California Boho Collage on Venice Canals

Everyone’s heard of Venice Beach, California, but the town’s real prize is not the surfside playground of tourist fame. It’s hidden a few blocks inland, along the town’s canals, where mansions nestle alongside modest bungalows, like funky charms on a boho necklace. And that may well explain why jewelry-designer-to-the-stars Irene Neuwirth is so at home there.

Tobacco millionaire Abbot Kinney founded Venice Beach–originally called “The Venice of America”–in 1905 and dug the canals as a way to drain marshy land. In the 1920s, Los Angeles annexed the area and began filling in the canals, many of which had fallen into disrepair, to make way for more development. But the 1929 stock market crash and ensuing depression halted that and left the area with four east-west canals and two north-south ones, still present today.

“My mom moved to the Canals when I was 12, so it’s home for me,” Neuwirth explains. Irene’s mother is painter Geraldine Neuwirth, whose art influenced her jewelry designs as well as her obsession for this picturesque community. Irene first rented in the area, scoped out the house she wanted, and quite literally leaped into action the moment the “For Sale” sign went up.

“I day-dreamed about what my life would look like if I lived in it,” she laughs. “I would peer through the tall vines and see the couple eating dinner–super-crazy, I know!”

But it gets weirder…

The night she first saw the house was for sale she was walking her dog Teddy.  “I was peeking through the windows,” she confesses. “He got off his leash and chased their cat into the neighbors’ yard. I thought my chances were over.”

Instead, it was the perfect introduction, and the rest is, as they say, history.

Welcome to the collage!

ED / The Selby

The primary esthetic of Irene’s jewelry, her approach to life, and, in particular, her decorating sense, is collage. Witness her living room. The painting over her desk, BTW, is by her mother.

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I would simply love cuddling up in this fleecy chair with a good book and a cuppa, wouldn’t you?

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In this fleecy vintage Philip Actander clam chair, to be exact. The electric blue coffee table is by Yves Klein.

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The kitchen’s farmhouse table is antique, and the chairs are vintage. The flowers are, obviously, fresh cut. And I am loving the eclectic, collage-like pairing of all those bloom-filled vases with a melange of vintage brass candleholders.

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You need a closer look, right?

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Here’s another fun vignette from the kitchen: More blooms, more face vases, and those sweet cow bowls.

Left to right is: another vignette from the kitchen; a close-up of a section of Irene’s living room bookshelves with a sculpture by her dad, Peter; and a racy homage to her love of collecting guests.

After all, friends are Neuwirth’s favorite element

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Here, Irene cuddles with that aforementioned rascal Teddy, as well as decorator Sarah Shetter, designer Justin Kern, and actress January Jones.

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Guests get more than their own skateboard, mind you. There’s this laid-back guest bedroom…

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…which comes with yet another cuddly fleece chair–this one by Arne Jacobsen. It’s almost as if Teddy has been replicated around the house!

Onto Neuwirth’s private collage

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And what could be more private than a closet/dressing room? Irene wears some of her own jewelry designs in this photo, and more pieces are displayed on the storage island.

And here’s even more jewelry, up close and personal. I’m over-the-moon about the fox in sunglasses!

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I also can’t help but wonder if someone else obsessed with this house now that Irene lives here lurks on the other side of these hedges, daydreaming about moving in and taking over.

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Now we know where all those blooms in the kitchen came from. This is such a beautiful spot, methinks that person in the bushes is going to have a long wait.

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If I were Neuwirth I’d never leave. All aboard the next passing gondola!

Find yourself wanting more, dahling?

The Selby

A pooch can never have too much bling, you know, particularly when mom’s a jewelry designer!

  • Learn more about Neuwirth and her jewelry line, including where to find it, on her website.
  • Point your browser to the Elle Decor website to read Jenni Konner’s feature on Neuwirth’s home, which appeared in the July 2018.
  • If you’ll be anywhere near Dallas, TX, Sept. 13-14, consider attending the Irene Neuwirth trunk show at Ylang 23.
  • View more work by Sarah Shetter Interior Design.
  • Check out works by Irene’s mother, artist Geraldine Neuwirth.
  • To learn more about the historic and oft-visited Venice, CA, community, browse these books (and perhaps purchase), using the affiliate links:


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