Inside Kendall Sargeant’s Relaxed Venice Beach Home
Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we’re celebrating innovators, artisans and crafters of all types, taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this instalment, we head all the way to Venice Beach in sunny Los Angeles, California, where Australian PR-maven and influencer Kendall Sargeant has made a home for herself.
In Kendall Sargeant’s Venice Beach pad, there are windows galore, hardwood floors, a mint green bathroom and views over the trees. It is, in short, a perfect home base. It’s also one that might never have been Sargeant’s if it wasn’t for a stroke of happy luck.
The influencer and public relations expert had been searching for six months for a new space with her partner, visiting house after house looking for the perfect spot. “We knew we wanted a small yard, hardwood floors, the craftsman charm Venice so often has to offer, and most importantly walkability to the beach and restaurants we love,” Sargeant explains.
But it was taking a while. Then one day, walking to their car after visiting a house that wasn’t quite right, they spotted a ‘for lease’ sign on their favourite Venice Beach street. “We peeked through the window and I saw the classic built-ins in the dining room and my heart skipped a beat envisaging all the ways I could decorate,” she says. “After a little negotiation to get the rent to a less scary place, we signed on the dotted line.”
Since moving in about a year ago, Sargeant has gone about the decoration process, filling light-flooded space with natural fibres, soft textiles, a mixture of different textures and antique pieces sourced by Olive Ateliers. The colour palette is muted and cosy, leaning heavily on sage green, classic oatmeal and white, with little touches of turmeric.
Antique accents, such as Moroccan oil jars or vintage French vases, style well with Sargeant’s investment furniture, including a sprawling lounge and an elm wood coffee table in the living room and an armchair by Six Penny in an airy corner of the main bedroom, the perfect reading nook.
This bedroom is Sargeant’s favourite room. “I wanted a space with… tall ceilings to wake up to, nap, sip my morning coffee, enjoy the Sunday paper, work from, all of the above. If Ben let me, I’d potter around that bedroom all day long,” she jokes. She’s purposefully styled it minimally in order to maintain that air of relaxation and repose: aside from the bed, some stools, the chair and a big mirror, there’s barely any other furniture in the space. “For us it felt important to minimise the clutter,” Sargeant explains. “You don’t want to wake to chaos every day.”
Hi Kendall! This series is called The Makers. What is it that you make?
I build brands. I make people aware of, connect to, and nostalgic for, products that enrich their lifestyle. Currently; I lead our Mission and Brand Marketing at Thrive Market. So I quite literally bring our mission to life: making healthy living easy and accessible for all.
How does the act of “making” relate to your personality and who you are?
I am thoughtful in how I build and maintain relationships. Making people feel loved, empowered, respected, listened to, appreciated.. These are all things that fill my cup. The way I approach my friendships is more like a sisterhood. I wear my heart on my sleeve in relationships. I set out to make my house a home. I’m all in, you could say.
Tell us about your career journey to date. Did you always know you wanted to pursue this line of work?
I’ve been working in PR and Branding for over 12 years at this point. I started in the fashion space in Sydney, Australia and back in 2014 decided I needed to spread my wings and try my luck in the States. I packed up a bag and landed in LA with no plan, no job, no car, only a handful of friends.
I’m an ambitious and conscientious person, so quitting wasn’t really an option. After many interviews, many panic attacks, I serendipitously ended up opening the US showroom/HQ and retail store for Australian Fashion Labels, otherwise known as BNKR. Then after a few years transitioned to work for REVOLVE leading their PR and Talent strategy, helping build memorable experiences and showcasing the REVOLVE lifestyle through our events, activations and partnerships.
At the top of 2020, right before the pandemic exploded, I made the somewhat daunting but incredibly rewarding decision to transition out of fashion and into health/wellness/grocery. I knew I wanted to work for a mission driven company, a B corp, that equally prioritised people and the planet with profit. And here I am, working at Thrive Market.
Throughout the 12+ years of my professional career I’ve always maintained a creative side hustle or project — whether it be blogging, writing, interior design, learning a new skill. It’s been important to me to continue to challenge myself and balance work with pleasure, continuing to stimulate myself.
Talk us through your creative process. Where do you start?
Almost everything for me starts with words. I’m forever scribbling down lyrics to songs I love, phrases I hear, dog-earing pages of books I’m reading. When I approach the process of building a brand or anything really, I sit and immerse myself in the brand persona. She might be witty, bold, brave, or she might be subtle, nostalgic, tranquil. How does she think, speak, look? What are her brand values?
Next comes the colour and texture or visual identity, if you will. For example when decorating my home— I approached this project not only knowing I wanted a tranquil, charismatic space, but also endeavouring to use natural fibres and materials, muted tones.
What’s been the single most crucial tool or strategy you’ve used to further your career?
Be brave and be kind. It’s not a tool per se but it’s a mantra. PR/Marketing particularly in the fashion space can be a cut throat, high intensity environment and it’s always been important to me to stay true to myself, be kind to people, and know my value. Even if you’re surrounded by folks who might be older, more experienced, predominantly male, or “higher up on the social ladder”.. You’re in the room for a reason. This mantra guides me in my personal relationships too.
What’s been the most challenging lesson learnt so far in your career?
No is a one word answer. And it’s OK to say no. You don’t need to be available all the time, you don’t need to agree to take on every project, you similarly are not expected to be the BEST at everything. We all have our strengths, weaknesses and we most certainly all have differing bandwidths — respect yourself!
What’s been the best thing that’s happened to you since you started your career?
Shedding my imposter syndrome. It’s a real thing, even after a degree, after all the years of experience — to start to trust yourself, back yourself, really believe in yourself — that’s a big, real thing.
Do you have a single piece of advice you’d give to your younger self or someone looking to pursue a similar line of work?
Get ready to roll up your sleeves ;)
Now, the home stuff. How long have you lived in your home?
Just under a year!
How did you initially know this was the space for you?
Oof, we searched for over 6 months. We knew we wanted a small yard, hardwood floors, the craftsman charm Venice so often has to offer, and most importantly walkability to the beach and restaurants we love. Funnily enough we were actually leaving a showing just around the corner from our now home and on the walk back to the car we saw our home for lease.. giant tree in the front yard, two stories, craftsman style, on our favourite street in Venice.
We peeked through the window and I saw the classic built-ins in the dining room and my heart skipped a beat envisaging all the ways I could decorate. After a little negotiation to get the rent to a less scary place, we signed on the dotted line.
Did you do any renovations or make any big changes after moving in?
I wish -- we're currently renting but don’t you worry -- my brain and Pinterest boards are bursting with ideas for my first real home. Watch this space.
What was the thought process behind the way you’ve styled the interior?
I’d say our space is a mix of monastic modern x European farm style. Texture is king. I wanted to ensure we styled the space with sustainability in mind so plenty of vintage/antique furniture & finds, natural, neutral fibres. We have a large Matisse (print) hanging in the living space, and I’ve borrowed hints of the colour palette within to garnish the main living space.
Sage cushions, oatmeal throw, turmeric table linens, leafy greenery in all our vases. I’m even guilty of using seasonal fruit and veg as decor — artichokes, lemons, limes, pears and figs right now. Their bumps and bruises add as much texture and charisma to the space as anything else.
What are your favourite pieces in the home?
Our couch, it’s where we spend most of our time, where we cosy up with the pups, where we sit, sip wine and relax with friends. We made a conscious decision to invest in a couch we loved for those reasons. I also adore our tiny antique elm wood coffee table. She’s understated and very simply styled, but she’s perfect.
Lastly I can’t ignore our various found objects sourced by Olive Ateliers; Moroccan oil jars, vintage French vase, Indian wood parat trays, bowls, risers which I use both as decor and functional serveware whenever we host friends. Every piece is special and unique, and adds charm to the space.
Do you have any special décor pieces you’re looking to add?
Is this a trick question? Always. At the moment I’m on the hunt for original art. I don’t quite know what I want, but it’s time for a refresh. I’m also always buying and storing one off antiques, ready to install in my forever home one day.
Which is your favourite room in the house?
The bedroom, hands down. Our bedroom windows gaze over the tree tops of our street so we wake to greenery, which I love. I invested in a cosy Six Penny chair for Christmas last year and it was quite literally worth every penny. Honey, our oldest pup takes ownership of the chair come bedtime, which I should be upset by but I really don’t blame her.
Shop Kendall's look with our Oatmeal Bedding Set
What are your top tips for a well-styled bedroom, and home generally?
Keep it light and airy. Natural light is a must. Invest in good bedding, (cue bed threads) nothing is more important than sleep if you ask me.
For us it felt important to minimise the clutter — our bedroom is made up of a bed, a rug, our beautiful loveseat, our bedside stools and an oversized (and I mean, oversized) mirror. That’s about it. You don’t want to wake to chaos everyday. Same goes for the colour palette, we kept our bedroom to fresh white linens, sage green accents and of course antique woods. Mostly elm wood. The soft linen textures and muted/washed tones against the grainy, seen it all, reclaimed wood creates a tranquility every bedroom deserves.
Do you have any projects coming up you want to talk about?
Nothing I can announce just now, but watch this space!
For more from Kendall, follow her on Instagram @kndlsargeant