'Heavenly Swim' adorns the walls in The New York Times

Photographic Art Work by Matthew Farrar

Add a Vintage Find

Not every piece of furniture and accessory needs to be a showstopper. A single distinctive object can create a focal point and enhance the appearance of a larger space.

“One special thing can elevate a whole room,” said Vanessa Alexander, the founder of Alexander Design, in Santa Monica, Calif. “We always try to include something vintage or one of a kind in every room. It’s something that can’t be easily replicated and has a story.”

In one Malibu, Calif., home, Ms. Alexander added a 1950s chair by Osvaldo Borsani to a corner of the living room. It is as much a sculptural element, she noted, as a place to sit.

For her own home in Malibu, she found a perforated, brass-globe pendant lamp at a flea market and had it rewired as a statement piece for a sunroom. “It adds a textural moment,” she said. “And at night, it gives off a pattern” when illuminated.

A vintage 1950s chair by Osvaldo Borsani serves as a sculptural element in a Malibu, Calif., living room by Alexander Design.CreditSam Frost