The Secret To A Summer Backyard Escape with Lexie Layne Sokolow

It felt a bit dream-like, walking into Lexie Layne Sokolow and her fiancée's lush backyard and being greeted with branzino on the grill and a sizable selection of delicious natural wines ready to be poured. We visited their stunning West Hollywood home on a hot summer day to find refuge from the intense sun. Their backyard is covered in foliage and trees with wildflowers in bloom yet stylishly manicured. Up the spiral staircase from the backyard, their duplex kitchen held an amazing spread featuring charcuterie, shakshuka, a burrata salad, and her delicious slow-roasted salmon summer dish.  

We had come to tour Lexie and her fiancée's Spanish-style home to interview her about herself, how her hometown of LA influences her interior design and interior stylist work, and about her love for hosting. By every stretch of our imagination, she outdid herself on the latter. Read on for Lexie's creative journey to the Studio Life/Style firm she calls home, how she views the relationship between design and food, a few of her favorite summer recipes! 

Shop Lexie's Outdoor Oasis

 

You're an interior designer, interior stylist, and the brand manager of a West Hollywood-based design firm. Tell us a little about where you are from and how you got started.

I was born and raised in Los Angeles! After graduating from college in NYC, I ended up staying in the city to work in fashion and eventually transitioned into interior design. I had an amazing connection with Josh Greene and Katrina Hernandez of Hernandez Greene—a boutique NYC firm—and worked for them until Fall 2019. I ended up moving back to Los Angeles, and I'm now working for a firm called Studio Life/Style.

What do you love most about being back home in Los Angeles? How does it inspire your work?

I love the variety in design! Each neighborhood differs from the next, and I think it allows interior designers to work outside the box. There is also a wonderful history when it comes to architecture and design in California. Whether Desert Modernism in Palm Springs to Spanish Colonial architecture, there's quite a diversity. I always think the architecture should dictate or inspire the interior design to feel cohesive and interconnected.

What qualities do you like to always be present in your designs?

I love mixing in vintage items to help create a story. I strive to make spaces look curated and prioritize finding new vendors and vintage shops to source from. I always try to make spaces feel warm and comfortable yet still unique.

How would you describe your at-home decor style?

The Spanish architecture of my home influenced the furniture, colors, and overall vibe. I love mixing old with new, so there is an eclectic mix of items in our home. I travel a lot with my fiancée and try to collect pottery and ceramics wherever I go. It's fun to look around at each piece and remember the memories attached to them.

How do you approach the decor of your home? Do you feel as though your work and your aesthetic overlap?

We had very little furniture when we first moved in, so it was fun to start from scratch. It was important to find shapes and styles for furniture that were timeless rather than falling into the trend trap. I sourced from 1st Dibs and other vintage sites to help make the space feel curated and give the areas some "age." I also made a mood board and schemes with fabrics to make sure everything felt cohesive. I gravitate towards warm colors and fabrics, and there is certainly an overlap between my personal aesthetic and my work.

How did you strike a balance between function and aesthetics in your outdoor entertaining spaces?

I love entertaining, so our space needed to accommodate having friends and family over. My fiancée and I host many Shabbats together and love having an area for dining and a separate area by the firepit for appetizers and nightcap after dinner. 
Having separate areas help make the night feel eventful. Luckily, this amazing dining table and chairs from Lulu and Georgia allow me to host our family and friends while being design-driven pieces.

 

Any advice for those looking to update their outdoor dining space—including maybe a couple of people wanting to recreate your look?

If the budget is tight, try to focus on the tabletop accessories. You can easily update your table with new linens, lanterns, candelabras, and other accessories to help give the area a little refresh. I'm a sucker for little accessories and always on the hunt for interesting glassware and linens.

We're obsessed with your outdoor tablescape. Could you walk us through your creative process while setting it?

There is a beautiful symbiotic relationship between design and food. I let the food and season inspire the overall vibe of the table setting. Each season has its unique qualities, so I try to highlight specific dishes and cuisines per season. I find joy in curating a meal that has an emphasis on design.

What's one interior design trend that you feel is underrated?

I try not to get sucked into trends but rather focus on pieces I know I will love years down the line. Finding items that tell a story, have age, and feel more artful can be a nice approach in curating one's space.

What's next for you and Lexie Layne Design?

I am currently focusing on planning my own wedding, ha! But I would love to eventually dabble into furniture design or even start collecting pieces from Europe to sell—we shall see!

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What's one easy summer recipe and cocktail you're cooking this season?

Cocktail (Something simple)
I love anything with tequila but have been making a blood orange margarita that is refreshing and easy to make!
2 ounces tequila
2 ounces fresh blood orange juice
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon light agave nectar or simple syrup, to taste
Pink Himalayan salt for rim


(P.S. I've been freezing blood orange slices in my cubed ice, and it makes all the difference!)

 

 

 

What's one easy summer recipe and you're cooking this season?

I constantly make slow-roasted salmon! All you have to do is add olive oil, salt, pepper, fennel, Fresno chile, dill, lemons, and blood oranges to the salmon. Bake it in the oven for 30-40 minutes at 275 degrees and then crank up to broil for 5 minutes after for a crispy skin.

Simple, easy, and delicious!