Design Story: The California ‘Zen Den’ We’ve All Dreamed Of

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY The Havenly Team

Fill 1Created with Sketch.

Published on June 29, 2017

“I’ve always wanted a space that feels just like mine.” For some of us this room is in our house and for others, it’s in our imagination. Wherever it may be, it’s a really fun concept, isn’t it? A place that feels relaxing, where you can sit with your friends, do yoga, a place you can watch your kids play, or escape to close your eyes. That’s why we jumped at the chance to design this ‘Zen Den’ in Redondo Beach, CA for our client Ashley.

Meet Ashley

Ashley, her husband, Adam, and their two young boys moved to a modern Cape Cod a few blocks from the ocean. Both Ashley and Adam share a love for the West Coast vibe with fun, bold prints and white tones (even with young kiddos!). Havenly was hired to help Ashley with an empty room that opens out onto the patio and lawn where the kids play. The room acts as a transitional room leading to other rooms in the house (the TV room and Adam’s office). It almost feels like it could have served the purpose as a mud room but it’s much bigger. The goal was to utilize this space as much as possible by creating a place where guests can stay the night or where Ashley can unwind while the kids are playing. 

The Process

It was important to Ashley to be part of the design process since she really had a strong sense of what she wanted. Working with Havenly designer, Natalie, the project started off as all Havenly Full Design projects do: style survey, room profile, budget and inspiration. Her budget ranged from $1,500 – $3,500. It was clear that, the seating being the main feature of the room, that would be where the majority of the budget would go. There was no existing furniture Natalie needed to incorporate, so, we were really starting from scratch. The only thing that we did incorporate that Ashley already owned was the first print that Ashley and her husband ever bought together. And lucky for us, it happened to be a big, colorful, surf-y print by Andy DavisAshley knew she wanted to order two day beds to make an L shape bed/sofa type set up and, inspired by her time in Sayulita, Ashley has a “slight obsession with mud cloth pillows” so those were a must. Since the wall color, floors and shutters were so clean and simple, this room was going to be a perfect chance to play up color using accessories.

Mood Board

Based on a quick phone call with Ashley and a Pinterest inspo board, Natalie pulled together a few mood boards to make sure they were on the same page. This is the mood board that spoke to Ashley the most.

From Ashley: “These are all amazing and you are right on target. I think the one that I like to most is [this one] because it achieves that Zen/Bali Inspired look and feel that I’d like this room to have. It’s simple and clean but we can play around with pillows, artwork, rug, etc. But I love all of the art you chose and I have a mild obsession with mud cloth pillows so we can always incorporate them. So excited!”


Clearly, Natalie understood the Sayulita vibe. This is the concept board that Ashley chose for the direction of the room design.

From Ashley: “Obsessed! This is so fun and you are so talented!”


Natalie rounded out the design by picking just the right day beds from Pottery Barn and identifying very on-vibe decor and art.

From Ashley: “This is so fun and I feel so lucky that you’re running charge on this project!”

The Final Product

Zen Den Final

Not bad, right?! And the custom corner surface a local carpenter built really brings it all together. Ashley ended up not getting the leather ottoman because she already had one in her TV room, which lends more room for Ashley’s yoga or kids playing on the floor. We had the chance to visit the space recently to photograph it and it was pretty tough to leave. Ashley says she spends a lot of time on those sofa beds working, drinking wine with friends and just relaxing–just as planned!