Right Out Of The Gatehouse
As the weather warms and the days seemingly stretch forever, Costa Mesans turn to bike rides, beaches – and long, languid evenings with food, family and friends.
Yes, it’s the season for backyard BBQs and patio entertaining here on our Tableland By The Sea. But if your home and hosting accoutrements are getting a bit rough ’round the edges, there’s no better way to step up your furniture game than with the help of the talented Interior Designers at Gatehouse Home.
Located in the heart of Eastside’s stylish 17th Street Corridor – deliciously situated between Sidecar Doughnuts and Where’s The Party? – Gatehouse specializes in the kind of living best enjoyed with heaping sides of sunshine and cool, ocean breezes.
Beachy Keen: European Lines, Livable Fabrics and Seaside Accents are Hallmarks of the Gatehouse Aesthetic
photographer: brandy young
“Gatehouse is a full-service design boutique all about California-inspired, indoor-outdoor living,” said Interior Designer and Co-Owner of Gatehouse, Kim Sankey. “A lot of people like to say we’re ‘coastal’ but without the kitsch. We don’t have signs that say, ‘Gone To The Beach’ or ‘Sand In Your Toes’ – unless, of course, I can find them done in a really elevated way.
“Our main thing is ‘sophisticated casual.’ Yes, it’s important that things look good; but we still want our clients to be able to put their feet up on the furniture and relax. Really, what good is a beautiful home if you can’t live in it?”
Making homes livably gorgeous is natural for Sankey, who’s always had a knack for knowing what to add – and what to subtract – from every space.
“I know people say you can go to school, that you can apply yourself and learn to be a designer,” said Sankey. “But personally, I think it’s innate. All the best Interior Designers I know seem to have been born with that gift. Sure, we’re a little nutty – but that’s just part of it.
“You’re either the kind of person who has an eye, or you’re not. And if you’re not, that is totally fine – better than fine, actually – because the rest of us are here to help you.”
Addicted To Accessories: Sankey Is The First To Admit She’s Got A Pillow Problem
photographer: brandy young
The Gatehouse design philosophy may start with staples like clean, European lines, well-made furniture, luxurious-yet-livable fabrics, rich wood pieces… but in the end, it’s all about the accessories.
“Accessories are what give your home life and a personality,” said Sankey. “People get a really expensive thing, like a sofa or a hutch, then put it in their house and wonder, ‘Why does it look less-than?’ The difference between a well-designed home, and one that’s not, is all in the accessories behind it. I always tell our clients it’s crucial to not only budget for the new furniture, but all the fabulous cha-chas that make their space really sing.
“They don’t have to be pricey; accessories can be from Target or wherever. Everybody can do it, and on any budget. It’s all about vignetting; putting pieces together to tell a story. If your furniture already has really good bones then you don’t have to do much. Throw a pillow in there, change up an accessory, and watch what happens.
“For me, pillows are everything. I actually think I have a problem; I’m a pillow-a-holic. If they ever start a support group for pillow people, I’m going to be the chairperson. But my addiction pays off for our customers. People come in and say, ‘You’ve got the best pillows in town.’ Well, yeah! I’m a tactile kind of girl and I know my pillows.
“I even name the pillows, sometimes. I’m walking around saying, ‘Isn’t she cute? He’s my handsome guy.’ Ask anyone in the store, they’ll tell you it’s 100% true.”
At Your Service: The Gatehouse Team is All About Hands-On, Interior Design Help
photographer: brandy young
Pillows aside, we asked Sankey to share her favorite type of furniture – the piece no home should be without.
“A sectional! If I can give you a sectional sofa, you’re getting a sectional sofa,” said Sankey. “That’s some serious pile-on-the-couch, cuddle-bug time right there. There’s nothing better than an open, bright family room with a great, family-sized sectional.
“And something I want to impress on people is that we are full design, here. We will totally pop over to your house to measure before you buy. We don’t do the actual construction on your house, but we will come to that meeting with your architect.
“I went to this one house and the architect said, ‘We’re going to put the wall here and the ceiling here…’ and I said, ‘But wait a minute, you know she wants a sectional here, right?’ He just got so carried away with his gorgeous design and angles, that he forgot about the sectional. So he put a few feet back into the space for us. The homeowner was so happy we were there. We saved her a lot of money and heartache because she was all about having a place for that sectional.”
The topic of sectionals isn’t the only gusher for Sankey, she loves being on 17th Street, too. After almost 12 years in business at her Eastside Costa Mesa location, she’s happier than ever to call it home.
“When we first moved here, there was no Starbucks on the corner of our center,” said Sankey. “It’s was actually a pretty creepy, dark, liquor store. Not like that cute one over there. So it really helped once Starbucks got in there.
“But then, holy cow! When Sidecar Doughnuts went in a couple of years ago, that was a total game-changer. In the past, when people would ask me where we were located, I had a hard time explaining it unless they knew the area. But now, I just say, ‘We’re the furniture store next to Sidecar.’
“Even my doctor was like, ‘Oh! I love Sidecar. After I do a surgery at Hoag, I always treat myself to a Sidecar doughnut.’ So that’s been a really great thing for us. Now everyone, including my doctor, definitely knows where we are.”
“You know, I have always loved this area,” said Sankey. “Not just 17th Street, but all of the Eastside. It’s so damn cute!
“Look, no one is going to deny that places like Pelican Hill or Laguna Beach are wonderful. I mean, they’re gorgeous. But Eastside Costa Mesa is beautiful in a way that is sweet and kind and normal. People here take a hands-on pride in their homes.
“I love to watch what’s going on in the neighborhood behind the store. When I drive home, I always pick different streets to take just so I can spy on people and see how they are fixing up their houses. My favorite is the new, first-time homeowner; that bright-eyed, bushy-tailed couple that puts all their hopes and everything into that little cottage.
“You can’t beat the Costa Mesa community, period; end of story. Costa Mesa is just real. It’s really, really real…and I love that.” ♥
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