Bette Davis, Marion Davies, Mae West, Ava Gardner, Douglas Fairbanks, Clara Bow, William Randolph Hearst...a who's who of Hollywood royalty that once called the historic Los Altos apartments "home". Now the tony address is home to events planner and vintage design specialist, Jennifer Laskey and her feline sidekick, Capone. The pair share a romantic apartment embellished with the finer details of a bygone era, with the spirits of Tinseltown's past still haunting the hallways...
My Style: My style is a mix of vintage, antique, Parisian, with a touch of modern glamour. I like my designs to be reminiscent of another time and place, namely the 1920s and 1930s! I feel you should never buy more than a few pieces from the same store, but instead collect gems and treasures from an array of sources. It took me a long time, but I finally acquired all of my 'dream furniture' and antique accents!
Inspiration: My biggest inspiration has always been the original charm and details left preserved in Los Angeles' 1920s and 1920s buildings. I have a love and passion for the Spanish style architecture and Spanish courtyard buildings. I'm also inspired by the French Normandy style. My first dream was to live in a resorted apartment by Art Decos Apartments. I did that for awhile. Next goal was to live in a cultural historical landmark, which I am doing now. I think my next goal will be to live in or own a Spanish courtyard building by my favorite architect, Arthur Zwebell (all of which are also historic landmarks)...a girl can dream!
Favorite Element: That's really hard to pick, I love so many things. I was especially drawn to the original 1920s elements being intact: hardwood floors, bathroom tiles, kitchen tiles, woodwork, moldings etc. My absolute favorite elements are the original floor to ceiling French windows and doors. I also love the hand-painted crown moldings in the living room! The solid wood doors with intricate detail and original hardware really moved me as well! Not to mention the grand entrance with whimsical courtyard, fountain, and huge wrought iron gates. Swoon.
Biggest Challenge: Honestly, I am bit of a perfectionist and totally have OCD when it comes to design and organization! I believe this separates great designers - crazy attention to detail. The fact that I really didn't like the linoleum floor in my kitchen (in a rental apartment!) became a little expensive and difficult to fix! I loved the original cement tiles that are used in the entry/ stairs of many period Spanish buildings. I knew exactly what I wanted, and though I had never seen this in an apartment kitchen, I had seen something similar in multi-million dollar homes or high end restaurants and resorts like Bacara or Bouchon.
I found a great brand of tile I liked at Mission Tile. Great selection, super retail. and overpriced. So I sourced the tile, hand-made in Nicaragua, which turned out to be much more affordable. I still spent over $1,000 to redo a tiny kitchen floor, but the results made me so happy. Two trips to their warehouse in Pico Rivera with hundreds of pounds of cement tiles in my Nissan 350Z was pretty funny. I was 4 tiles short because I overlooked getting extra - some tiles are wasted in the process of creating a perfectly aligned 4-tile pattern. And 3 different sealers etc. It was a long process but it turned out amazing, so all the effort was worth it.
What Friends Say: I have had a few jaws drop. My friends love it and suggested I try interior design/historic restoration full time. I have gotten many heartfelt comments that really affect and inspire me. I love making people feel like they are transported to another time and place through my design! To affect and inspire both others and myself is the ultimate goal through my design.
Biggest Embarrassment: I suppose I have had some cooking disasters, but I have since gotten quite good at it. However, I am still afraid to cook meat!
Proudest DIY: Honestly there was a lot of DIY, but I have to say I am most proud of the antique gems I found on Craigslist for really cheap. Sometimes people have no idea what they are giving away. My 1920s or 30s steamer trunks were found on Craigslist; the owner said he got them at an antique store in Boston and a couple traveled all over Europe with them in the 1940s. They have amazing stickers all over them. Priceless. I use one as my coffee table. I also always wanted a National cash register partly for decorative effect, to remind me that one day it will be in my forthcoming restaurant/lounge. I basically stole these items at their prices.
Biggest Indulgence: The restored vintage chandeliers (found in Philadelphia from a brilliant lighting restorationist on eBay). I have a wedding cake chandelier in my bedroom and a beautiful bronze and crystal chandelier in my living room. Every time I would look at them I smile and feel super grateful, knowing pretty much nobody else has these lighting fixtures.
Best Advice: I recommend you get exactly what you want, what your heart desires, and what inspires you. You can also find it at a reasonable price if you do some digging and ground work (or hey ask me)! I wouldn't get 'for now' furniture. Buy your dream items, even if only one piece at a time. Craiglist, eBay, Etsy, flea markets, etc are great resources for amazing vintage items. Just type in the exact type words of what you want and eventually it will find you!
PAINT & COLORS
All Dunn Edwards. Living room & dining room hand painted/ restored to original design crown moldings by David Bell
- Living room: Castle Rock
- Dining room & kitchen cabinets: Aquatic
- Kitchen: Looking Glass
- Entry: Vino Tinto
- Bedroom: Your Majesty
- Bathroom: Matte Black
- Vanity area: Faux gold accent paint
- Fixtures: original to apartment
- Frames: vintage
- Closet design: Elfa from the Container Store
- Vintage lamp: Swag in Tujunga Village
- Sconces: J F Pegan Company via eBay
- Chandelier: Antique Tole French Empire Brass Crystal Chandelier via eBay
- Oversized Persian rug: Overstock.com
- Velvet couch: HD Buttercup
- Silver end table: Mortise & Tenon
- Steamer trunks/coffee table: antique via Craigslist
- Dresser: 18th century Italian antique tunnel of Dreams Antiques (out of business)
- TV stand: I found an antique Singer sewing machine base on Craigslist, and restored/painted it, topping it with a custom glass top table.
- Art: Frank Worth original Marilyn Monroe and Sammy Davis Jr photo print (from Art & Artifact Gallery). I reframed it in a vintage frame.
- Gilded mirror: Horchow
- Antique candelabra: Olde Good Things
- Fainting couch: Urban Outfitters online
- Royal and Underwood vintage typewriter via Craiglist
- Replica of the Ralph Lauren sawhorse desk, built by a film set designer
- Bookshelf: HD Buttercup
- Louis VIX style chair: Brocade Home in NY, reupholstered by Felipe's Custom Upholstery/Fabric: Deco Home
- Louis XIV style dining chairs: Overstock.com
- Dining table made from reclaimed wood from an old barn, custom made by Architectural Waste
- Chandelier: Fortuny
- Vintage candelabras: East Coast find off Etsy
- Vintage stove heater: Olde Good Things
- Vintage scales: Olde Good Things, Rolling Greens
- Shelf: brackets from Anthropologie; wood shelf custom made by Architectural Waste
- Cement tile: Granada tile (pattern is called Cluny)
- Cabinet knobs and hardware: Anthropologie
- Bed: Z Gallerie
- Comforter set/pillow: Brocade Home in New York
- Mirrored furniture: Z Gallerie
- Vintage green velvet chair: My grandparents got it in the 1950s
- Floor mirror: Horchow
- Vintage restored wedding cake chandelier: eBay
- Silk taffeta curtains: Overstock.com
- Various antique finds
- Closet design: Elfa from The Container Store
- Bedding: Brocade Home
- Shelf: made with wood from Architectural Waste, brackets from Anthropologie
- Knobs: Anthropoloige
- Rug in vanity room: Brocade Home
Thanks, Jennifer and Capone!
(Photos: Gregory Han)
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