Katie and Andrew's Tasteful, Vintage East Los Angeles Home

Katie and Andrew's Tasteful, Vintage East Los Angeles Home

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Jessica Isaac
Dec 8, 2015
(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Name: Katie Costick and Andrew Nielson
Location: Boyle Heights — Los Angeles, California
Size: 1,300 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years; Owned

Our lovely homeowner Katie hails from “across the pond,” and she’s styled her East Los Angeles home with the sophistication and refinement often associated with her English roots. Colorful pieces reminiscent of sunny Southern California are juxtaposed with classic landscapes and updated vintage pieces to create a polished aesthetic that feels warm and inviting.

It’s no surprise that Katie Costick—of KCC Interiors—has a background in interior design. Her home, which she shares with her husband, is rich with diverse pieces of art and vintage furniture. In this bright and airy house, gorgeous vintage oil paintings live in perfect harmony with Doctor Who memorabilia. Vintage London landscapes and cartoon action figures propped against well-worn books speak volumes about those who reside here. These well-edited sentimental pieces proudly displayed throughout the home surely contribute to its welcoming energy.

By grouping her possessions into collections, Katie has turned a passion for thrifting into a way to decorate her home. She made her cross-stitch wall in the hallway feel updated and put-together by painting each vintage frame the same color, while antique tins in the kitchen were given a home on two simple shelves above the dining nook. Each room in Katie’s home is tastefully decorated with a perfect balance of color, texture, and character.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: California cool/mid-century modern mixed with traditional English style. Plus some whimsy in there to add something of the unexpected.

Our home was pretty much a blank canvas when we bought it. All the original features had been ripped out, even though there were signs of built-ins and a fireplace. So we wanted to add some character where we could with crown molding, etc. The decor itself was experimental so that I could play with and change as I went along if it didn't work. I still change things on a regular basis!

Our home is like one big art palette for me, allowing me to play with color and rearrange stuff. I'm from the UK, which is mostly very drab weather-wise and rainy with lots of grey buildings basically, but packed full of history. So when I moved to California my eyes became wide open with the color all around me.

My biggest love in life (apart from Andrew of course) is color. I loved the gorgeous sunsets, blue skies, lush greenery, deserts, mountains, palm trees, bougainvillea and it hugely influenced my style. Also, mid-century modern is not that common an aesthetic as it is here and so that was a new love for me also. My husband is more in to clean lines and modern therefore mid century was a good balance. Of course I still love my British roots like tufted arm chairs, antique lamps and turn of the century 1800s pottery pieces and beautiful ornaments. I think you could call our house style Cali-Brit with a touch of geekery. I think that sums it up!

Inspiration: Trisha Guild at Designers Guild is my favorite designer. Everything is so fresh and colorful—she’s the cutting edge of design, in my opinion. I love how she mixes traditional with modern. My recent visit to Palm Springs really inspired me hugely. I visited Trina Turk’s store and was in heaven; I wanted to buy everything.

Jonathan Adler, Osborne & Little, Liberty of London. Also Australia is really crushing it with amazing independent stores and artists. Magazines like Inside Out, Real Living, and Adore are bursting with inspiration.

My mum has always been a big influence throughout my life. She has great taste and always kept things simple and elegant using a mix of modern and antiques, something I do to this day with my own interior style. And, of course, my Auntie who lives in London, England. She has been a constant source of inspiration my whole life. She’s been collecting vintage/up-cycling/thrifting/buying “junk” since the '70s before it became trendy. She’s my original muse and paragon and always will be.

Favorite Element: Probably the office with my notice board where I pin up my design ideas for a fabric line I’m working on, keep track of my Etsy store inventory, and display my artwork. I have all my paints, brushes, and interiors books so I can really get down to creating something.

Biggest Challenge: So many things in this house were in very poor condition when we bought it. The original floors couldn’t be salvaged so we had to redo the whole house. I was hoping it would be like a DIY show where they pull up the carpets and find pristine hardwoods. Alas, it was the opposite and they were falling apart and majorly damaged. We found rot in the framing in the bathrooms—that was a nasty surprise as well!

What Friends Say: How homely it feels and put together. Granted, we aren’t renting, but the personal touches are what makes the decor work. Artwork, special treasures, throw pillows, collections, plants, photographs, that’s what really makes a home.

Biggest Embarrassment: The yard. After the updates needed in the house, the yard was an afterthought (both front and back). The back is especially bad and nothing grows because we have two huge trees that take all the light. But I’m determined to do some DIY to make it work.

Proudest DIY: Probably the DIY marble coffee table. I had a piece of marble left from a job which was the perfect size. I had some hairpin legs screwed to some plywood for a base and plopped it on top—I love it! Also, the funny Granny-type bench in the kitchen I refinished myself and then the upholsterer recovered it.

Biggest Indulgence: The floors (again!). We needed floors so it was a no-brainer we had to do it. The originals were bowing, damaged by both water and fire, and unsafe to walk on.

Best Advice: There are so many resources out there for inspiration it can be overwhelming. I love so many styles and aesthetics I’m constantly updating and changing things, but that’s my choice and I love to do it. If you’re not sure, take your time. Pinterest can be helpful, keep editing it down until you have just the very key things you love that will work for you and your lifestyle but also reflects your personality. Also, don’t try to cram in furniture that’s too large for the room. Sometimes you have to accept that it’s just not going to work.

Dream Sources: Oh crumbs, there are so many! Designers Guild, Jonathan Adler, Safavieh, West Elm and the Kate Spade collection, Trina Turk, Dwell Studio, Anthropologie, Osbourne & Little, T.I.N.I., Liberty, Rejuvenation. A bunch of Australian stores like Jumbled, The Family Love Tree, Arro Home, JK Collective, Urban Road, Bonnie & Neil. Artwork from Britt Bass, Belinda Marshall, Deeann Reeves, Emily Jeffords.

Resources

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

PAINT & COLORS

  • Living room nook: Porter’s Paints Amulet
  • Kitchen nook accent wall: Farrow & Ball Blue Green
  • Guest bedroom accent wall (above): French Blue, I think Valspar but can’t remember
  • Laundry room accent wall: Farrow & Ball Blue Green
  • All other walls: Farrow & Ball All White
(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

ENTRY

We don’t really have one but...

  • Side table: yard sale, repainted
  • Round dish: thrift store
  • Spectacles holder: thrift store
  • Tower Bridge of London painting: thrift store
(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

LIVING ROOM

  • Natural fiber rug: IKEA
  • Blue rug layered on top: Surya
  • Throw pillows: designed and custom-made by me with Kelly Wearstler and Designers Guild fabrics
  • Silk kimono throw pillow: designed by me for my Etsy store—I kept this one!
  • Marble table: DIY
  • Glass side table: thrift store
  • Lamp: CB2
  • Light shades: Lamps Plus
  • Vintage TV console: free
  • Record player: Craigslist—we gutted it, as it didn’t work, and now use it as storage.
  • Metal shelf: Pottery Barn
  • Mid-century cabinet: T.I.N.I. on Fairfax in LA
  • Two armchairs: thrift stores, reupholstered with Designer's Guild & other fabrics
  • Bits and bobs, glassware, and accessories: all thrift stores or gifts apart from the Star Wars/Doctor Who items (which are my husband’s)
  • Seascape painting: yard sale
  • Sunset artwork: yard sale, reframed
(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

KITCHEN

  • Cabinets: original 1970s cabinets, repainted
  • Counter: Caesarstone
  • Subway tile: Daltile
  • Floor tile: Daltile
  • Lights: Lowe's
  • Milk bottle light: online store—I don’t remember the name!
  • Wooden bench: Craigslist, upcycled
  • Dining table: IKEA
  • Shelves: gift
  • Items on shelves: thrift stores, gifts
  • Artwork: thrift stores, yard sales
(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

BEDROOM

  • Wallpaper: Hermès, a wedding gift
  • Bed: IKEA
  • Bedding: IKEA
  • Moroccan wedding blanket: wedding gift actually from Morocco
  • Glitter pillows: designed and custom-made by me
  • Trunk: St. Vincent De Paul
  • Rug: Surya
  • Nightstands: Craigslist
  • Lamps: IKEA
  • Lampshades: Lamps Plus
  • Ornate blue mirror: thrift store, repainted
  • Green dish: thrift store
  • Collection of pill boxes, etc.: my paternal grandma, thrift stores, gifts
  • Landscape art: my maternal grandma
  • Bird art: thrift store
  • Desert sketch: yard sale
  • Other artwork: by me
  • Blue frames: Anthropologie
  • Other frames: IKEA
(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

GUEST BEDROOM

  • Bed: designed and custom-made by me
  • Pillows: designed and custom-made by me with Threads and Designers Guild fabrics
  • Bench: thrift store, reupholstered
  • Grey table: a gift, refinished
  • Lamps: yard sales
  • Lampshades: Lamps Plus
  • Side tables: IKEA with new hardware
  • Dresser: IKEA with new hardware
  • Mirrors and blue glass bottle: yard sales, gifts
  • Artwork: thrift stores, yard sales
(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

BATHROOMS

  • Vanities: Home Depot
  • Subway tile: Daltile
  • Hex tile: Daltile
  • Faucets: online
  • Fabric Sierra artwork: DIY made with thrift store fabric (master bath)
  • Needlepoint Los Angeles picture: thrift store
  • Other artwork: thrift stores, made by me
(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

OFFICE

  • Desk: IKEA
  • Desk organizer and files: Martha Stewart
  • Chairs: Overstock.com
  • Lamp: IKEA
  • Shelves: IKEA
  • Rolling cart: IKEA
  • Short shelves, small dresser, and filing cabinet: thrift stores, free
  • Cushions: my Etsy store, KCC Interiors
  • Baskets for pillows: IKEA
  • Antique bottle collection: dug out of the ground in England from a Victorian rubbish tip!
  • Bits and bobs, accessories: thrift stores, gifts
  • Artwork: all original by me apart from large pink flowers
(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

LAUNDRY ROOM

  • Cabinet: Craigslist with DIY updates
  • Palms curtain: DIY
  • Artwork: thrift stores, yard sales

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Thanks, Katie!

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