Tell us a little about this awesome home of yours!
The Architect of our home is Barbara Bestor and it was built in 2015. It’s part of 18 units in the same development that she calls the Blackbirds. She chose to build the Blackbirds in Elysian Heights because she felt it was one of the best locations for her homes to blend into the surrounding neighborhood. There’s common areas on the grounds filled with hand-picked flora and fauna that is sustainable and native to Southern California. Elysian Heights is one of LA’s older neighborhoods and is home to the Dodgers and LA’s steepest street, Baxter. It’s quiet and beautiful and there’s no where else in LA we’d rather live. It feels tucked away but is conveniently close to things we like to do like music, art, parks, restaurants.
What are 3 words to best describe your personal style?
KALI: Trend setting, industrial, patterns
KEITH: Simple, grunge, comfortable
Do you have a favorite artist or designer who has influenced your style?
Music has probably had a bigger influence on our style than anything else.
Is there a design philosophy that goes into your home design?
With a toddler it’s hard to say less is more- it’s more about creatively hiding and organizing our messes!
What would you say has most inspired your home's design?
To be honest we don’t think that hard about it. Our house sort of reflects our existing tastes. A lot of the last two years settling in has been about finding pieces that fill in the blanks and compliment the architectural design of the home. We always liked the timeless aesthetics from the 50s and 60s and we’re old enough to remember seeing more of this kind of furniture in our grandparents homes when we were kids during the early 80s. Call it a mix of nostalgia with timeless practicality but the midcentury aesthetic is also so prevalent in Southern California. LA’s visual heyday is very much a reflection of the 40s/50s/60s and living in this city you’re constantly reminded of this from the cafes, to the neon, to Dodgers Stadium. Our first apartment in Whitley Heights, for example, was a nicely restored, midcentury 4-plex. The landlords were also our neighbors and their place was an absolute time capsule. It really was such a cool place and great collection. I think that first place influenced us and we bought things on our budget at the time that complimented it. However with that being said, with a dog, cat and young toddler we don’t want to live in a museum and stress about collector pieces! You’re living with these things, they’re going to get worn in.
Is there a piece of furniture or decor your love most?
KALI: I really love my Danish Modern coffee table and our mid-century in style lamp that was hand made by a furniture designer in Highland Park and purchased from Sunbeam Vintage. It was worth the one month wait for him to build it!
KEITH: I’m pumped about our new Pro-ject turntable.
Where are your favorite places to shop for your home?
Sunbeam Vintage, Pasadena Flea Market, Etsy, Craigslist and even CB2, Living Spaces or IKEA on occasion. We’ve commissioned and found wonderful pieces on Etsy from the pillows on our bed to match our Pendleton bedspread to our lobster rope doormat from Maine. We also have pieces from random furniture stores on Melrose and La Brea. Our egg chair is from Modernica. Almost all of our outdoor plants are from Sunset Nursery. Our Coffee Table is from a furniture store that used to be in the Sunset Junction called “Living Room” that has since moved to Highland Park (http://www.livingroomhome.com/). We strive to get as much furniture as possible that is made in the United States. It’s hard to find but worth it. We love anything that is Americana.
What do you love most about your home?
We love the location most of all and the open floor plan. We always wanted to live in Topanga but could have never afforded it. The area way up Echo Park Ave and Elysian Heights feels almost as secluded and quiet. Kali first became aware of this neighborhood when she went to yoga at Yogala and vowed to live there some day.
And your biggest design challenge?
Fitting everything into our house without a garage! We had to get very creative with storage, donate or sell a lot of belongings. We went crazy at Container Store to fill up our underbed storage, we just bought a lovely 1950’s mid-century trunk at the Pasadena Flea Market for blankets and sweaters, and we have felt storage bins from IKEA to use in our huge surplus of built-in bookshelves. We still need to figure out where to put our bikes. Keith wants to have some boxes built to hang them on the wall, but at least almost everything finally has it’s place! Another huge challenge for us was hanging up all our art. We realized we simply don’t have enough wall space as before. Our next biggest challenge will come when we have another baby and have to accommodate all the toddler and newborn gear!
Speaking of children- how has the way you style your home changed since you became parents?
We now buy furniture with rounded corners and all of our storage bins are cloth for safety. We’re mindful that everything on bookshelves is earthquake-safe should objects fall. What really has always hindered us from having the furniture of our dreams is our clawing cat. That’s why we have no cloth furniture. All our couches and chairs must be leather or vinyl. This is why we keep going for Chesterfield couches!
Any advice you'd give to others who may be trying to find their own sense of style within their home?
Be true to yourself so that you build a cohesive style that isn’t contrived. We’ve been slowing building our home together since 2005 so it’s become a reflection of who we are as a couple. It helps if you commit to a look and run with it that way you become an expert at knowing where to find what you want. LA is a goldmine of mid-century finds but they are overpriced. Don’t be afraid to hit the road to find pieces you really love at a more affordable price and don’t be afraid to haggle! But it’s also just as fun to let the pieces find you and not put too much pressure on yourself or your wallet.
Chesterfield Sofa: Living Spaces
Closets: California Closets
Coffee table: Living Room in Highland Park (we looked at this same coffee table for years before we finally bought it)
Bar stools: Second hand, DWR. It was a happy coincidence that the wood matched the wood of our cabinets.
Art: (various) A lot of our art we bought at the galleries showing that artist’s work. We have an original painting from our friend Erin Garey that is gorgeous. Look her up on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/erin_garey_art_illustration/) and Etsy (https://www.etsy.com/shop/eringarey)! When we first moved to LA around 2005 we bought a lot of originals and giclees from The Hive Gallery in particular. We also have some prints from Thinkspace which is now in Culver City. Most of our frames are from Castelli Framing in Culver City. LA and Culver City artwalks always have some gems.
Outdoor bench: Kali was on a hunt for this exact type of glider for years. It’s from CoOp 28 on Vermont and has rusted considerably with age, but she loved the character it’s brought out in the glider. It was sitting in the window of the store and I bought it right when she saw it.
Rug: Wall Street Rugs on Wall street DTLA. Looking back we really wish we would have just gotten a rug from Pasadena flea market instead, but it was a good deal. Rugs are a tough choice because anything that is truly beautiful you don’t want to destroy walking on them!
Side table: Sunbeam vintage
Magazine rack: remodeling sale of some super rich people in the Hollywood Hills who wanted to redecorate
Floor lamp: IKEA
Curio cabinet: Craigslist, originally HD Buttercup