Bonabode Visits: Sofie Howard


Above: Sofie with her Vizsla, Albert.

Above: Carved seating and an Acapulco chair in the entry courtyard.

Sofie Howard is a force. She founded Commune Images, a division of Commune Design; went on to form an eponymous fine-arts agency, representing artists including Larry Clark and Lisa Eisner; and serves as an art buyer and global photo producer for Beats by Dre.

An LA native who raised her two grown sons in Santa Monica, Sofie found her current home four years ago, when her real estate agent called about a teardown that had hit the market steps from the beach on one of Venice’s “walk-streets.” She immediately recognized the home's potential and enlisted Frances Merrill of Reath Design to uncover its charm and bring the Craftsman-style cottage, built by the prominent Sepúlveda family in 1910, back to life. To that end, they replaced plastic wall paneling with real wood, exposed ceiling beams, and applied layers of pattern and color. The resulting mix – which includes Marthe Armitage wallpaper, Heath Ceramics tile, custom stained glass, and eclectic textiles – perfectly reflects Sofie’s warmth and her playful spirit.

A separate modern guest house designed by architect David Hertz adds a media room with an extra-deep custom sofa that encourages friends to pile on, and a roof deck that serves as the site of many of Sofie’s parties.

Enjoy a peek inside Sofie’s home, as well as a Q&A with her below.

Above L: The sitting room is covered in handprinted Marthe Armitage wallpaper. Above R: Quilts were dyed and used to upholster a wicker chair.

Above: In the dining room, a custom table and Thonet dining chairs upholstered in Liberty fabric sit beside a wood stove that is original to the house.

Above: Sofie’s favorite piece, a custom velvet corner sofa, under a multi-bulb Rewire light.

Above: Sheepskin-covered dining chairs surround an antique table. The glass pendant is an antique Handel fixture.


Above: Kitchen cabinets were painted in the original kitchen color. Laminate wall panels were replaced with wood throughout the house.

Q&A with Sofie

Can you share a bit about your background and upbringing?

I was born and raised in LA. We are a very sporty family and like to be outside all the time, preferably near the ocean to surf or the mountains to ski.

What is the best piece of advice you've received?

"Put some lipstick on, it’ll make you feel better,” from my mom.

Above L: The master bedroom is centered around a custom bedframe with a Hästens mattress in beige check. Above R: A bedside clawfoot tub sits beneath a Picasso drawing.

Above: Green marble, Heath Ceramics tile, and vintage light fixtures in Sofie’s bathroom.

What does success mean to you?

Success is feeling grateful for all the generations of my amazing family and everything they have taught me.

Above: Details from Sofie’s sons' rooms.

How long have you been in your home? How did you find it?

I’ve been here for 4 years. My realtor called to tell me she found a total teardown. Obviously, it was the opposite.

Explain a bit about your design process.

I like wacky old things that come with a story.


Above: A detached modern guest house built behind the cottage includes a media room with an extra-deep custom couch. Mexican ceramic tile in the guest bathroom.

Do you have a favorite piece?

My pale blue velvet couch. I’m so crazy about it, I don’t serve red wine at my parties because I don’t want it to get ruined.

Any rituals that make you feel most at home?

Sparking up the espresso machine. 

Thank you, Sofie!


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TourKelly Bergin