House Tour: Karen and James Colour Commitment

Los Angeles

Name: Karen Kimmel & James Bond
Location: Los Feliz, CA
Size: 2800 sq. ft.
Years lived in: 8 years

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Former ATLA contributor Jonathan Lo has returned for a moment to grace us with one fantastic house tour of his Los Feliz friends, Karen and James. Some of you might recognize James as the co-owner of LA kicks institution, Undefeated (a spot just down the street from us where we've spent a few dollars gracing our feet in the choicest of footwear ourselves) and his former fashion spot, KBond. And Karen's work has been profiled over at ATNY before. No surprise that the Bonds home is as remarkably stylish and sophisticated as the stores they own and operate...

What we're most impressed is the way that the Bond's home is a pleasing integration of "adult" aesthetics and colour schemes with those of the rooms belonging to their children. They call it a compromise, but we think their home is an inspiration for those parents who want to retain an element of fun while also preserving the look of a "grown up" household. Most notably, their extensive collection of artwork throughout the home works as an aesthetic bridge between the different looks of the home, connecting youth and age, bright colours with more neutral decor, and tying classic and trendy elements all into a harmonized home with that work cohesively despite the unique decor that resides in each room.

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AT Survey:

My/Our style: Comfortable modern, the bones of the house are modern, sunken living room, open floor plan. We wanted these elements to function well for both family hanging and entertaining, but we were unwilling to live in the middle of a kids play area, so we had to figure out a way to make everyone happy and not compromise on the kids fun or our aesthetics, I love a challenge!!

The Inspiration for my home: Looking at color and finding what worked well with the furniture we already had was a real departure point, my affinity for color and how it sets a tone and energy for a place was fun to play with. Each room has a particular commitment to a color palette which helped inform the personality of the room and inspire what we bought for it and the artwork we hung etc....Using blocks of color helped us define space and create a visual relationship with the placement of furniture.

Favorite Element: The aspect of our home that continues to bring us such ongoing pleasure is our organic raised bed garden on the side of the house. I used to look out my kitchen and just see rocks, now it is an ever-transforming living thing that yields the most delightful array of fruits and vegetables. It is so fun to go out in the morning or at dusk with the kids and see what has grown and is ready to be eaten.

Biggest Challenge: To be honest, I am a tad design fickle and what is my favorite home innovation today, can easily be wooed over by some other innovative remarkable vision of design tomorrow. So committing to big pieces of furniture was challenging, in the end I went for classic strong design elements that have legs and would not fall quickly out of favor as soon as the next shinny innovative design thing came dancing across the pages of Met Home, Dwell etc. but even so, I struggle with wanting to change things up, because I get tired of one look. Right now modern design is so over done, I kind of have the longing for a more simple, natural rustic farm look with a big open kitchen, a huge organic garden and a big outdoor community table where everyone can meet up for family meals, or perhaps maybe something with a cotemporary crisp Mediterranean vibe with lots of white comfy furniture, clean lighting and a big saltwater pool surrounded by lemon trees…oops sorry, just doing some dreaming.

What Friends Say: The hugest complement to me is when people say how comfortable they are here and what any easy house it is to live in. Sometimes people can’t help but comment on my obsessive need for order. Organization is kind of my thing, I get that it isn’t for everyone, but it hard for me to think straight when things get messy.

Biggest Embarrassment: My backyard, it has soooooo much potential, but we have had a hard time committing to it, first we thought we would save up for a pool, then we had two kids and got scared off, now it has just gotten a bit forgotten. Recently, I have been inspired by the thought of espalier fruit trees across the entire perimeter wall, but who knows??

Proudest DIY: The last DYI moment that gave me the tickle of self-satisfaction was making these wooden and ceramic herb gardens. Felt good to get my hands in the dirt and make something that was alive.

Biggest Indulgence: With out question it is our art collection. We love art and are so inspired by it, anytime we have a little extra doe-reh-me, we try and invest in something we love and want to look at.

Best Advice given or received: My mother always new how to make a house feel like a home, she filled it with beautiful things, interesting people and delicious food, it was a lovely feeling. She did it for us and I am striving to do that for my family. I guess the best advice I can give, is let your personality come through when you make something. No one can do you like you do.

Dream source: So many places to shop. Traveling always reveals such unexpected inspiration and resources and you can pick up things that are truly special because they are infused with the adventure of the trip. I love looking at the treasure trove of high and low design at Moss, especially their NY store on Greene St. it has an incredible selection and their website boggles the mind. Also, think vintage pieces are so original and can create a visual landmark for a room that other quiet and more simple pieces can rally around.

(Thanks, Karen and James, and also Jonathan Lo)

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