Elizabeth Lamont reminisces on decades of interior designing in Malibu
With a changing retail climate over the past two years, a longtime business bade a fond farewell to the Malibu Country Mart last Monday. Room at the Beach, the interior design store beloved by many Malibu residents, consolidated with a move to Pacific Palisades.
“Malibu’s always been near and dear to my heart,” said Elizabeth Lamont, the owner of Room at the Beach.
The Malibu resident opened her shop in 1995 and for the last 17 years held a strong presence amidst the changing retail establishments at one of Malibu’s original shopping centers.
“Running the store in Malibu has been a labor of love and we had a fantastic clientele,” she said.
The store carried beautiful home décor curated by Lamont, an in-demand interior designer. Lamont’s eye for a “clean, modern, California style with a classic twist” attracted homeowners throughout Malibu and beyond whose desire to bring nature indoors was a chief inspiration.
Along with beautiful household decorations, linens, tableware and jewelry, what made Room at the Beach so special to Malibu residents were the many classes Lamont hosted at the store. For years the doyenne of décor presided over cooking classes, flower arranging and health and wellness events.
“That was never something we ever made a lot of money on,” Lamont said. “It was just something we wanted — to be part of the community. It was a fun space. We were really a big part of the community and we were so grateful for all the support that we got from celebrities, Pepperdine University and Malibu residents that have enjoyed our selections for many years.”
For nearly 30 years, Lamont has been designing interiors of Malibu homes.
When the Woolsey Fire put a halt on many projects Lamont expanded her business in 2019 into Pacific Palisades, “just ten miles down Pacific Coast Highway.” She along with four other designers work on new-builds, kitchens, bathrooms — “everything,” she described along with “pretty bedding, tabletop and all that we’re known for.” The Palisades business took off. It’s now called simply “Elizabeth Lamont” located at Palisades Village on Sunset Boulevard.
“Happily, a lot of our clients from Malibu, Agoura, Calabasas and the Valley have found us, but we wanted our Malibu customers to know it was an important decision for us to consolidate into the new location we built. It has a big design studio. It makes everything more efficient,” Lamont said.
Customers are using Elizabeth Lamont for projects all over Southern California and all over the country. Homeowners from Hawaii to Chicago and beyond are turning to her for interior design, but she says her customer base remains from Santa Barbara to Manhattan Beach.
“I’m a small store, owner-operated business, and I really like to see everybody,” Lamont said. “I like to be part of the community, know people, know their kids. We’re now doing interior design for the next generation. Our clients’ children are now getting homes and we’re helping them.
It’s a very small-town kind of business that I’ve always wanted and I’ve been lucky to have that business both here in Malibu and the Palisades as well.
Nature, as anybody who lives here in California, inspires me every day with all the colors: the greens moving into blues, all the natural sand colors, blacks and taupes, those are all the things that speak to me.”
Lamont described decorating hundreds of homes, especially in Serra Retreat and Broad Beach.
“The fun thing about our relationship with Malibu is that we’ve done so many events with charities, with Pepperdine, Viewpoint, with all the schools,” she said. “That’s been a big part of what we’ve done and I’m very proud of that. What was important to me was that people invited us into their homes to help them do interior design. It’s a very small town.”
Lamont also has “high ticket” visitors to Malibu.
“Every single year we get a renter of a mega house in the Colony or elsewhere,” she said. “They’ll come in and buy all new dinnerware, bedding, and outdoor wear so they have their own grouping of stuff. They use it while they’re here and then they send it back home. It always makes me chuckle that people are that specific, but I love detail.
“Our Malibu clientele, we love and appreciate them. We’ll miss seeing them on a daily basis, but we’re just 10 miles down PCH. We hope you’ll come by and see us.”