Inside Designer Rachel Pally's Stunning, Art-Infused Studio City Home

Photos: Howl & Rose

There’s something to be said about serendipity. When fashion designer and Fashion Mamas LA member Rachel Pally and her husband Kevin Circosta decided to expand their family, they needed to find suitable digs to plant roots. In love with the eclectic vibe of Los Angeles’ Eastside, the couple was firmly set on finding another home in the Los Feliz area. But then, a chance meeting with a realtor presented an opportunity to purchase a gem of a mid-century modern home in a neighborhood Pally never really wanted to consider — Studio City. Tucked away on an epic flat lot in the hills sits a 1965 home that harkens back to the glamour days of Slim Aarons and Mad Men. You can’t help but fall in love with it, and that’s exactly what Pally did. She broke up with the Eastside and relocated her family into a home that will literally take your breath away.

Pally, a native Angeleno known for creating the It-girl, fan-favorite caftan, and infusing laid-back Southern Californian style into her designs has worked the same spellbinding magic into her home. A student of dance and culture, Pally moves through her space with graceful ease. She gets giddy around her children as they play, and beams with delight as she reflects on how she came to find this house and the items within it that make this home remarkable. Below, Pally muses about collecting artifacts from her travels, artwork, and "Ugly Pottery" as she gives us a glimpse into her alluring house in the hills.

What is your profession? Who do you live with?

I'm a clothing designer and owner of Rachel Pally, a women's clothing line. I live with my husband Kevin and our two sons, Tao (4) and Luca (11 months).

Tell us a little bit more how you discovered your home.

At the time, we were living in Los Feliz but knew it was time to move.  We had a baby and the layout of our tri-level Spanish house with the spiral staircase and the windows with the sheer drops didn't exactly make for comfortable living! We randomly walked by an open house on our way to Griffith Park and met a realtor. That particular house wasn't for us, so we described to her what we wanted — a single level, private, mid-century home in the hills with a view, and a pool, on the Eastside. We thought it was pretty funny since it’s an impossible ask.  

The next day, she called us to tell us she found our home.  But, it wasn't in the neighborhood we wanted. The house is between Hollywood and Studio City in a no-mans-land. I actually wasn't attracted to the area. It’s not at all walkable, nor is it a young, hip area. I was totally set against it. Then we came to see it and freaked out! We fell in love with the house — I mean, head-over-heels in love. We debated about moving out of our neighborhood, but when we came up again to see the home at night, we saw the view and were immediately sold — it was just too hard to pass up.

What kinds of items do you love to surround yourself with? How do these items identify with your personality?

I love comfortable furniture (no idea why I insisted on buying the most uncomfortable kitchen stools of all time — sorry Kevin!), soft pillows, open windows, and what my husband calls "Ugly Pottery."

What is your favorite place in your home?

My bed! We just got a king-size bed, and it’s a total game-changer. I resisted it for so long. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to find my husband in there and that we would lose some of our connection. We didn't — it's wonderful. We sleep so well! The kids don't sleep with us but we do have epic family cuddle sessions every morning. There's nothing better. We bought gorgeous simple bedding from Matteo and I literally never want to get out of bed.

Where do you and your family spend the most time in the home and why?

Lately we have been spending most of our time outside. We try to swim every day and Luca loves to be in the swing in the backyard.  But we also spend a ton of time in the kitchen. I love our open layout — we can cook and play and watch the kids all at the same time. And doesn't everything revolve around food anyway?

What is your favorite item in your home and why?

The art! There is a large round pink painting in our living room that was painted by my uncle, Marc Pally. It’s my favorite. I have had it forever and I never get tired of looking at it. It really makes the room. I also love the piece in my bedroom by Austrian artist Peter Jellitsch. It’s a painting of the WiFi signal from the artist’s home. From afar, the piece looks so digital, but when you get up close, you can see that it's a very organic painting. The weaving above our bed is by Meghan Shimek, Tao calls it our dream cloud. We have a unique piece in the living room by Los Angeles-based artist and musician Lara Meyerattken. Instead of using watercolors to paint the crystals she ground up minerals and used them to paint — it’s gorgeous. There’s the watercolor of a child's face by Kim McCarty that was a wedding gift. Along with a large collage by my cousin Jason Eden made up of tiny clippings of Playboy magazines. In the hallway, we have a gallery dedicated to Tao’s creations, which we’ve dubbed "Tao’s Gallery."

How have you translated your aesthetic into your child’s room or nursery?

We try to not accumulate too many ugly toys! My older son, Tao, is really into building and fixing things, so there are tools everywhere. He is also all about his sushi kit — he loves to set up what he calls Brother's Sushi Food Truck and Restaurant. He bosses Luca around and makes us sit down while he puts together some sushi from his kit. It’s adorable. Luckily those are his favorite things. We keep electronics to a minimum and hope they stay interested in the cuter toys!

Where do you shop for home decor items?  

Most of the accessories in our home we have picked up on our travels or at flea markets. I love to have a story behind all the items we collect.

What is one of your favorite items in the nursery and why?  

The most important women in my life gave me a blessing way before the birth of my second son. My sister-in-law had everyone bring a stone or a charm or something special to put on a dream catcher and they all wove the dreamcatcher together, incorporating their treasures and their love. I had it hanging in my bedroom when my son was born, and then we moved it into his room when he started sleeping in there. It means the world to me to have their blessings for him — and for me! — in his room.  

There is also a photograph of clouds that my husband took in Kauai when I was pregnant with my first son. My grandmother had passed just before we got pregnant and she was my Person. She and I always admired the sky and would call each other to look at beautiful sunsets, or clouds, or rainbows. So, Kevin took it as a reminder of ‘Meme’ so that we could have it in our baby's room. When Tao moved into his big boy room, the photograph stayed. It hangs above the changing table and reminds me of one of my favorite people and one of my favorite places, and of the peace before we had children!

What has been one of the biggest home/life adjustments you’ve had to make as your family has grown?

How to manage my time. I know that's the obvious answer. I commute downtown and have two kids and a husband and my 'me-time' goes out the window! I went to the gym today for the first time in 5 weeks. I know that's not good for me, but it’s just so hard to figure out a schedule! I get home from work and I'm totally wiped out — and then my harder, more intense job begins! Shoutout to Lala, (formerly known as Maria before my son gave her a new name), our wonderful nanny who holds it down for us so we can run our businesses! It really takes a village, and in our case, that village is Lala.  

What is the personality of the playroom?

Our playroom is our living room. We allow one basket of toys to be out, and the rest have to be put back into the cabinet at the end of the day.  I don't want kid stuff taking over my whole house!  It makes me crazy, and I'm not a neat freak at all! We don't have a separate designated area for play. And Tao mostly plays outside, which is wonderful. We have a play structure and a sandbox and plenty of space to run around.  

Thank you Rachel for sharing your home with us!