It’s been six years since we took a deep dive into OG’s “Effortless California Casual” style trend. 2017 was all the rage! Who wouldn’t want to dive into the bohemian world of cool neutral tones? Every photo seemed to have a bit of sand on the ground, probably because the beach was literally or hypothetically only a few steps away. Carefully placed driftwood on coffee tables and shelves was also warranted. But now, Umikaze has settled somewhat on that version, and its chic and sophisticated friends have joined the chat…and they rule.
I’m not saying the old style is “out”. Because the old style is still undeniably beautiful…but like all styles, it’s a lot of fun to watch it evolve. So what changed? ? Well, the same elements of neutral tones, lots of wood, and a hit of black still sound true. But now there is less bohemian style and more classic style. Replace driftwood with refined wood and cloud-like chairs with structural sofas. Mainly there’s an overall visual warmth that wasn’t so noticeable on the bright white walls before. Okay, this is starting to sound like I’m trying to write Irish poetry so I’ll stop, baby, because we’re talking about a West Coast/Mediterranean inspired style. Let’s start with a very important and distinguishing element…
lime wash wall
Now you can’t throw a stone at least without throwing a stone at a house with lime paint on it. I understand why. beautiful! I’m also considering it for a small room in an apartment. However, this style does not go with just any color, it should be a bright neutral. The goal is to have walls that look “natural” and to give the space an effortless movement.
Imagine if these walls were covered with regular flat paint. They’ll still be beautiful, but hmm, they won’t feel ‘organic’, will they?? No wonder the world can’t get enough of things. But in terms of this style/trend, I think it’s a big difference. Bright white walls dominated in 2017, while soft tans and beiges dominate in 2023.
This style may feel a little Japandi leaning, but that’s not the case. I think it has a lot to do with it. But for me, it’s a little more multi-layered and cozy. But if you love Japandi, I have a feeling you’ll love this style. It’s just a hunch 🙂
When I was looking at some old photos from 2017, I was struck by how imperfect, of course, the very cool wood look was. However, I have noticed that generally wood is used as an accent rather than the present, which it tends to claim. The color white was so important to the style that even the cabinets were painted white rather than keeping it natural. Today, however, beautiful and refined wood is a major factor in getting this style right – in cabinets, shelves, wall decorations and furniture.
Wood tends to lack tones of detail. The front of the cabinet is mostly flat and smooth. It has to be simple yet visually bold (like the ridiculously beautiful pillar in the bathroom above).
Detail of slate and grooved wood
Ok, sophisticated doesn’t mean boring. This style has wood slatted panels (and grooving, which we’ll get to in a moment) throughout. I mean, look how impactful yet calming it is. Of course, you should definitely use a matte finish, and it’s always wise to have a light or medium warmth. I really love that entrance corner (?) in the photo on the left. The wood tone, panel width, and microknobs (more on that later) are all perfect. Rob Diaz I am familiar with this style.
The flamboyant cousin of wood slat panels, fluting, also works well in this style. a thousand times better I decided to double down on this detail on both the walls and the vanity to create an undeniably uncomfortable bathroom. All these neutral tones, natural elements and perfectly placed, of course. aesop soap bottle The use of slightly different materials makes this space, which could easily be hyper-modern, truly ‘California casual sophistication’. Also, just kidding about the soap…but no bathroom might be complete without it 😉
Well, who designed that stunning hallway shot? Stewart Shafer, reclaimed beams and mixed fluted build-ins, and a perfect wood-framed doorway will make you want to rethink the entire home. I would like to point out that this beautiful home is not really a “sophisticated California casual” style home. They play with colors and patterns and have a much more European influence overall. I had no choice but to use this photo 🙂
Oh yeah, cool girl stone! Oh, didn’t you know that the “cool girl” aesthetic includes a travertine coffee table?? But even if you don’t call yourself a “cool girl” (I definitely don’t), I promise this stone is still yours. It’s warm, looks like it came straight out of the earth’s core, and costs about half the price of marble. Win or win if you ask me.
It’s not just that travertine should be used for slabs of permanent elements. Look at the tiles above and the beautiful texture they add to the space. Organic and natural, small but special moments.
But perhaps you’re more interested in the coffee table version that incorporates travertine. We can all be cool girls 🙂 Now this beautiful coffee table House of Leon is a beautiful option. It’s not cheap, but given its specialness and raw edge, it’s a timeless piece (perhaps the kids will be a little older and not enough to end up in the hospital if they run into it 🙂 )
marble in motion
Just because marble is more expensive than travertine doesn’t mean it’s less important for this style if you’re on a budget. That white statement marble is another element that keeps this new version of California casual away from the bohemian look. It definitely gives it a more “sophisticated/upscale” feel.
This bathroom Sarah Sherman Samuel Nothing if not a show stopper. Elegant marble, natural matte bathroom vanities, terracotta tiles, stop!
I love how the marble in this bathroom makes a statement, yet is a little quieter. This bathroom also features gorgeous limewash walls, simple flat front cabinets, microknobs and aged metal 🙂 Guess what we’re going to talk about next?
Guess the furniture? I thought so:)
New-style furniture is still light and textured, but less “cool but crumbling” neutral vintage furniture and cloudy chairs. It’s thicker and more structured now, which I honestly prefer. I’ve only heard complaints that cloud sofas tend to lose their shape and look dirty quickly.
Do you see what I mean?! More structure and dare I say more sophistication 🙂
This does not rule out that they have a fun personality.There are pros and cons to the comfort of the Instagram-famous sofa, but I love it. Crate and Barrel Media Cabinet! Inspired by vintage and designed with Athena Calderone. Amagansett Home is also a perfect example of this style.
Also notice the depth of the dark and warm neutrals. This makes you fall in love with this style even more than the previous version. do you agree? ?
OOO Okay, let’s talk about microknobs. As you look back at these photos, you’ll notice that there are only a handful of them, as nothing could be described as ‘sophisticated’ like a small ball knob, the perfect visual accent while featuring the wood on the Amilight cabinet front. It adds a lot of fun. i adore them. Small details that make a big impact.
Another decorative element you may have noticed is the use of aged brass and bronze fixtures for both plumbing and lighting. Using these materials instantly adds soul, and for the lights, using vintage French mid-century modern pieces is an extra point 🙂
And the last one is definitely more Japanese, but the simple yet perfect wood in the frame creates the most beautiful “lasting” detail. It adds dimension and warmth, so if you want to achieve this style at home, please consider it 🙂
That’s all for me! The style has other definite stalwart designers. Amber Lewis (of course) and Jake Arnold These are the people who really contributed to popularizing this style. Even if I want a little more color in my home, I’m a huge fan. why? Because this “rebrand” of California casual is undeniably beautiful, and a sense of peace is almost washed away when you see an example of it. The style may change again in another six years, but it will remain as timeless as the original. No question. idea?
I love you, it’s true.