Some women set out to decorate with a capital D, while others gently nudge their homes toward a natural reflection of who they are. "I enjoy the process," says jewelry designer Sara Weinstock, who subscribes to the go-with-the-flow approach in furnishing her Malibu, California, house. "Doing everything at once can be overwhelming—and stressful." Three years ago, faced with the empty rooms of her Colonial Revival, she began with a headboard in tufted blue silk and a sofa and armchairs handed down by her mother. She gave the latter new life with off-white upholstery and used the former as inspiration for a palette of watery blues, soft greens, and warm corals.
Adding pieces bit by bit, she assembled a seemingly effortless, updated traditional look. Drawing from her work as a jewelry designer, she gave earthy neutrals and relaxed fabrics a lift with metallic accents, from soft gilded finishes to light-reflecting silvery surfaces, much as one might pair sandals and a casual ankle-length dress with one of her diamond-and-gold necklaces. "I know when to stop," she says of rooms that are neither overdressed nor under-accessorized. For help with the subtly luxurious details, Sara turned to Lizabeth McGraw, an interior designer with a store in nearby Venice. They started with a warm caramel for the downstairs walls and looked for ways to enrich the overall palette with silver and gold accents that inject "an old-world aesthetic into rooms with a modern vibe," says McGraw. The vintage-style space looks as if it evolved over time and will continue to—naturally.