At Home With: designer TyLynn Nguyen in Calabasas

woman sat legs crossed on sofa

The creative entrepreneur and designer of eponymous lingerie and sleepwear line shows us her Californian family home

By Jess Kelham-Hohler   Sunday 18 August, 2019

As an artist and designer, TyLynn Nguyen has an undoubtedly good eye. Three years ago, when she moved with her husband and three young kids to a bright new home in Calabasas, she had a fresh canvas on which to test it. 'This is a good family neighbourhood,' Nguyen says. 'I feel like I’ve really found a space where I have a community of a few women who I know I could call on to help me. It feels like I belong here.'

Here, Nguyen explains how her identities as a multi-racial designer, mother, artist and more have informed her approach to creating her family home.
a glass table surrounded by books and a painting of an oyster
a double bed with white sheets and bedside cabinet
Did you have an idea of what you wanted the home to look like when you started?
'I think your home can either invigorate you or drain you. I have so much going on, so I want a clean, fresh mental space. I wanted the interiors to be neutral, very minimal and a little based upon emotion.'

Where does your design taste come from?
'I’m multi-racial and I think a lot of my design inspiration comes from what I experienced growing up. My dad, who’s Sudanese and Cherokee Indian, is very regal, that’s just his nature — his wardrobe is very presidential and that’s always inspired me. My mom is Dutch, German, Swiss and Ukrainian, so there is so much elegance and refinement that’s in her bloodstream. I think my home is a blend of all the things that encompass being this multi-racial woman.'

Have you had to adapt your design taste to make it a family home?
'While we find pieces that are going to be safe for the kids to be on or even bump into, I haven’t adjusted my taste or my aesthetic for them. I want them to see that just because you have children doesn’t mean you have to change who you are. I definitely put boundaries on the spaces that they can be in and the times they can be there. For example, our bedroom is completely ours.'
a modern dining room with large canvas paintings
Do you consider this a classic Californian home?
'I don’t actively think about wanting to make it fit into a California idea. There’s a certain sense of relaxedness to Calabasas, and the idea of having a zen and calmness definitely fits into our house’s style. Then there’s the outdoor space — when we’re entertaining, we normally open up the doors and hang out outside on blankets on the grass.'

How do you source pieces?
'I have a few friends who are really good at interiors who source pieces. I’m very thoughtful about my purchases — I only just ordered dining chairs that I’ve been looking at for years. For me, choosing furniture is really just about a feeling. I want furniture that’s going to be inspiring and that can be something cozy for me to enjoy with my kids. Now I feel more loyal to the pieces, but it took a while to get here. It’s a lot of trial and error in the beginning, so you have to not be too hard on yourself — eventually you’ll find your flow.'

What do you splurge and save on?
'In my home, every piece is an investment that I’d like to pass on or be able to sell if I want to. I’ve had our brass table for four or five years. A friend helped me find it — I remember I’d been dreaming of it for ages and we found it together — and because of that, ­ I’ll never get rid of it. The memory of the process is so strong.'

What’s your approach to designing a room?
'When it comes to building a room, I’ll start with one special piece and build out from there. I’ll see what looks good in the space once the piece is in place, and then see if I’m able to incorporate books, artwork or objects I love.'
Two armchairs in living room with tall windows
a garden with wall fountain
Do you have a favourite nook or corner?
'My favourite corner is the clear glass shelving with my books, an orchid and a Caroline Christina oyster painting. I feel like that space has a really nice femininity to it.'

Is there a crossover between how you design your home and how you design your lingerie line?
'Definitely. My line combines California minimalism with Parisian elegance. My lingerie, as with anything creative, is inspired by my own experiences.'

Tell us about the art in your home.
'Normally, I don’t display my own artwork in my home. But I have one piece in the dining room that I love, and I don’t care if people judge it. The cheetah picture is by Gia Ram — I follow her on Instagram, and she reached out to me and asked if she could give me a piece.

I love the three pictures above the couch in the living room. In the middle, there’s a painting that was gifted to us by my daughter’s godfather; it shows a military man and inside of him are lotus flowers — my daughter’s name is Lotus. Next to it is a picture of three crosses, that to me, is a representation of the balance of life. On the other side is a painting by my daughter that looks like it could be hanging in the Louvre. It’s so beautiful. I also have her pieces hanging in the stairwell. There’s more of my daughter’s art in the home than mine.'

What’s a design lesson you’d like to pass on to your children?
'The design lesson I’d like to pass on to my children is that cleanliness is next to godliness, and when your home is inspiring you can get a lot more done. I want them to know that you don’t have to pull yourself in 100 directions and put energy into things that aren’t advantageous for you. When your mind is great you can have one focus and create something wonderful. In this home, I want them to be able to find their focus.' 

Images by Tessa Neustadt

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