Name: Kristin Collins
Location: Il Borghese - Los Angeles, California
Size: 1,200 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year
A few weeks ago I was hanging out with some friends at the building across the street from Il Borghese. I was admiring the building and told one of my friends that I would love to see the inside of one of the units. I had no idea that my friend, Bill, would actually approach someone coming out of the building, which would lead me to meeting Kristin. Il Borghese and Kristin's apartment did not disappoint!
When you enter any of the units, the high ceilings and impressive staircase lets you know that this is not an average Los Angeles apartment. The Il Borghese is a coveted LA building and actually sets the scene for several movies. It was featured in the "The Truth About Cats & Dogs" and "Mulholland Drive". Built in the 1920's, the building housed a few starlets back in the day.
Kristin first lived in the apartment building across the street, but always keep her eye on Il Borghese. As soon as a unit became available she called up the realtor (it was actually for sale) and said she wanted to rent the unit. She was moved in a week later, has made the place her own and has no regrets.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: My style is a mixture of Hollywood Regency, Dorothy Draper-esque, and Mid-Century Modern. While I love these and many other styles, I also like keeping it playful and appropriate for my lifestyle. Friends may consider me a design aficionado, but at the end of the day, rules are made to be broken and a house that I am both comfortable in and inspired by is the most important thing to me.
Inspiration: My inspiration is to create a home that feels fresh and optimistic. As of late, my apartment is feminine, glamorous, sexy, and sophisticated. Los Angeles has the greatest weather in the world, so I don’t think twice about using creme carpet and would never ask anyone to take off their shoes. It’s so important to me that I have a home that isn’t precious. I want it to look really spectacular, but secretly know that everything is replaceable. When I invite friends into my home I want them to feel spoiled and comfortable. I like to try to keep my apartment playful to help convey a sense of comfort among so much glamour.
Favorite Element: My favorite element is the ceiling height in the apartment and the courtyard is uniquely amazing for apartment living. This is the way that all apartment buildings should be.
Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge in designing my home is the budget! I am an interior designer, so I’m always looking at the most amazing furniture, art, and accessories, but I can’t afford most of them. I have a very small budget compared to my clients, so I have to work with what I have to try and create a home that I am still proud of and can feel comfortable in.
What Friends Say: My friends say my apartment is constantly changing - it’s very girly, comfortable, beautiful, and amazing. One friend laughed at me when I called my apartment small and understated. Working with amazing homes for clients has put my own apartment in perspective for me. It could be so much more over the top, so I really do think of it as incredibly simple.
Biggest Embarrassment: My biggest embarrassment is that because I am constantly changing things and it might seem wasteful. While I am admittedly indulgent with my urges, I reuse all the same furniture or give anything extra away to friends; fabric updates are only once every few years. I’ll cut the legs off of something so it sits with a new vision and then add different ones later on. I’m always moving things in and out of storage.
I like change, it helps bring fresh energy and doesn’t have to be wasteful if you start with the best that you can afford. I once said to a friend, “I hate the word cheap.” I feel ‘cheap’ is an excuse for bad quality because even though you totally hated it - “at least it was cheap." To me, that’s expensive. My time and my effort is worth a lot, not to mention the impact on the environment. I would rather eat on the floor for 6 months and then buy the table that I love when I can afford it.
Proudest DIY: My proudest DIY is definitely my valances! I made them from instructions on a blog that I read called, The Little Green Notebook. After taking several yearlong hiatuses from DIY projects, I felt so proud of my accomplishment that I am fully on board with DIY again.
Biggest Indulgence: The constant changing. Nothing that I own costs a fortune, including all my art that I love so much. The greatest expense of my home is my fanatic obsession with change. I have one chair that has been upholstered 4 times in the last two years. I’m borderline obsessive compulsive about fabric, but when I love something, I can’t stop thinking about it and then eventually, no matter how strong I think I am, I have to have it. I’m completely in love with fabric. It’s my total obsession.
Best Advice: It’s important not to look too contrived and think about things too much. It’s good to let things be out of place a little bit. I think it’s great to mix things up so the whole picture isn’t too matchy match. The unexpected is very powerful, bold, and confident. Who cares if you mix burlap and cheap printed cottons with silk velvets?
Dream Source: Kneedler Fauchere in Los Angeles because they carry my favorite fabrics and have the best staff.
Resources of Note:
- Sofa: Jonathan Adler, Reupholstery by California Custom Furniture, Fabric by Duralee
- Chaise: Grace Home, Reupholstery by California Custom Furniture Fabric by Cowtan and Tout
- Pillows: California Custom, Fabric by Kneedler Fauchere and Designers Guild
- Mirrored Coffee Table: Room Service
- Pair of Pink Vintage Slipper Chairs with Reupholstery: California Custom Furniture
- Peach Peek-a-boo Chair: Kristin Collins Original Design made by California Custom Furniture, Fabric by Christopher Hyland
- Bedside Tables found on the street (garbage) in San Fransisco, refinishing by Wilkinson Refinishing
- Dining Table and Chairs: Bloomingdales NY!
- Circle Chair: California Custom Fabric by Pierre Frey
- Pagoda by Williams Sonoma
- Jonathan Adler Pottery
- Craig Olsen for Silver African Art, Faux Fur Throw, Chinese Masks, Fur Throw Pillow, and Gem Bathroom Accessories
- Headboard by California Custom. Fabric by Osborne and Little.
RUGS & CARPET
- Area Rug and Shag by Carpet Studio, Robertson Blvd
- Valances are my own craft project from leftover fabric, foamcore, and tape. Drapery Panels are from Pottery Barn
- Chandelier over Dining Table: Circa Lighting
- Blue Lamps in Bedroom: Craig Olsen
- Yellow Lamp in Office: Williams Sonoma
- Photos of Napkins: Luke Stettner
- Photo of Ice Cream Cone, Perfect Twist: Debbie Carlos
- Plastic Bag Art: Dianna Cohen
- Black and White Painting: Ned Evans through William Turner Gallery in Bergamot Station
- Evolution of the Muff, Ashkhan: Reform School
- Jean Touille Print: One Kings Lane
- Thanks for Everything framed Dollar: Adam Walko
- Sculpture at Mezzanine: Original Design by Brian Miller and Kristin Collins
- Fuck it: Original Design by Brian Miller and Kristin Collins, letters from Anthropologie
- Le Fish Sculpture: Brian Miller
- Framing: Elite Picture Framing
- Chrome and Glass Coffee Table: Long Beach Swap Meet
Images: Evan Koester
• HOUSE TOUR ARCHIVE Check out past house tours here
• Interested in sharing your home with Apartment Therapy? Contact the editors through our House Tour Submission Form.
• Are you a designer/architect/decorator interested in sharing a residential project with Apartment Therapy readers? Contact the editors through our Professional Submission Form.