You may recognize this lovely lady from “How Do I Look” on The Style Network, or from her new shows "Style Pop" or "The Real." Jeannie Mai has a fun spunky spirit and a distinct bold style. She is married to Freddy Harteis, who is also in the entertainment industry and has a show called “The Hollywood Hunter.” These style opposites really do attract, and together create an even more unique décor style.
Because of the challenge of merging their distinct design styles while juggling busy traveling schedules, Jeannie and Freddy enlisted the help of Jinnie Choi to help design their home. They purchased this home last year because of they both fell in love with the cabin-like style. When they renovated, they maintained the rustic details of the home, like the wood paneling and the dark kitchen cabinets. During the decorating process, Jinnie did an impressive job of incorporating details throughout the home that are really personal to both of them.
When you enter into their home, the first thing you see is the living room with the elevated morning nook and kitchen to your left and Jeannie’s office and Freddy’s sitting room to the right. The layout of the house is wide open - you can see from one end of the house to the other. My eyes went directly to the ceiling, to the array of birdcages repurposed as lighting fixtures. Jinnie sourced the various birdcages from a local flea market and used Edison bulbs to match the vintage look. They also chose to keep the paint color a subtle creamy white, letting the texture of the wood and other decorative elements stand out.
For the entryway, Jinnie created a decoupage inside of the entry closet. As soon as I saw the closet, I knew I was in the presence of someone with some serious talent. She used images found on the internet and printed them with a good ol’ inkjet printer on regular letter paper. To create the decoupage medium, she used Elmer’s glue mixed with water. Jinnie explains, “The ink from the printed paper started to bleed when wet with the glue/water mixture, but that ended up adding to the distressed, vintage look. Just dip the paper image in the mixture and use a plastic scraper to spread it onto the wall in patterns.”
In Jeannie’s office, a light, minty color was used to freshen up the room, which became the contemporary background for the cherry blossom mural painting on the ceiling. Right below Jeannie’s office is Freddy’s sitting room, which is adorned with animal heads from his hunting trips. The room was painted a slate grey color to create a masculine, sophisticated feel and to balance out the ornate gold frames and antique glass storage cabinet.
For the morning nook, most of the furniture pieces have a modern, industrial vibe. The dining table is one of a kind. The tabletop is a reclaimed electrical spool and is attached to an old sewing machine base. The wall facing the dining table was treated with a “shoshugiban” treatment, which is a Japanese style of burning wood planks to create an amazing, organic texture. Jinnie balanced the blackened wood effect with the industrial buffet below and adorned the wall with a frame, antlers and artwork.
In the kitchen, they decided to keep the bones of the original kitchen by saving the cabinets, wood floors, and white sphere lighting fixtures. The dark cabinets are contrasted with retro, robin egg blue appliances and textured white wallpaper. The work in the kitchen and morning nook was showcased on Kitchen Cousins.
On the bottom floor of the house is the bedroom, which has an incredibly cozy, country feel. “The high bed and upholstered headboard with the patterned loveseat makes it feel like you’re in a fairy tale cottage in the woods," Jinnie explains. She treated the fireplace wall with white paint that was left to dry for a few minutes and then scrapped off with a plastic scraper, making it look like old peeling paint. The same treatment was used on the wood wall next to the shower to resemble "a stream flowing through a woodsy mountain,” which is perfect since the bathroom opens up to an outdoor patio area.
Please note: We understand that the animals shown throughout the home may be a sensitive issue for some of you. Please know that all the animals that are shown in this home were hunted with legal permits, and the remains of each animal were donated to neighboring tribes and/or people in need.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: My style is cozy, romantic, and stylish. I like things to feel homey, but have a signature that says: Jeannie and Freddy live here.
Inspiration: Both my husband and my personal story brought inspiration into our home. Freddy is a country boy who enjoys the outdoors and wildlife. As an avid hunter, he thrives in rustic country cabin décor. I, on the other hand, love cozy, warm spaces with interesting detail. I love a house that has a lot of “accessories”. I’m infatuated with wood and the different knots and grains in each type, but I also love the gleam and shine of pretty, sparkly things. Therefore, we created the look “Rustic Luxe”.
Favorite Element: The birdcage chandelier, the California redwood bar table, the little meat cleaver that holds our flowers… too many to choose from.
Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge was honoring the budget. Living in L.A., you get distracted by hefty price tags just because of the area we live in. However, with a creative mind and a supreme talent (Jinnie Choi) we were able to bargain hunt, antique shop, and flea market peruse our way to everything we now own.
What Friends Say: Friends say they see myself and my husband when they look at the home, which is best compliment that hits home for us.
Proudest DIY: I’d like to say that I DIY’ed this myself, but I didn’t. My wonderful interior designer, Jinnie Choi, turned our coat closet into a cozy little nook to get settled when you arrive into the house. With vintage advertisements and stained wood, she takes you back to the 1900’s in one area of the house.
Biggest Indulgence: The biggest indulgence is our sofa. We took a lot of time to custom create a sofa that would invite people to lounge, crash, and have another drink. I will forever now tell people to invest in the perfect seating for your guests.
Best Advice: Our best advice is to toss aside magazines and trends in interior designs and start with inspiration form your own personal story(ies). Whether it’s your spouse or children, consider their favorite music, place of relaxation, color, memories, moods, hobbies… everything that makes them who they are will bring your home together in the most unique way.
Dream Sources: Pinterest, Instagram, Apartment Therapy, and some of our favorite restaurants here in L.A.
Resources of Note:
Sofa - Custom made by Millenium Furniture in LA
Coffee table - Bassett mirror coffee table (from Hayneedle.com)
Black chair - Overstock
Wing chair - flea market find
Library card chest - flea market find
Wine storage buffet, barstools, some of the dining chairs - Cost Plus World Market
Dining table - flea market find + custom installation
Chandelier - antler chandelier painted white
Countertop and backsplash - Caesarstone Countertop in crocodile
Appliances - Big Chill
Wallpaper - Lowes
- Artwork on shoshugiban wall
Desk: flea market find
Chair: Cost Plus
Chandelier: Curry and Co spray painted gold
Love seat/sleeper: Ashley Furniture
2 Leather wing chairs - Coaster Furniture
Display cabinet - vintage store find
Loveseat: Ikea ektorp with norlinda cover
Poofy stool: Home Goods
Headboard: Craigslist find (custom made new, lady doesn't have a company)
Thanks, Jeannie and Freddy!
(Images: Monica Wang)
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