A Glamorous & Intriguing Los Angeles Apartment

A Glamorous & Intriguing Los Angeles Apartment

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Esteban Cortez
Nov 15, 2017
After searching countless websites every day for months, Erik Kenneth Staalberg finally found his dream apartment: A pre-war Los Angeles apartment that's brimming with Old World charm. "I couldn't have found a better gem."
Image credit: Esteban Cortez
The apartment wasn't perfect, Erik says, and it needed lots of love. "It's been a complete passion project and continues to be everyday." He says his inspiration is "Bianca Jagger bareback riding a white horse into Studio 54 in 1977 for her 30th birthday."
Image credit: Esteban Cortez
Erik, a stylist, says he tries to improve his apartment little by little each day, whether it's something as simple as rearranging his art or replacing a switch plate. His goal is to make his apartment shine brighter every day; he brings in fresh flowers and burns sage often to bring good vibes.
Image credit: Esteban Cortez
My Style: Sentimental, symmetrical, and traveled. I strive to create a space that feels layered and assembled over time, however, still staying incredibly balanced and evenly mixed.
Image credit: Esteban Cortez
Erik says the apartment building's facade doesn't do the interior justice, so he wants to make the inside feel warm and welcoming. "It's a decaying courtyard filled with weeds and spooky hedges," he says of the building's entryway. "It doesn't reflect the beauty of this charming pre-war building!"
Image credit: Esteban Cortez
A collection of pages from a vintage pattern book at the entry complements the vintage charm of the apartment.
Image credit: Esteban Cortez
Biggest Indulgence: My cayenne velvet couch. It's not even that pricey, but it's what my entire living room orbits around and I'm very protective of it. I won't let any of my friends crash on it. Instead, I make them a bed on the floor because, yes, I'm that neurotic.
Image credit: Esteban Cortez
Erik went to dozens of estate sales searching for the perfect pendant light to hang over his desk. After a year, he finally found one and smiles every time he sees it. He found the three-legged chair (pictured at right) at the Melrose Trading Post in Los Angeles for $20. "I've recovered it three times and counting," he says.
Image credit: Esteban Cortez

Erik's art collection consists of estate sale finds, mementos from his travels, and a photograph by one of his favorite photographers ​Steph Morris.

Proudest DIY: I'm a big fan of having art well framed, but it often is so expensive, so I kinda "Frankenstein" some frames and make it into something stunning. I'll take a horrid art poster from Goodwill that might have a nice aged wooden frame and mix it with a pre-cut sage green matte at an art supply store and BOOM! I have something timeless and expensive looking.

Image credit: Esteban Cortez
The coffee table was built by Erik's grandfather in the 1950s. He says family heirlooms are his ultimate source for home decor. "Did you know things triple in style if they have a story behind them?" he says.
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What Friends Say: HELP ME WITH MY APARTMENT!

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The slatted mirror above Erik's desk is from Anthropologie.
Image credit: Esteban Cortez
The hallway entry leads to Erik's bedroom, bathroom, parlor and kitchen (not pictured in this tour).
Image credit: Esteban Cortez

Favorite Element: My pink parlor! For literally YEARS I've dreamed of having a pink formal dining room (It's true, ask my mom). So, the fact that I've actually achieved a design goal already is really inspiring. It's more of a parlor because of its size. I couldn't possibly fit a proper dinner party of eight in there. But it's the most delicious color of pink you can't help but be happy in it. The perfect place to entertain guests with strong cocktails and sexual innuendos.

Image credit: Esteban Cortez
Erik bought the pink vase at Stars Antique Market, one of his favorite antique malls in Hermosa Beach. "I've been collecting treasures from there since I was a kid. Tell Bonnie that Erik sent you!" Erik won the chandelier on the auction website Everything But the House. The large painting is an homage to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, whom Erik is obsessed with.
Image credit: Esteban Cortez
The dining chairs were inherited from Erik's late cousin Heather. "She's who I got my style from," Erik says. They found them while they were shopping at one of their favorite vintage furniture stores in Los Angeles, Wertz Brothers Furniture.
Image credit: Esteban Cortez
The 1930s radio on the shelf belonged to Erik's great-grandmother.
Image credit: Esteban Cortez
A portrait of each character from Sex & the City hangs in Erik's parlor.
Image credit: Esteban Cortez
Image credit: Esteban Cortez
The door at right leads to a tiny kitchen, which is a design project Erik hopes to start soon.
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From the parlor, a view of the hallway that leads to Erik's bedroom.
Image credit: Esteban Cortez
Erik's bedroom is bright, yet moody, thanks in part to the light coming from the Himalayan salt lamp on the floor. The thick knit blanket was a hand-me-down from a co-worker; Erik says he loves to use it in his styling projects.
Image credit: Esteban Cortez
Best Advice: Stop thinking style is expensive. It's all a matter of how much energy you are willing to put into it. Did I enjoy searching every estate sale and flea market for a year looking for the perfect pendant light to hang over my desk? No, but I knew I would be able to find something badass that wouldn't break my bank.
Image credit: Esteban Cortez
The bedroom rug is from Dash & Albert. The accordion lights were a gift from Erik's mom when he was in high school. "They were from Pottery Barn Teen!" he says.
Image credit: Esteban Cortez
A large mirror placed opposite the bedroom window bounces natural light to make the space brighter.
Image credit: Esteban Cortez
Image credit: Esteban Cortez
The small framed art was originally from an invitation to Erik's brother's wedding.
Image credit: Esteban Cortez
Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge I face with my rented 1930s apartment is undoing the damage that has already been done to it before I got here. Most of the original fixtures and hardware have been broken, improperly painted hundreds of times, or been replaced with the cheapest product available in 1991. The original tile that is still intact and chipped, cracked and in desperate need of a re-grout sesh...STAT! So, I do my best to save what is historic and well-preserved, and try and replace what's ruined and ugly.
Image credit: Esteban Cortez
Though Erik would change his bathroom if he could, he's made peace with it and attempts to make it feel like a spa.
Image credit: Esteban Cortez
He does his best to save what is well-preserved and tries to replace what is "ruined and ugly."
Image credit: Esteban Cortez
"Suite 4 in my building is known for the characters parading in and out, the disco blasting out of the record player, and constant cackling out the window," Erik says. "It's a watering hole for good times: a space that feels equal parts glamours and intriguing. It has officially become my temple."
Image credit: Esteban Cortez
Thanks, Erik!
Image credit: Submitted by Erik
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Name: Erik Kenneth Staalberg
Location: Miracle Mile — Los Angeles, California
Size: 1,000 square feet
Years lived in: 1.5 years, rented

After searching countless websites every day for months, Erik finally found his dream apartment: A charming, pre-war historic building in Los Angeles' Miracle Mile. Though it wasn't perfect when he moved in, its been a complete passion project and continues to be everyday. Each day, Erik might rearrange his art collection or replace a switch plate, which makes all the difference — each day, it shines brighter, he says.

As soon as he moved in, he knew he wanted to fill it with only things he loves: family heirlooms, unique art, and lots of texture. It's always a work in progress, but Erik already feels as though his apartment is his temple — a place where he can feel inspired each day and a space where he can entertain his eccentric friends. "Suite 4 in my building is known for the characters parading in and out, the disco blasting out of the record player, and constant cackling out the window," he says. "It's a watering hole for good times — a space that feels equal parts glamorous and intriguing."

Resources:

PAINT
Living room — Benjamin Moore's Swiss Coffee
Parlor — Benjamin Moore's Unspoken Love
Bathroom — Benjamin Moore's Everglades

LIVING ROOM
Sofa — West Elm
Coffee table — Built by my grandfather in his garage in the 1950s
National park photograph on credenza — Steph Morris
Mirror above desk — Anthropologie
Three-legged chair — Fairfax Flea ( I've recovered it three times and counting!)

PARLOR
Dining chairs — Inherited from my late cousin Heather
Chandelier — EBTH
1930s radio — Belonged to my great grandmother
Woven rug — Target
Pink vintage vase on dinning table — Antique mall in Hermosa Beach

BEDROOM
Rug — Dash & Albert
Cream thick-knit blanket — Hand-me-down from a co-worker (thanks Tessa!)
Accordion sconces — Gift from mom when I was in high school
Love at First Sight art — From an invitation to my brother's wedding
Shag pillow right now — CB2

BATHROOM
Towels — Target
Bath bombs — Whole Foods Market
Gallery wall — Art collected throughout my travels
White linen curtains — Made by my dear friend Ross
Alarm clock — Pottery Barn

Thanks, Erik!


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