Name: Craig Olsen & Richard Koningsburg
Location: Hancock Park — Los Angeles, California
Size: 3000 square feet
Years lived in: 10 years
An interior designer's own home represents his or her personal style, but is also a representation of their skill set as a designer. I had heard that designer Craig Olsen's home was very special. I patiently waited months for this tour because he wanted his space to be just perfect before he shared it with us. After the last detail was perfected and the drapery was installed in the bedroom, I had the privilege of visiting Craig in his home. As I walked around the space and saw the attention to detail in every room, I knew it was worth the wait.
Because Craig is an interior designer, I wanted to ask him a few questions about designing a home and creating a unique space.
Apartment Therapy: As an interior designer, do you find it more challenging designing your personal home versus designing for clients?
Craig Olsen: When I walk into a client's home I almost immediately know exactly what to do. I put myself in the mindset of the client. It is almost like I am "walking in their shoes". I imagine how they will use their space, where they will put their keys, how they will entertain, and how they are going to feel. I take on their personality in a sense and I design for them and the people that frequent and use their space. I listen to the client and tap into their psyche. I have always felt that to be a "good designer" you need experience and training, to be a "great designer" you need to listen.
I have found it is much easier to design for others than myself, I think this is true for most designers when it comes to their personal space. I am not sure if it is because as designers we have access to so many sources or it because we have a multiple personality complex! (maybe it is the latter) I use my home as a palette to explore new ways of putting things together. My own home has changed several times over the past 10 years. I am constantly changing as an individual and as a designer. My home is extremely personal and I find there is no better way to explore your style than in your own home. I have often said I am my most difficult client!
Apartment Therapy: What is the emotional impact you want your guests to feel when entering your home?
Craig Olsen: The look I have created in my 1926 Spanish home is decidedly French Mediterranean. I researched French and Mediterranean art and the whole base of my color selection is from the 200 year old framed Zuber wallpaper I have hanging in my dining room, aptly named, Hindustan. (This is the next room to change, I want to play with fabric draped walls and an antique mirror...) I want people to have a sense of the dramatic. I love color and texture for this home. In my main rooms I have created comfort and energy. I also feel as though if Rudolf Valentino was to return he would love entertaining in my living room. I suppose there is a sense of classic Old Hollywood that I have been exploring.
Apartment Therapy: What is your favorite room in your home?
Craig Olsen: My favorite room in the house always seems to be the one I am working on. Recently, I've redecorated my master bedroom and I fell in love with every detail I put into the room. I love waking up in this room! It has a mens club feeling to it and I love the sense of strength that it gives me. It is masculine with touches of softness that gives me the yin/yang I need and every bedroom must have.
Apartment Therapy: What advice do you give your clients on creating a very personal and unique home?
Craig Olsen: If I were to advise someone in decorating their space I would have to tell them to have fun! Design doesn't have to be so serious. Ask yourself: How do you want to feel in the space and how do you want others to perceive you? This is YOUR personality, this is YOUR space in the world — explore that and have FUN!
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: French Mediterranean
Inspiration: A piece of Zuber wallpaper (framed)
Favorite Element: Giant lamps in living room from Phyllis Morris (LOVE)
Biggest Challenge: Myself, too many options and sides to my personality to express and ever changing
What Friends Say: It's very theatrical
Biggest Embarrassment: TV above fireplace in formal living room
Proudest DIY: Everything!
Biggest Indulgence: Milestone birthday portrait of myself by Don Bachardy
Best Advice: Have fun and don't be afraid of change and new things. Design in your home should be a reflection of your personality and personalities are always changing making your home a work in progress, always!
Dream Source: A Paris flea market
Resources of Note:
- CRAIG OLSEN
- Karl Springer Buffet
- Coffee Table (french gate)
- Many Accessories from Phyllis Morris Estate Sale
- American Picker who shops around the States
- Oscar Flores Hardwood Flooring
TILES & STONE
RUGS & CARPET
- Agam (original)
- Gabriel Laderman
- 3 French Etchings (man & sons)
Thanks Craig & Richard!
Images: Bethany Nauert
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