Name: Clare Vivier & Thierry Vivier
Location: Echo Park - Los Angeles, California
Size: 2000 square feet
Years lived in: 10 years
Clare and Thierry did what many of us love to see - restored and appreciated the character of an over 100-year-old Craftsman home. They made the home comfortable and contemporary for their needs, but also complemented its original architecture. Thierry even built two bungalows in the backyard, which look like they were original to the home, for extra storage and his office.
Not only do Clare and Thierry have a beautiful old home, but you can also tell that they thoroughly enjoy their home with friends and family. Nothing in the home is too precious and everything is meant to be enjoyed. The backyard is definitely meant for parties and summertime fun with a ping pong table, trampoline, garden, and a large grass area to entertain.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Mix of vintage and modern finds, French antiques from travels in France, plus cozy pieces for our family to feel comfortable.
Inspiration: I'm not sure if we had inspiration in decorating the house; it just had to be comfortable and in good taste. We've been here for 10 years and we've gone through a lot of changes in that time; having a child and raising him, different careers, etc. and I think we're in a different place in our life and our house reflects that.
Favorite Element: My favorite element of the house is the fact that we're up so high that no one can look into our house and we don't really need curtains. And...also because of this I love the light throughout the house.
Biggest Challenge: How to make such an old house look modern. Also, a challenge for us has been when to update things. When you're in a house for a while (we've been here for 10 years), sometimes you don't notice that things have gotten stale looking and could really use a spruce up. It's a challenge to look at your home with new eyes. A house is constantly a work in progress.
What Friends Say: I think they think it is charming. And there are usually 3 things that people are surprised by: how old it is - 1905; how big the backyard is; and the fact that my husband built the bungalows in the backyard himself (he's not a carpenter by trade; he says he built them by reading a how-to book).
Biggest Embarrassment: My dining room chairs and table. They are pretty oak wood, but they squeak horribly and make for loud dinner parties - but not in a good way. I really abhor them and they've been first on my list of things to replace in the house for a long time, but somehow other things keep getting done before that. If we could replace just the chairs alone I'd be so happy, but dining chairs are hard to find!
Proudest DIY: We bought the house 10 years ago in really poor shape, but it was so light-filled with enough room for us, we knew we could make it wonderful. My husband, who is responsible for most of the work in the house, would say his proudest DIY projects are the 3 structures in the backyard. He built two sheds because these old houses have almost no closets and a bungalow which is his office. The cool thing about his bungalow is that the inspiration for it came after we found the 5 French doors which encircle it on 3 sides. We found the doors (which were saved from a demolished house in Beverly Hills) first at Santa Fe Salvage in LA and then we designed it and he built it. The one thing I did and that I'm proud of was lay the hexagonal tile in our downstairs bathroom.
Biggest Indulgence: I don't think we have any big indulgences in terms of fancy big ticket pieces, so my indulgences are more the things that make the house pleasurable, like having an open shower with a window in it where we can spy the Hollywood sign. And because I have a lot of clothes - probably my biggest indulgence is devoting a whole room for my closet.
Best Advice: In regards to stuff around the house, if it's clutter toss it. White sheets are calming. When your house overwhelms you clean your kitchen sink, you'll feel better. If you can afford it, get a housekeeper to help you out.
Dream Sources: Parisian flea markets, JF Chen, Nickey Kehoe in LA, ABC Carpet & Home in NY
Resources of Note:
- Blue Star stove/oven
- LG fridge
- Maytag dishwasher
- Vintage French
- West Elm
- Pasadena CC flea market
- Oak - first floor
- Redwood - second floor
TILE & STONE
Thanks Clare & Thierry!
Images: Marcia Prentice
• HOUSE TOUR ARCHIVE Check out past house tours here
• Interested in sharing your home with Apartment Therapy? Contact the editors through our House Tour Submission Form.
• Are you a designer/architect/decorator interested in sharing a residential project with Apartment Therapy readers? Contact the editors through our Professional Submission Form.