Venice Walnut House With Candida Wohlgemuth
Candida Wohlgemuth is never one to shy away from a challenge. That’s why the designer and founder of WHLF Studio jumped at the chance to reimagine a dilapidated Spanish colonial home in Venice, California – with stunning results! Not only was the renovation completed during the ups and downs of 2020, but also while Candida was pregnant with her first child. We spoke with Candida about the design process behind this very special project, her career journey so far, and what she’s most looking forward to for the new year.
Hello Candida, you’ve mentioned that you were excited to work with a Spanish-style home when you began the Venice Walnut House project. What is it about Spanish design that speaks to you?
I got a lot of exposure to the Spanish colonial style by visiting Guatemala (where my parents are from) every summer with my family. I also grew up in LA where the Spanish style bungalow is a staple. It’s a style that feels so personal to me.
What was your vision when it came to designing the Venice Walnut House?
Many original homes in Venice have been demolished for new builds, losing their character in the process. For this home, I wanted to preserve the Spanish style, but give it a modern touch. I knew we weren’t going to completely restore the home to its original glory, but the soul of the home had to remain.
How did you stay true to Spanish architectural design when working on this project?
Despite the crumbling foundation and mold growing on the walls, the Spanish soul of the home was still there. I wanted to keep the same lines on the exterior, while adding arches in the front entryway and living area. Restoring the tile roof also gave it that original character we were wanting to preserve.
How do you find inspiration for your projects?
When we travel, I seek out well-designed hotels or motels and love visiting open houses styled by designers. Seeing and experiencing these spaces in real life probably inspires me the most. My Pinterest boards and Instagram collections are also packed with inspiration.
Are there certain design aspects that remain consistent throughout your projects?
I enjoy a clean, minimal palate with straight lines, right angles and symmetry. However, I want to infuse natural elements where I can like woods and plaster to give my designs depth and life.
How do color and texture influence your design decisions?
I love to add texture in raw and organic forms. For example, I love how the Armadillo Terra Rug in the living room gave the space personality with its natural fibers.
Were there any specific colors or textures you wanted to lean into for this project particularly?
Green! I was working with white, black and wood tones which I feel always go so well together but I wanted to infuse green into this project. My favorite space where the green became such a focal point was the living room.
We’ve noticed that ADUs are increasing in popularity within the design space. Can you speak to why this style of living is trending right now?
Not only is it financially beneficial to have an ADU, but with the rise of Airbnbs and small boutique motels that cater to community building, people are much more open to co-living.
Tell us a bit about your career journey. How did WHLF Studio come to life?
In short, I double majored in Chemistry and Biology (Pre-med) in college and ended up teaching eighth grade science for four years. After that, I made a big career change by moving to San Francisco to work at Airbnb, where I made my way onto their global social media team. My husband and I then moved to Venice, where I began consulting in photography, art direction and creative direction for a number of brands until starting as the Creative Director at Kin Euphorics.
Once 2020 hit and so many creative jobs closed, I knew it was time to start my own thing. This birthed WHLF Studio: a creative studio that works across photography, videography and interior design. The interior design spark for the studio came during my time at Airbnb where I was exposed to so many amazing creatives that were adapting their various creative talents into designing Airbnbs.
We’re honored to be the featured rugs in your Venice Walnut House. We have to ask, which Armadillo rug is your favorite to have underfoot?
The Terra Rug in Moss. It’s the rug that introduced me to Armadillo. I saw a photo of it on Pinterest and immediately fell in love with the look. Once I took a deep dive into how these rugs were handwoven and made with such intentionality, I was hooked.
Finally, what projects are you looking forward to in 2023?
We've got some personal projects on the horizon we're excited to share. You can follow along on Instagram to keep in the loop.