Lynn Leonidas Designs Sunset Magazine's Editor in Chief's Home

There's no denying the influence that Instagram has had on the design industry. No one knows this better than interior designer Lynn Leonidas. It was on this social media platform that the talented designer connected with none other than the Editor-in-Chief of the popular West Coast publication Sunset Magazine. Not only did this blossom into a beautiful friendship, but it also resulted in a fantastic project and partnership. Connecting with mutual interests, including an appreciation for classical architecture, Lynn was asked to design the editor's home! Read on to get the full story from the eyes of Lynn herself.

1. What brought you and Irene/Sunset together?
Irene Edwards, the Editor-in-Chief of Sunset Magazine, is a great connector and talent scout. She saw my work in Domino magazine and then connected with me on Instagram. She had lived in the Bay Area before moving to New York, where she eventually became the Editor-in-Chief of Lonny. When she got the call from Sunset, she came back to the Bay Area. We have clients throughout the Bay Area and are based in the East Bay, just minutes away from Irene's Alameda home, so it was a natural fit to start our conversation about working together. We shared similar interests about editorial trends and I think as clients, she and her husband were aligned with my enthusiasm for restoring the classical architecture rather than removing its history.

2. How does designing for a magazine differ from designing for a typical interior design client?
The interior renovation was a partnered project with Sunset Magazine as the finished project was intended to be published through Sunset’s print magazine and various online outlets. I have experience working in the editorial world, so I was aware of the tight schedules that editorial teams adhere to. It’s a fast-paced industry, much faster than architecture and interiors, so we were more available and spontaneous with this project. There is also the component of vendor partnerships for product placement as well as collaborating with the photo and styling departments. It is a real team effort that extends further beyond the typical architect and contractor team.

3. What kind of challenges and benefits did you experience when working with Sunset sponsors?
Sunset has very dynamic and successful relationships with their loyal vendors who advertise through the magazine. The magazine is first to review the newest vendor collections and the house remodel was an appropriate application for many products. It helped to be pushed to use only the vendor’s latest collections which presents a limitation that can be both challenging and beneficial. It puts a limit on the extensive resources available to us, but at the same time it helps narrow down the choices for quicker decisions.
4. How would you describe your aesthetic and how did you mold it to fit Sunset and Irene's sensibilities?
I love working on homes with traditional architecture as my passion and professional training is in that historical design language. Irene’s home is Victorian, and we approached it as a restoration project with modern updates. Irene also has adventurous, fashion-forward taste, so we found a balance between classical finishes and contemporary furnishings. We were excited with the natural-yet-glam materials we put together, like brass and glossy tile mixed in with linen, jute, and rustic pieces.

5. If you could design a home for another editor or tastemaker, who would it be?
I’d love to work with Amy Astley who used to be the Editor-in-Chief at Teen Vogue before she became the Editor-in-Chief of Architectural Digest. I subscribed to Teen Vogue well into my twenties and found it to be the most fun of the Vogue titles. Amy's aesthetic vision is high-quality and aspirational, but at the same time it is lighthearted and there is room for humor and color. I like the spontaneity and excitement that editors bring to the team, and I would definitely like to continue working with more people from that industry.

6. Any plans for future collaborations in the works (either with Sunset or other brands)?
I will continue collaborating with Sunset and their associated vendors, and just a few weeks ago I was a part of Sunset Celebration Weekend in Sonoma where I consulted with Sunbrella and Delta Faucets. This year I am talking with more brands and participating in more speaking engagements on panels and podcasts. My guest podcast feature on A Well-Designed Business ( aired last month, and I’ll appear on the Million Dollar Decorating podcast in July. I’ll also be at High Point for the first time at the Fall show and will be lining up some fun events!