For a crash course in Old Hollywood glamour, designer Lisa Koch isn’t a bad bet. After nearly three years with the Faena Group in Miami—during which time it’s fair to say Koch earned a doctorate-level education on the power of a leopard sofa and a cabana stripe—Koch migrated to sunny Los Angeles and joined forces with the famed JK Hotels group. There, she undertook the makeover of the Sunset Tower Hotel, transforming the tired Gatsby-era icon into something fresh, yet unquestionably Deco. Next up was the much buzzed-about reinvention of the San Vicente Inn in West Hollywood. Working alongside design style-caster Rita Koning, Koch added her signature to the property’s public 850 Hotel and the not-so-public San Vicente Bungalows.
As work wraps on the latter, Koch is finally taking a well-deserved, if not temporary, breather to curate a collection of her DECASO favorites. She’s also opening her bag of tricks and revealing her favorite old-school way to bring the drama and the multipurpose furniture piece she’d drop into any room if she could.
Favorite way to work a bit of vintage into a room:
Anything vintage rattan is a go-to favorite, but I’m also always drawn to using antique dining tables and chairs. I think that they have so much personality in a room that should be comfortable.
Favorite way to add drama to a room:
Eglomise is a wonderful way to add a little reflectivity and sparkle without it being overkill.
Favorite way to mix high and low:
My favorite way to mix high and low is through customization. I love to buy an estate sale find and reupholster or refinish it. There are so many pieces with great bones that just need a little love, attention, and creativity.
Favorite place to splurge and favorite place to dial it back:
Splurging and dialing it back can really go in multiple directions, but I would splurge on nice bed linens and dial it back on using a simple headboard. The way a bed is dressed is really more important and I consider fine linens a luxury.
Favorite decorating trick:
A daybed is a really effective trick. It opens up a room, it can be a focal point inviting conversation. It is also super functional: doubling as a sofa and a bed.
Favorite design risk you’ve ever taken:
Clarence House Tigre sofas at The Faena Hotel Living Room in Miami Beach.
Favorite project in your portfolio:
Sunset Tower Hotel because it was so iconic. It was really a design challenge to update it while staying in tune with the existing aesthetic of the hotel. It was also coupled with such a fun group of people to work with.
Favorite paint color:
Benjamin Moore’s White Dove.
Favorite pattern (and how you love to use it):
Depends on the project! In general, you can never go wrong using anything from Pierre Frey.
Favorite color combo:
I almost always lean towards a neutral scheme. I am so fond of using off whites with all shades and textures of contrasting browns. The traditionalist in me also gravitates to blue and white.
Favorite room in your house:
Functionally, I love the kitchen because it truly is a gathering point, but design-wise, the dining room (due to a fern wallpaper I put up and have grown to be obsessed with).
Favorite piece of art you own:
I bought a piece by Manny Prieres at an art auction in Miami Beach several years ago that hangs in my kitchen. It is still a stand-out to me and it is a daily reminder of my Miami days.
Most unusual piece you’ve ever sourced for a project?
The Golden Mammoth at Faena was definitely unique.
Tell us more about your experience with DECASO:
I appreciate that the website offers a wide range of antiques and modernist pieces. It has been helpful to view both styles in one place and has definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone! Plus, the website is easy to navigate, which is such a huge time saving benefit.
Have you scored anything particularly special as of late, or discovered a dealer who’s inventory you’re particularly smitten with?
Yes! Goldwood by Boris. I think that I have liked every single one of their pieces.
Any special projects you’re working on that you’re browsing DECASO for?
An apartment in NYC that has a very masculine vibe – there is De Sede sofa on the website now that I would love to use for it.
Favorite item on DECASO right now:
Revolving Chinoiserie Bar Cabinet
Favorite travel destination:
Tokyo, Japan because it is so counterintuitive to my style.
Favorite way to treat yourself:
A weekly manicure.
Favorite entertaining essential:
A clay tagine. It is an impressive way to bring people together over a meal you’ve prepared. It is beautiful, easy, and interesting to look at for a serving dish.
Favorite thing to collect:
Antique egg cups from traveling.
Your City: Los Angeles
Giorgio Baldi. I live close by, the food and people are both great in equal measure.
Favorite local flea market/vintage hunting ground:
A westside LA estate sale and the Long Beach Flea Market.