DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT 5/5/20
Mindy Gayer’s Guide to
Indoor-Outdoor Design
Mindy Gayer Spanish Outdoor
Mindy Gayer is an Orange County native and interior designer who knows a thing or two about California style. Recently, we got the inside scoop from her about how to create the perfect outdoor space, what relaxed textures she loves layering into her designs, and how she brings that effortless, laid-back look to every project. See what inspires her work and how she styles her Serena & Lily favorites, indoors and out.
Mindy Gayer Sunwashed Riviera
Mindy Gayer Dining
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When designing a California-inspired home, it’s all about using textures, materials, and fabrics that feel very relaxed and functional so you can bring the outdoors in and vice-versa.
Could you tell us a little bit about where you're from and how you got started?
I was born and raised in Southern California, in Orange County, where my mom always had a beautiful, cozy, and comfortable home. I started in interior design in 2011, and I’ve had my firm open since 2014. Our specialty is full home remodels and new builds, and the majority of our projects are on the coastline here in Southern California.
What does California living mean to you? And how do you design for it?
California living is laid-back and casual but wonderfully curated. It really embodies the classic indoor-outdoor feel that’s luxuriously inviting. When designing a California-inspired home, it’s all about using textures, materials, and fabrics that feel very relaxed and functional so you can bring the outdoors in and vice-versa. The palette is full of light, bright colors. For us that usually means focusing on white or very calming, neutral textures. Our interiors tend to reflect our surroundings, which are beautiful.
What are some of your favorite textures and materials to layer?
I love incorporating a lot of natural textures like rattan, cane, and outdoor wicker, which Serena & Lily does so well. Whether that’s with case goods, chairs, or light fixtures, we always mix in those natural materials. Another natural texture we love is wood, especially those muted, whitewashed oak finishes. I also love Belgian linen for all things upholstery.
Your spaces feel so fluid. How do you plan a design to effortlessly connect the indoors to the outdoors?
The biggest thing for connecting these spaces is the way we transition from indoors to out. That usually means letting in as much natural light as possible through beautiful window placement, bi-fold doors, or big pocket sliding doors. Whether you open the doors or just open the blinds, that amazing indoor-outdoor feel is our goal.
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Each of our projects always has a handful of Serena & Lily outdoor pieces. I love that you design outdoor furniture to feel like it can be used indoors. To me, that’s the epitome of California living.
What are the pieces you think are worth investing in?
Quality outdoor furniture is a game changer. It totally transforms the outside spaces of your home and is an investment that will last for years to come. When clients and I are first creating our priorities for new furnishings, I always make sure that we allot a decent allowance for outdoor furniture, even if it's just for a few key pieces to start.
What do you think is the most important furniture for creating an outdoor space?
Definitely a table and chairs. With those, you're more likely to spend time outdoors, whether it’s in the morning, on the weekends, having coffee or breakfast, or inviting friends over for dinner. It also doesn’t hurt to have two chaise loungers with an umbrella. It creates such a fun moment.
Do you have any favorite outdoor Serena & Lily items?
Each of our projects always has a handful of Serena & Lily outdoor pieces. I love that you design outdoor furniture to feel like it can be used indoors. To me, that’s the epitome of California living. The tried-and-true collection that we use and integrate a lot is your Pacifica Collection. That’s probably our go-to. And then we love the Outdoor Riviera Dining Chairs and Barstools.
Who or what are some of your biggest style influences?
Travel is a huge inspiration for me. England is one of those places, as is all of the Eastern seaboard. I love quaint, very well-designed communities like Nantucket and the Cotswolds. Communities like that are so inspiring to me because they have been designed so beautifully for so much longer than I’ve been on this earth, and, for me, it’s encouraging to see that design can last.
Are there any trends that you're loving right now?
I think people are now willing to take more of a risk with accent pieces, like lounge chairs, coffee tables, or a cool statement table lamp or floor lamp. Right now, I see a lot of that with gorgeous woven textures, like wicker, rattan, and caning.
Mindy Gayer Kitchen
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Images 1, 2, 3, 7, and 8 courtesy of Vanessa Lentine. Images 4, 5, and 6 courtesy of Lane Dittoe. Image 9 courtesy of Lindsay Stetson.