Name: Kevin and Greg Location: Melrose, Los Angeles Type: 1922 Spanish Colonial Size: 1200 sq. ft. Years lived in: 3 years
When we were invited to Kevin and Greg's Melrose half lot home we knew we were in for a treat after one look at the sample photo they sent us. But we had no idea what an eclectic abode we were about to walk into. Mixing elements of artistic fantasy, classical decorative pieces, Southern family heirlooms and 1950's Hawaiin/Tiki, their 1922 Spanish Colonial home was such a visual feast inside and out, we're worried we haven't captured everything. Even the crummy weather that afternoon couldn't hide the charm of this home...
My style: Neglected, forgotten, and barely alive was how this 1922 Spanish Colonial house looked; sad, but some how we saw something. I think that something, was history misrepresented. So I have to say our style, was to bring the past back to the present, and hopefully into the future. Somehow it would not have been right to make this house all shiny and new. Instead, we added 140 years of family furniture and called it the Sugar Shack. In Hollywood terms, you could say it is Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte meets Beach Blanket Bingo.
The inspiration for my home: The jungles of Louisiana, the rugged California coastline, and Galveston Island helped me design the house and gardens. Living with another person from a different place and time and including their point of view started out as a challenge and turned into a huge inspiration. Validation from friends and family reminding us that different and weird are good, always kept us moving forward.
Favorite element: Greg’s favorite element is the roof top deck with the outdoor movie screen. Mine is the cove ceiling in the living room and the plaster work. Oh! The chain railing for the stairs and the arched windows are pretty groovy, too.
Biggest challenge in designing my home: A limited budget, limited time, a sore back and bad knees are my enemies.
What friends say about my home: Friends either get it or they don’t.
Biggest embarrassment in my home: The fabric I hang over the bedroom windows like sheets because we still don’t have shutters, the bedroom closet without a door, the plywood covering a hole in the bathroom floor, the broken window pane, and the door knobs that fall off… shall I go on?
Proudest DIY: The garden. The only plants on the property were one very old poinsettia tree, two succulents and one rose. Every plant and rock was placed by me or a bribed friend. No gardener, no crew. Out of respect to its age I kept the poinsettia tree, propagated the succulent and ignored the rose. One of the most tedious projects was removing marble tile and paint with a dental tool from the fireplace exposing the Batchelder tile.
Biggest indulgence with respect to my home: Copper pipes throughout the entire house and a tank-less water heater.
Best advice given or received: Don’t be afraid. We are bombarded with the do’s and don’ts from Home shows, magazines and now the Internet. Even though these media are great informers, if you like the color purple, use it. My art teacher always said, “Keep it simple, stupid.”
Dream source for stuff: As well as being an interior-exterior designer and artist, my other business is selling decorative arts from antique to modern. So, taking two weeks and shopping through California to Texas, up to Missouri and back down again would be a dream come true. If you live in Los Angeles and have a limited budget, the surrounding cities are fantastic sources. These places are always open on Saturday and Sundays. Every Sunday I go to the Fairfax flea market and there’s always a treasure. Craig’s list, Wertz Brothers, and SilverLake Yard are great for bargains. I discovered SilverLake Yard right when we bought the house so it was invaluable. It has everything, doors, windows, lighting, in every style and age. If you are a gardener World Wide Exotics will blow your mind. It’s located in Lakeview Terrace on the side of the freeway. The owners are the nicest people in the world.
Resources: Appliances: Toaster- Cuisinart, Dishwasher- Bosch ( very quiet ), Teapot- Krups. Hardware: Anawalt, Anthropologie Furniture: Family Antiques, Antique stores. Flea markets, and Plummers Office. Lighting: Family, Lamp Plus, Fantasy Lighting, Antique stores, Crate and Barrel. Paint: Benjamin Moore, Turquoise Haze, Seaside Blue, Covington Blue, Antiquan Sky, Bahamen Sea Blue, Tea Light, and Huntington Beige. Flooring: Red Oak (original), Linoleum City, Bath ( installed in 60’s). Rugs and Carpets: Lester Carpets, Family, Melrose Carpet. Tiles and Stones: Home Depot (black and white kitchen counter), Fireplace; Batchelder tile in Mayan pattern. Window treatments: World Market (Bamboo blinds) Art: Paintings by Henry Topper and Caryll Beer, photo are vintage, and artwork under glass domes created by Kevin Beer.