my own house… and found my calling! Of course, I had major self-doubt since I don’t have a design degree, so I tip-toed into the design world by opening an online store selling home goods (pillows, planters, small furnishings, etc.).
Through staging my home goods on social media, people started asking for design services and I took my first paying client. It dawned on me then, that cultivating a true sense of home isn’t a feeling unique to immigrants, but rather one that is shared by all. I use this realization to help design my clients’ homes in a personal way that reflects who they are, rather than what they see on social media alone. To me, home is a feeling of true belonging, a safe place where you can “turn off” and be you.
Where do you find inspiration?
Usually my inspiration comes from my clients’ lives… where they are from, what they love to do, etc. and I try to find a way to infuse their home with elements that draw on their own histories. Etsy is a mecca of solutions, and social media has introduced me to makers and artists who have amazing unique pieces. That’s how I came to learn about Lauren's artwork through Instagram.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
I’m so early in my career that I have yet to hone a specific design aesthetic of my own, but I am influenced by the SoCal lifestyle. Being close to the beach, with young kids and almost year-round sunshine, I gravitate towards bright and airy spaces with an eclectic mix of textures and patterns.
What recent design trends are you most excited about?
As much as I tend to love variety and eclectic decor, I also love the minimalist Shaker trend. I think it’s so cozy and am drawn to places that feel nostalgic (who isn’t)! It reminds me of the Little House on the Prairie but IRL.
What’s your favorite room in the house?
Normally I would’ve said the family room, but right now we’re in the middle of a major renovation, and I’m realizing I prefer the master bedroom. Because I have little kids, the master bedroom is less of a “romantic” space and more of a family space… the kids barge in and we have some of my favorite family moments wrestling or reading on the bed, uninterrupted by a TV, so we share a lot of quality time there. That’s my favorite space for now, and since it’s highly personal and non-formulaic on the design side, it’s fun to decorate.
What is your best advice for someone who is redecorating a room?
I wish I could take my own advice, but it would be this: turn to social media for initial inspiration and then turn it off! It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by new trends and second-guessing yourself, but really is the best advice to shut off the other design voices, and listen to what makes you happy, what feelings you want to have when you walk in to a space. Start there, and try to ignore the noise. Second piece of advice is to pay attention to scale… no matter how pretty your furnishings are, if they are out of proportion to the space, it will always feel a little awkward. In this case, it can’t hurt to hire a designer to help guide you (shameless plug).
What rules do you live by when it comes to including art in your designs and spaces?
Art is highly subjective and personal, so I listen to what emotions my clients want to evoke in a space, and use that to inform the decisions I make about art. Art is also an investment, and a good one. I prefer one large statement piece to a dozen pieces, but there’s a place for both.
Tell us about a past project that you used Lauren’s art in?
One of my best friends asked me to decorate a guest room and gave me carte blanche to do whatever I wanted (with very few requirements). The room has 10 foot ceilings, so it can feel cold or hollow and I knew we needed to drench the space with textures to absorb the sound and give it warmth. I was so excited to use Lauren William’s artwork… not only for the visual effect, but for the texture. When the piece arrived, it looked even better in person because the weight of the wool and the quality of the wood can only really be appreciated in person. It’s still one of my favorite spaces that I’ve designed, and get lots of compliments on the art in that room, especially that piece.
How does Lauren’s Canvas with Movement fit into your design aesthetic?
The warmth of Lauren William’s canvas with movement art is what draws me to it, along with its refined simplicity, and quality materials. It’s a rich piece of art that elevates a space and really adds warmth to the overall vibe of the room. I hope to get to use more of it in future projects!
Thank you so much, Hanin for sharing what inspires you and how you have found yourself through design! I loved learning more about you! xo, Lauren
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