Alexis & Brooks' Charming West Hollywood Apartment

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Name: Alexis Finc and Brook Heintzelman
Location: West Hollywood; Los Angeles, CA
Size: 1,000 square feet
Years lived in: 1.5 years; Rented

Alexis and Brooks​ met in school in Wilmington, NC while pursuing graduate degrees in creative writing (him: fiction, her: poetry). But after graduating, a job brought them to the West coast — sunny LA to be exact — somewhere they never thought they would ever live. Their apartment today looks nothing like the dirty, cramped place they first viewed when they were looking to find a home in the city. (Two young guys with massive black leather couches were the tenan​ts at the time). However, Alexis saw the potential in the space and fell in love with the green framed windows, hardwood floors, decorative tiles on the Spanish inspired fire place, and all the natural light coming into the living area and kitchen. She quickly transformed the apartment into a cozy, personal space where she, Brooks, and their cat, Bear, could live. 

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A good portion of the furniture and accessories are vintage and random finds. Alexis is always scouring the Rose Bowl and Long Beach Flea Markets on Sundays to find quirky, conversational pieces that stand out. While it's hard to appreciate each of the pieces as stand alone items, when Alexis mixes and matches them, the room looks beautiful and cohesive like it was all meant to be.

When I toured her home, I loved how Alexis had a story just about everything, from the distressed kitchen table that Brooks had proudly found himself to the library card catalog that Alexis had found as a birthday present for him and lugged all the way from the East Coast. They even built the bookcases that lined the walls of their living room with unfinished wood to store their vast book collection. This home looks like it is truly lived in, making the imperfections of an older home even more endearing.

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style:  I would say our style is modern, rustic comfort — with a touch of the past. Basically, we wanted our place to look like the objects and furniture had been collected over time, nothing too matchy-matchy, and everything was 100 percent loved.

Favorite Element:  The house has a lot of charm — hardwood floors, great crystal door knobs, lots of windows in the kitchen — and was built in the 1920s. It was those little details that made us really want to live here.

Biggest Challenge:  As with any old house, there are cracks in the walls, random wires sticking out of the walls, bad linoleum in the kitchen, and not enough closets. 

What Friends Say:  "You have a lot of books!" "This place feels like a real home," and "I want you to help decorate my place." 

Proudest DIY:  Probably our wrap around bookshelf in the living room. When we first moved here, we didn't have much money, but we had a ton of books. We knew we didn't want to go the Ikea route, so we designed a bookshelf made out of planks and cinder blocks. To make it not look so makeshift, we stained the planks, and covered the cinder blocks with foam board covered with a graphic fabric. Most people assume the shelves are built-ins, so we love to show them the hidden cinder blocks.

Biggest Indulgence:  Our couch. It's probably the most expensive adult purchase we've made — but we did a ton of research, customized it, and made sure it would last a long time with stain proofing, etc.

Best Advice:   Most of our furniture is from thrift shops, flea markets, and Craigslist; then we did the necessary work to make it look great. We also have a deeper appreciation of the piece since we've spent time working with it. I always say you don't need a lot of money to have a great place, you just need a little imagination and be willing to do some work.

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Resources of Note:

LIVING ROOM

  • Bookshelf - Planks and cinder blocks from Home Depot; fabric from Ikea
  • Couch - SofaCraft
  • Rug - Target
  • Mustard-colored chair - Thrift store
  • Large print by TV - Print by Tod Seelie
  • Ram head - West Elm
  • Small desk - Thrift Store
  • Lamp on desk - Target
  • Sea captain - Flea market
  • Card catalog - Craigslist
  • Red lounger chair - Thrift store
  • Replica Eames LCW chair - Craigslist
  • Coffee table - Bought off a friend
  • Print above mantel - EBay
  • Virgin Mary picture - flea market
  • Pink Vase - Ikea
  • Indoor plants - Rolling Greens in LA

EATING NOOK

  • Chairs - Craigslist; chair pads from Home Depot
  • Piano - Craigslist
  • Table - Thrift Store
  • Rug - Iranian from Flea Market
  • Print in white frame - from Print show
  • Print above piano - Amazon
  • Lamp on piano - family piece
  • Clock: Flea Market

KITCHEN

  • Cake plate - gift from friend
  • Carafes - bargain tabletop store in LA
  • Wooden bowl - Ikea
  • Eye chart light - Ikea
  • Cloth napkins - World Market
  • Danish candlesticks - flea market
  • Trays - Target, Crate and Barrel
  • Indoor plants - Rolling Greens in LA

BEDROOM

  • Nightstand: Antique Store in North Hollywood
  • Lamps: Target
  • Clock: Long Beach Flea Market
  • Horse: Rose Bowl Flea Market
  • Quilt on bed: Rose Bowl Flea Market
  • Bed - Ikea
  • Pillows - Ikea
  • Duvet - Matteo
  • Map - School surplus sale
  • Beagle accessory - Thrift store
  • Sleep in banner - Unique LA craft sale

BATHROOM

  • Shower Curtain: Target
  • Bath Mat: Target
  • Towels: TargetRattan
  • Drawers: World Market
  • Pictures: Color Copies of Audubon's Birds of America
  • Frames: They were super cheap, but I forget where
  • Bird Figurines: Old Time Pottery in North Carolina

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Thanks, Alexis & Brooks!

(Images: Monica Wang)

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