Ideas + Advice

modern style
Behind the Design

Jeremiah Brent: Traveling in Style

Jeremiah Brent talks to us about NY vs. LA style, his top travel destinations and sourcing inspiration from travels. Read his posts below – and enjoy!

On LA Vs. NY Style

As many people know, I started my design firm in LA and quickly expanded to NYC when I began living bicoastally. I love having clients and offices on both sides of the country — it affords me the excuse to travel, to visit friends and family, and to work on very, very different projects.

Sure, there are plenty of similarities between the interior style of the two cities. Being major metropolitan areas, the bar is generally set pretty high when it comes to the level of taste and quality. In both cities, clients will generally spend a little more if they know they’re getting something of better value. And both cities tend to be on the edge of various trends in the design world — however more often than not, they’re interested in different design trends.

round marble table

The Los Angeles design style tends to be a bit more casual, lighter, brighter and more laidback. There is a very comfortable, easy feel to the typical “California Modern” style that many of my SoCal clients tend towards. White-washed woods, thick textured white and beige materials, pops of ocean-inspired colors, smooth pale stones and marbles: All of these design elements combine to create an easygoing, pseudo-bohemian, still sophisticated style. Los Angeles is my haven when it comes to my own love of neutrals.

In NYC, clients want a style that’s more edgy, more moody and more dramatic. I find that this clientele is drawn to colors and finishes that stand in stark contrast to each other: black and white tile mixes, cold steel paired with warm wood, darker paint colors to inspire some serious ambiance. There’s something about living in a city like New York that gives people a casual attitude when it comes to edgy design and the striking juxtaposition of certain tones, materials and textures. New York style feeds into my total obsession with moody color palettes and metallic accents.

Additionally, I find that there’s a difference between the personalities of my clients in Los Angeles and NYC.

Manhattan is a city of “get what you want, right when you want it” — New Yorkers rely on grocery delivery and laundry services, along with a wealth of other on-demand apps (including coffee to your door in a manner of minutes — swoon!) that help them free up a little bit of time in their busy schedules. Every person in New York is rushing off to something, somewhere, and there’s rarely any “time to kill.”

My NYC clients come at design projects in a very similar way, and there’s very little wiggle-room when it comes to schedules and lead-times. I often have to make it work when faced with a construction hold up or a furniture shipping delay — and somehow we always manage to find a way, thanks to the help of my amazing team.

edgy New York style
colorful living with red accent chairs

In Los Angeles, I’ve come to realize that there’s a bit of truth to that stereotypical surfer attitude that everyone presumes of people on the left coast . . . but only to a certain extent. Los Angeles is also a big city, full of people relying on a schedule, but people are willing to accept that some things take more time than others. Why else would so many people put up with killer commutes on Los Angeles freeways each day?

Some things are just understood as the way they are — and those time delays and backlogs are accepted, though never enjoyed. While Angeleno clients certainly want to make sure they’re getting what they want in a timely manner, they’re also a little more open to the standard (and sometimes extended) wait times and delays.

While both cities have pros and cons when it comes to their visual aesthetics and the way they respond to the minutiae of design work, I can honestly say that neither one is better than the other. I love being able to work on both coasts, to experience both sides of the design style spectrum, to stretch my legs hustling Manhattan, and then to cruise around Hollywood with the windows down on a sourcing day.

There’s something incredibly special about both cities, and I’ve been lucky enough to have had nothing but incredible clients from coast to coast. Working and living in Los Angeles and New York has given me a particular depth and breadth to my own personal style over the years — I wouldn’t trade this crazy, bicoastal design life for anything.

On Jeremiah's Top Travel Destinations

Travel . . . perhaps one of my greatest true loves apart from my family and design. No matter the destination, travel is a truly eye-opening and incredibly humbling experience. It allows us to feel a  deeper connection to humanity and pushes us to explore new senses and experiences, all the while providing a sense of wholeness and grounding as a being on this planet.

I have been lucky enough in this life to get so many incredible opportunities to travel and to see the world. From my journeys to the other side of the world, to the road trips in my own country, I have learned one major lesson: Never underestimate the impact that stepping out of your comfort zone and opening up your horizons will have on you.

Since I was a child, summer has always felt like a time to travel, to explore, and to take risks on crazy adventures. So as this warm, gorgeous season comes to an end, I want to share with you some of the amazing places, both international and domestic, that have left beautiful marks on my heart.

First, here are my favorite international locales (keep reading below)!

Jeremiah Brent travel destinations ornate

MEXICO

I feel as though Mexico has gone through a renaissance in the last decade. It went from a secretive travel destination that only a select few “in-the-know” (and the usual college kids heading to Cancun) took advantage of, to a bona fide, top-tier hotspot.

Mexico is so much more than the spring break destination now, but it still has some incredibly low-key, underrated spots that are truly magical.

Places like Tulum are home to resorts and hotels that have incredibly limited space, so you feel as though you’re on a secluded beach at all times, even if the town is at full capacity. With incredible aesthetics that stay true to the materials and culture of Mexico, you’ll be inspired everywhere you go.

LAOS

Of all of the continents that I’ve had the chance to visit, Asia is home to some of my favorite places. I’m not sure I could ever narrow it down and pick a single favorite, but Laos is surely at the top of the list.

The landscape is breathtaking. From the temples and palaces, to the waterfalls and forests, every inch of  Laos is indicative of the people and their amazing culture. These people are kind, warm, welcoming, and rooted so deeply in their traditions. Every interaction I had, I felt as though I was being shown a special bit of their history, and I was honored to get every glimpse.

PERU

In general, my experience of South America has been one of wonderment and magic, and Peru is a huge part of that. The ancient culture, religion, beliefs, and traditions bleed through their modern lifestyle, even to this day.

There is a sense, everywhere you go in Peru, that the history of the people and the incredibly advanced culture of their past has formed who they are as a society in the current world.

The vibrancy of the people matches the bold colors and striking visuals everywhere you go, from ancient Inca ruins like Machu Picchu, to small local markets featuring incredibly unique wares, Peru is striking in every sense.

And now, for my favorite places here at home in America:

BIG SUR, CA

I’d be remiss to ignore the beauty of my home state, California, and Big Sur really embodies the spirit and aesthetic of California. From the clifftop ocean views to the winding roads, there is a sense of peacefulness and calm that you get from the laidback people and landscape in this gorgeous coastal town.

There’s something about the way the mist rolls over the cliffs in the morning that can only be described as spiritual. It’s a place where, even if you’ve lost all inspiration, you will leave refreshed and revived, renewed with creativity.

GLEN ARBOR, MI

Over the last decade or so, I’ve been lucky enough to spend time every year in this incredible place thanks to my best friend and her wonderful family. Glen Arbor is, by every stretch of the imagination, the embodiment of old Americana.

From rustic signs toting fresh baked goods to quaint lakeside houses, Glen Arbor seems like a place that has managed to keep its old-school charm, while still transitioning smoothly into the current times.

Times seem simpler here, and it’s such a wonderful place to shed the stresses of the modern world and go back to the basics – BBQs with loved ones, water sports on the lake, homemade food in classic cafes, and some of the most kind and welcoming people I’ve ever met.

Jeremiah Brent traveling with Nate Berkus

Every time I arrive back home from a trip, I make every effort to incorporate something that I’ve learned into my life, whether that’s through daily practice or through my work.

So many of my designs are heavily inspired by my travels, the people I’ve met along the way, and the culture that I’ve been lucky enough to experience in each place. I hope my stories will encourage you all to hit the road, or head to the skies and get inspired by something new!

On Designing By Destination

With kids out of school, lazy summer vibes in the air, and the absolute best weather, summer is a time for travel, adventures and getting things done. This time of the year always seems like a perfect time to tackle those projects that you’ve been holding off on.

Maybe the warmer weather and longer days afford you the opportunity to tackle that renovation or home expansion, or maybe you want to start a new hobby like gardening and re-do your landscaping. Or perhaps you belong to a family who wants to hit the road, leaving home behind and seeking new adventures beyond the horizon.

No matter which style is yours, I encourage you to combine them this year. Travel is a source of incredible inspiration for me, and I want to share some of the ways that I love to incorporate my experiences abroad and at home into my interior design. 

Perhaps you fell in love with the flora of your vacation destination, or maybe you spent your whole trip staring up at the architecture. When you get home, instead of lamenting the loss of those daily visual pleasures, find a way to bring them into your space. Find some plants that remind you of the greenery that you loved, whether it’s a tropical flower, or a potted tree that is reminiscent of the one you spent your break lounging under. Or, if you’re missing the lines of the buildings that you’d explored, find fabric prints that showcase the same lines and details, and look for new pillows; it’s always a good time to refresh your sofa or bed!

fireplace with various sculptural objects

Mimic the Materials
If you fell in love with all of the teak in Bali, or the sunbleached stone and concrete in Mexico, find a way to bring those textures and materials into your home. Accent tables or sculptural objects are wonderful ways to do this that won’t break the bank, but will make a big visual impact. If you can buy textiles and fabrics when you’re on your travels, even better! Those can become throw blankets, pillows, curtains, or maybe even fresh upholstery for a chair.

Feature Faces and Places
If you have an eye for photography (and even if you think that you don’t!), take a few opportunities every day on your trip to record some of your favorite places and moments. We spend a lot of time behind screens, so I encourage you to pick up an old-school point-and-shoot camera and limit yourself to 5-10 pictures a day. You’ll curate what you decide to take photos of, and you will have a healthy mix  of lasting memories, both experiential and photographic. Once you’re home, pick a few favorites and have them printed and professionally framed. Your new art is not only incredibly personal, but will be a constant reminder of your adventures.

However you decide to translate your travels into your daily life at home, remember that our experiences not only affect who we are as people, but how we present ourselves. Honoring the traditions, cultures, and places that you’ve been lucky enough to experience can take many forms, and bringing those memories into your home cements them as part of what makes you you. So enjoy your travels, get inspired and refresh your homes this summer in the spirit of humanity.

Featured Products

— More Great Articles —

Related Categories

Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.