Written By: Bethany Bradsher
In the Las Vegas living room designed by Lorena Gaxiola, the true story is found in the paradoxes.
The first paradox: a traditionally appointed room with hints of Ralph Lauren located in a tract neighborhood just off the Vegas strip. In a development where it’s hard to distinguish one exterior from the other within a city defined by flashiness, it’s a room that you might sooner expect in Williamsburg, Virginia, than just blocks away from Glitter Gulch.
Of course, that’s just the type of contradiction that fuels the creative juices of a designer like Gaxiola, the owner of Kuatro Design, in San Diego. She embraced the opportunity to craft a distinctive room that also reflected the homeowner’s preferences.
Paradox number two: the zebra-print ottoman at the hub of the room, flanked by armchairs. The ottoman, standing in contrast with the more traditional fabrics and woods throughout the room, defines one of Gaxiola’s favorite principles: Every good design them should be meddled with from time to time.
The homeowners in Las Vegas liked the Ralph Lauren fabrics and styles and wanted to incorporate those into the living room. But the Ralph Lauren influence, while strong, wasn’t the only theme of the room, and the zebra ottoman, which was a piece the owners loved, was the perfect way to express individuality.
The ottoman was a pricey piece, Gaxiola says, but she encourages people to choose one accent piece that they really love to build their room around, even if it takes a good chunk of their budget. The rest of the room can be low budget, and she cites the tapestry handing over the fireplace of this living room as an example of a low-priced item that carries a lot of weight in the decor. The bottom line for Gaxiola was that the homeowners loved the distinct ottoman, and that was enough to make it work with the two-story stone fireplace and the distressed oak lining the walls and the center column.
Another preference of the homeowners that loosened the design reins for Gaxiola was their desire for four chairs as the central seating area rather than the more traditional couch arrangement. Couches are hard to place aesthetically, and the chairs and zebra ottoman create an openness that highlights the other aspects of the room.
And the final paradox: the unique arrangement of paintings on the mantel. A large framed tapestry forms the centerpiece of the group and is flanked by two historic and traditional oil paintings. The grouping exemplifies Gaxiola’s belief that diverse art styles can work together when the matting and framing are consistent.
Gaxiola, who became the sole proprietor of Kuatro Design five years ago and is one of the youngest Hispanic business owners in the San Diego area, also has a line of contemporary furniture called Kuatro Living. She has designed interiors for residential and business clients and also works with model merchandising and staging.