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Elysian Home: At Home with Victoria Smith

Written by Jessica Comingore

Photography by Jessica Comingore

Running a successful lifestyle blog since 2006, Victoria Smith is no stranger to editing. Her honed eye and eclectic taste has garnered a global audience, putting her at the forefront of the design blog community with her daily posts on interior inspiration and ideas. Once a devout resident of San Francisco, Victoria now calls Los Angeles home, and has carved out an oasis in the city that feels like a perfect extension of her vibrant personality and work. Through her warmth and approachability in discussing design, Victoria has inspired us to own our individuality when it comes to crafting our surroundings, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to share a peek into her space with you today.

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1. You recently relocated from San Francisco to Los Angeles. What are you loving most about your new city, and what do you miss most about the Bay?
I thought I might not get used to the heat here in L.A., but I seem to be adapting pretty well, and I love the warm nights. It’s really great to be able to spend evenings outdoors without freezing. I miss some of my good friends in San Francisco, and I miss dog-friendly beaches — specifically Fort Funston and Chrissy Field. It’s so warm in L.A., you’d think they’d have more dog off-leash beaches.

2. Your home is a beautiful blend of vintage and antique finds. Do you have any favorite sources to hunt for home goods?
Always the flea markets. I used to go to Alameda Flea Market, and now I try to hit the Rose Bowl, Pasadena City College and Long Beach flea markets. I also find a lot of smaller vintage treasures on Etsy — Maven Collective is one of my go-to’s.

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“If I feel stressed, I go out back and pull a few weeds and see what’s growing in the garden. It’s really relaxing.”
Victoria Smith

3. Uncovering new things, places, and ideas are a large part of your work. What are some of your favorite recent discoveries?
I love wandering around DTLA. Even though parts can be quite gritty, you can’t beat it for great architecture. I just stroll around looking up at all the wonderful art deco buildings — and the view from the Ace Hotel is pretty spectacular. I also love Chinatown — such an unexpected spot for some great art openings in very kitsch surroundings. I also enjoy the Hollywood Farmer’s Market on Sundays. Not only can you get great produce, but the people watching is the best. Oh, and the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica. Right smack on the beach with a pool and a café, it’s pretty great for $10/day.

4. Working from home, it can be hard to separate work life from your personal life. Where do you go to completely unwind?
I walk my dog Lucy up the hill from my house in Elysian Park almost every day, so that’s a really nice escape and a good start to the day. And I’m sharing a studio space in DTLA now, so if I get cabin fever working at the house, I head there for shoots and just to work from a different space. It’s always inspiring to be there. And I often just chill in my backyard. If I feel stressed, I go out back and pull a few weeds and see what’s growing in the garden. It’s really relaxing.

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5. What is your mantra?
Well, it’s an Oscar Wilde quote, but I like it and it reminds me to be authentic, especially when I’m writing the blog: “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”

6. Are you a morning person? If so, what does your morning routine look like?
I’m not one of those people who wakes up grumpy or needs coffee to speak. But I don’t get up super early, either. My dog Lucy generally wakes me up by 7 with a pounce, and I let her out back so she can leave me be to lounge in bed until 8. Then I check email on my iPhone, delete spam, and make sure there’s nothing urgent to reply to. Then we head out for a good long walk to Elysian Park. If we do the full 3.5 mile loop, I stop for coffee on the way back at Valerie or Fix, and then head home to start the work day.

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“Beauty just draws you in — even if it’s just a laugh or a smile, or a really interesting outfit.”
Victoria Smith

7. When it comes to designing a space, is there an era or style you continuously look to?
Not really. I’m very into an eclectic mix. I suppose I lean towards mid-century modern pieces (I have, like, 4 Saarinen tables and Tulip chairs), but I like to pair those pieces with rattan, natural wood pieces (usually vintage), and a lot of white. I’m not sure what you’d call it.

8. Do you have any favorite recipes this time of year? What’s one cookbook you always find yourself cracking open?
I make a lot of what I call ‘Goop Chicken’. It’s really easy and so delicious, but it’s essentially a Mediterranean braised chicken recipe with lemon, shallots and green olives from Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Good cookbook that she wrote with Julia Turshen. I serve it over brown rice and it’s really comforting.

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9. Are there any books you’ve recently read or discovered that have been inspiring?
I’m reading Joan Didion’s The White Album and it’s a pretty fascinating group of essays about her life in Los Angeles in the late 60’s and early 1970’s — her run-ins with The Doors, drugs, and on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

10. How do you define beauty?
I always think the most beautiful things are those with their own unique character; whether it be an object or a person. It’s kind of hard to define because I have pretty varied interests and tastes, but I know it when I see or feel it. Beauty just draws you in — even if it’s just a laugh or a smile, or a really interesting outfit. I suppose it’s always in the eye of the beholder, and very subjective.

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You can find more of Victoria by visiting her beautiful blog, SF Girl By Bay, or by following along on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Comments (4)

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  • tforia

    I like the shimmery vintage touches she has in her home.

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