Telling Stories

Orange Grove Studios helps clients create their dream home
By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Orange Grove Studios/Submitted Photo

Stephen Lazar was designing and producing large-scale events for global tech companies and financial institutions when he discovered his passion for interior design. It quickly became his next chapter.

“I was flipping homes for myself and working with others on similar projects, and I became captivated by interior design,” he says.

“Currently, I put all my energy into interior design, especially with a slant toward incorporating sustainable and vintage products in my projects. Life is so much better with a little patina.”

While producing large-scale events, he began Green Owl Design in the Bay Area. Eventually, he moved to Pasadena, where he founded Orange Grove Studios.

“I am a mindful designer, concerned as much about the beauty of a design as I am about pragmatism and flow,” he says.

“My approach to design is open and explorative. Often I immerse myself in a project until I feel like I can move the puzzle pieces and shape the space. I don’t stop until I find an elegant modern solution that flows.”

Orange Grove Studios has evolved into a residential design firm that is focused on home, kitchen and garden living. Lazar and his team serve clients in Southern California, San Francisco and the wine country. 

The two firms were a long time coming. Lazar studied classical art and architecture at a small liberal arts college in the Midwest. He ended up in the hospitality world and learned the ropes of organization and project management. 

“My design sensibility was rooted in organization and project management. And my experience in hospitality and events prepared me to create warm comfortable environments for clients.” 

Lazar says planning large events use the same thought processes as interior design. He sees full home renovations as a large-scale event with an emphasis on the four “Fs” — flow, function, feeling and fun.

He’s particularly proud of two homes he recently redesigned. In Pasadena, he renovated the entry, living and dining rooms for a couple in the entertainment industry. Lazar worked with the clients to reupholster and refinish existing furnishings; edit their large collection of ceramics and art; and add new furniture, flea market finds and vintage art to the space.  

“We also added natural raffia wallpaper to the entry, a customized nickel gap wood wall treatment around the two-sided fireplace, and new stone for the fireplace mantels. It was great fun.”

Concurrently, he has taken on a full-home project in Rolling Hills.

“The couple is building their dream home for retirement with sweeping views of Catalina Island,” he says. “They went down to the studs as far as they could, and after year of construction they are finally at a point where the walls, windows and doors could be installed. 

“I worked with them on the general space planning, interior design, furniture selection and oversaw all of the interior and exterior surfaces including walls treatments, flooring, tile, kitchen cabinetry, lighting and plumbing fixtures. It continues to be a challenging project, but we are close.”

With both jobs, the homeowners have significant input. 

“The reality is my projects must reflect my clients. It tells their story of travel and family, their taste in art, their color and texture preferences. It’s my job to make sure all of the options I bring them are great. 

“That way, when they’re making a decision, there’s no wrong way to go.”

“My own personal style is very eclectic, a mix of art and life’s treasures combined with traditional and modern pieces that tell a story about how people live. That’s my job: telling stories.”

Orange Grove Studios — Pasadena


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