Throughout the years, we’ve featured dozens of homes that transport us to a calm state of mind — scrolling through the tours are the next best thing to coming on in and kicking off our shoes to stay awhile. So, when we saw LA-based designer and blogger Molly Madfis’s cozy and serene home on her Instagram feed, we had to see more.
The specific combo of an all-neutral color palette with a heavy side of cozy textiles always leaves us swooning. One peek inside Molly’s home, and you’ll see exactly what we’re talking about.
Although it all feels like natural perfection, Molly is the first to admit that “perfection” is by no means a standard she strives for. After starting her blog, Almost Makes Perfect, as a creative outlet from her TV editing job at the time, Molly has learned to embrace the messes and see imperfections as part of the beauty.
“I named my blog Almost Makes Perfect because I could never do anything perfectly. EVER. It has always been frustrating, but I’ve learned to accept it, and learned that it’s part of the process. I’m too impatient to prime or let the paint dry all the way when I’m making furniture. I TRY to be super good at crafting, cooking, and decorating, but I mess up. You’ll see. I’m clear proof that if you get your 10,000 hours in trying to do something, you will get better,” she says.
Another thing she’s clear proof of? Mastering the coastal, casual California look –clean, a little bohemian, minimal, and a lot of neutrals.
“I basically want to live in a mix between Ace Hotel and a Nancy Meyers movie, she says.”
Scroll on for a closer look at Molly’s perfectly *imperfect* California home.
Tell us the story behind Almost Makes Perfect.
When I started the blog, it was just to have a creative outlet because I was working on editing a TV show and was not feeling super creatively fulfilled. I have always been into making things, but I decided to make it a professional hobby. I started doing weekly DIY projects and the more I got into it, the better I got at it. I’ve since slowed down on the DIYs since I’m now at a point in my life where I would honestly rather just buy something than make it, and I think my readers have gotten there, too. Now the blog is about design in general and life as a mom, but I think that Almost Makes Perfect rings true in everyday life.
Describe your special home. How did you end up here?
We actually wanted to stay in a hipper neighborhood than we ended up in — but we had to move to the valley for more space, and it felt safer and quieter for a baby. At first we couldn’t sleep it was so quiet! We looked for a house with a decent sized outdoor space, high ceilings, and two bathrooms. When we got the house we had been house hunting for what felt like eternity, so I was just so happy to find a place to ticked all our boxes, but it took a lot of work to make it pretty!
What’s your favorite spot in the house?
While I love our giant lounge sofa, I have to say I spend the most chill time in bed. I know a lot of people are anti-tv in the bedroom, but I couldn’t live without it. We do some of our best tv watching in bed!! I can’t imagine a more comfortable way to binge watch TV than completely horizontal and bundled up under a duvet.
You have such a talent for creating spaces that feel open and inviting. What are your tips for keeping the design of a space simple?
Always white paint. I can’t even really see a room until it’s been painted white! Our whole house was painted Behr Ultra Pure White before we moved in. Obviously I am very into keeping a pretty refined color palette— I think beige on beige on beige always looks good, and I find myself getting sick of things sooner if they’re too “different” or trendy. Light colors in general just make a space feel lighter and more open.
What are your favorite design resources?
Hedgehouse furniture makes the most amazing furniture that transforms a room. I love Urban Outfitters’s home stuff, and I also have a problem with H&M. It has such cute décor items, I can almost never resist, and I always find myself checking their new arrivals. I have seriously scored some of my favorite accessories from H&M. I also love Schoolhouse Electric for accessories, I want everything from Danish Design Store, and Cedar and Moss is my favorite for lighting.
What was your design inspiration for your home?
I’m really inspired by California in general. There are so many motifs that feel California-y that I gravitate towards. Desert, mcm, beachy— I personally don’t like sticking to one design theme because it can feel too stagey or stuffy or something, so instead I like the idea of taking everything you like, and making it all work together. I would be so into our next house being Spanish style.
Did you have any design challenges when working on this space?
While the house seems really bright and airy, we actually don’t have the best natural light. The front yard has a giant jacaranda tree that blocks most of the light coming in. We’ve wanted to add some sky lights but never have gotten around to it — the back of the house is much brighter but in the bathroom we recently renovated, we decided to add sun tunnels and it made the biggest difference. Now the room is the brightest in the house!
For many, filling a space with only neutrals can feel cold or uninspired. What are your tips for designing mostly neutral interiors?
I always try to bring in lots texture, thats what makes light colors look more inviting. This can be achieved with rugs, linen, plants and even things like pampas grass like what I have in my house.
Fill in the blank: “A well-designed home should _______.”
Look good but also feel good!
Do you have any tips for keeping your place clutter-free? Especially with kids? You seem to always do such a great job!
I actually feel like this is the thing I struggle with the most! Toys feel like they’re always coming in and it gets so overwhelming. I plan to do a big purge every couple months of stuff he isn’t playing with, but thats more of a thing I talk about doing than actually doing. Now that he’s getting older and his toys are getting larger, its getting much more challenging and something that needs to be addressed immediately. You cant see it here, but his closet is stuffed full of toys!
I think the key is having a system that’s organized. As a baby, large baskets worked just fine, but now that he’s older, I’m hoping to find a cabinet/bin solution soon. The other biggest key is getting your kid to help you clean up. I typically make sure we clean up everything we’ve played with before leaving the room and he’s surprisingly really good at putting the cars back in the car basket and the blocks back in the block basket. But he is my kid after all, Ha!
Do you have a favorite way to relax in your home?
I love to cook and bake with my toddler. He is so into it and as soon as he sees me head over to the kitchen, he runs for his stool. It’s such a nice way for us to connect and make something together, and for me its also a great way to be off my phone— which is what I try to do all weekend to relax, but never really do it enough.
Who are your dream house guests?
Diane Keaton because, duh, and Iain Sterling (the narrator of Love Island UK) because he is soooo hilarious and I could get so much gossip!!
Describe your home in 5 words or less:
Cozy, bright, relaxed.
Name your 5 favorite spots in LA.
Katsu-Ya Studio City. This is definitely the restaurant we frequent the most! We love the intimate (sort of cramped even) vibe and how neighborhoody it feels. The crispy rice spicy tuna is always on point but we’re also obsessed with the baked crab hand rolls, Japanese snapper sushi with yuzu, and the Albacore sashimi with crispy onion.
Manhattan Beach. One of our favorite beaches because you can walk around the shops and restaurants after you hit the beach. The beach itself is so clean and nice, and the key lime pie at Fishing with Dynamite is a perfect post-beach treat. (we also like Zuma and El Matador beaches!)
Cliffs Edge. One of the most romantic vibes in all of LA. This little backyard restaurant is tucked away with a giant string lit tree in the center and cozy cushion seating. The menu (and chefs) have changed throughout the years, but the atmosphere is always my favorite. (PS two other date spots I love are Son of a Gun and Angelini Osteria.)
Larchmont Wine and Cheese. My favorite sandwich in the city! Tucked inside a little wine shop, the two sisters make the best Sopressata on baguette ever! (the Turkey is a close second.)
Little Tokyo. LA is so special because it’s a melting pot. Little Tokyo is such a fun place to walk around and experience a little slice of Japan. I am obsessed with the little shops full of stationary products, obviously the food, and if you can find a photo booth those are always worth it!