As Simple as Black and White

Designer Breegan Jane taps her own Central Valley roots to create an airy new home for a Bakersfield family.

Images: Ryan Garvin

My design clients and television work don’t usually overlap, but I met these homeowners through Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” says L.A.-based interior designer Breegan Jane, one of HGTV’s most popular hosts. Her clients, longtime Kern County residents, run a healthcare business while juggling parenthood, and longed for a house that felt permanent.

“This couple has worked hard to make it, and this is their forever home,” Jane says. What she gave them are contemporary spaces with the spirit of a boutique hotel. “One of our signatures is approachable luxury,” explains Jane. “I’m often asked to do interiors with a traditional feel, but this couple wanted a twist, something young, fresh, and fun.”

But the project required the designer to frequently commute from her home in Los Angeles to Bakersfield, a drive that can run well over two hours each way. Far from complaining about the treks, the designer says she didn’t mind one bit. “My grandmother lived there, and I loved visiting her,” she recalls, wistfully remembering the property’s abundant apricot trees. “There’s such a sense of family and history in the Central Valley,” she says.“You get quieter communities and so much more space.”

Embracing the home’s generous proportions, Jane established a feeling of grandeur in the foyer, which boasts marble floors and crisp moldings, by employing one of her signature elements, the center table. (Expect to see one in the new Venice Beach home she’s currently designing for her own family.) “We’re emulating hotel design with a table and bouquet that say, ‘Come in!’” To “push the boundaries a little bit,” she added a bold strike of color with a red rug that reenforces the round shape of the table (an Etsy find) and the twin drum chandeliers that hang above it. A bust of the goddess Diana adds a classical, but playful note. “It’s a bold hello, but a welcoming hello,” says the designer.

To carry the resort-like feel into the entertaining spaces, Jane opted for white walls and a palette of black, cream, and gold, with only occasional moments of color, like the living room’s navy-blue sofas. “You want to come home and be able to decompress, and I find a clean color palette is the best way to get a serene feeling,” she says. The focused use of color and patterned textiles also draws guests further into the room. “That’s the power of striking accents. It doesn’t matter if your space is filled with bright colors or muted tones, incorporating beautiful additions like pillows or stunning hardware elevates the design and keeps it interesting.”

The living room is also home to the family’s grand piano. “They can be difficult to design around, but I always appreciate clients who have them,” she says. “It’s so nice when friends are over and someone sits down to play.”

The adjoining dining room was designed to be equally welcoming and alluring. “It took months to gather all of those gold frames,” Jane says, gesturing to the fireplace wall’s display of 17 unique mirrors. “They have an antique quality, but look fresh against the black paint,” she says. “With neutrals, my eye is always drawn to sparkle, and if you want to create visual movement in your space, adding metallic elements will almost always do the trick!”

To juxtapose the historic look of the paneling, Jane chose sleek barrel-back chairs and a glass-topped table, as well as a photorealistic figural work by Brussels-based artist Dan Laurentiu Arcus. In fact, helping the homeowners find artworks for the house was one of Jane’s favorite tasks. One of her go-to resources was the Los Angeles Public Library’s digital collection, which allowed her to search for subjects related to the project (in this case, vintage agricultural photos that she ordered, printed, and custom framed). But she also found many works on Chairish, including pieces by West Coast artists Kristina Rose Baker, David Orrin Smith, and Susannah Carson.

In keeping with the boutique hotel feel, Jane divided the large primary bedroom into two spaces, anchoring one side with a black velvet-upholstered bed and a figural painting by Yuri Pysar, and the other with white couches that flank the fireplace and television. “The lounge area creates a space to collect yourself; a place to sit comfortably other than the bed,” she says. She created a lounge area for someplace to sit comfortably other than the bed. Adjoining the room are the couple’s bathroom, walk-in closet, and a dressing area with a glamorous Art Deco-style built-in vanity. It’s an amenity that Jane, who returns to the small screen this spring with HGTV’s Dream Home, understands, adding simply, “I wanted the wife to feel like a superstar.”

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