West Coast Designer Shares Stylish Secrets

West Coast Designer Anissa Swanzy, owner of of SKD Studios based in Newport Beach, CA, designs award winning spaces all across the country. She caught our eye with a beautiful backyard install she recently completed using a mix of Summer Classics collections so we welcomed the chance to hear a little more about her insights.

Q: Tell us a little bit about how you got started in the design business.
AS: I have always been drawn to interior design. I began doing kitchen and bath design for another company and realized how much I loved to completely change a kitchen space. It was shortly after that, that I combined my new love for kitchen design with my passion for interior design and opened up my first studio––SKD Studios.

Charleston Spring Lounge and Club Woven mix together for an elegant seating area.

Q: When it comes to creating your designs, where do you draw your inspiration?
AS: I believe that inspiration can come from anything. I love being by the beach, so a lot of my design inspiration comes from the colors of the coast as well as the relaxed feel of living by the ocean.

Q: And where is this particular project located, and how did it begin?
AS: The project is located in Huntington Beach, California. It began with a consultation where the client expressed their desire to utilize their new space. They wanted it to have a napa feel, but they love coastal inspirations. We tried to marry the two styles and came up with a color scheme that felt coastal, but used a lot of wood elements and iron to incorporate the Napa farmhouse feel.

Q: What were your objectives in creating these beautiful outdoor rooms? ​
AS: We wanted to bring the inside out. We incorporated materials that you would see inside a fabulous living room and brought them outside. We also wanted to create separate areas. We have a space by the fire for chilly nights, a dining area and, of course, the outdoor living room.

Q: The colors are just amazing, how did you mix your palette so perfectly?
AS: The client wanted a pop of color and she was very drawn to turquoise. We tried to add the pop but keep the rest very neutral, which is a trick that we use on our interiors as well. We incorporated lots of different textures to keep the neutrals from becoming boring or flat.

Q: The different furniture collections you selected mix so well together, how did you determine the style of furniture that you used?
AS: We wanted the wicker as we felt it had that Napa feel we were going for, but we loved the aluminum furniture for its clean lines and the wood feel. We also mixed the aluminum colors using both the oyster and the slate grey.

Q: How would you say that outdoor designs differ in California from the rest of the country?
AS: California really only has one season. We wanted to create a space that could be enjoyed year round. We wanted it to feel cozy for the “chilly” California nights (yes, it does get chilly here…58 degrees and a little wind 😉 Californians have really embraced the outdoor living and in most of our clients homes we are trying to bring the indoors out.

Q: When it comes to designing around pools, such as this one, are there certain design elements that you like to incorporate?
AS: We knew we needed seating, but we wanted to create lots of different areas. Fabric needs to be able to be wet and still look great so we wanted to be sure that oils and dirt would be easy to wipe clean. The pool is the main focus of any yard, but we created different spaces so that everywhere you are in the backyard you can still enjoy the pool.

Q: Are there any “secrets”  that you like to incorporate in your outdoor rooms?
AS: We like to use products in covered areas that you would normally only see indoors. Using indoor products outside can really help bring the indoors out. Outdoor fabric is a must. We don’t skimp on the big ticket items, but we will splurge on some details that help make the outdoor space feel as inviting as the indoors. We think the rugs and pillows and decorative touches complete the overall look.