Name: Bill Johnson and Leah Forester Johnson, wife, mother, and blogger
Location: Venice – Los Angeles, California
Size: 3,300 square feet (main house), 1,000 square feet (man cave)
Years lived in: 8 years (approximately 2 years since the remodel)
If you've ever believed in fate, keep reading: this story is for you. I am not just showing you a beautiful house on the boardwalk in Venice — this home has a special story behind it. The short version of the story is that Leah was set up on a blind date only to find out that her date was her next door neighbor. They fell in love, got married, she moved into his house, had kids, and they kept Leah's apartment and turned it into their man cave/adult party escape.
Bill had a cool architectural triplex home on the beach, but it was very much a bachelor pad. Leah came from the world of New York fashion with a real eye for color, texture, and art. She brought the design of their new home together to the next level. They created a special sanctuary together, a relaxing home for his teenage daughter, his mother, and their two 4-year-old twins. Everything in the home is well thought out, and the design revolves around creating a happy family.
You may be thinking, what a fabulous place, but it really hits home when you meet Leah and the two kids and they welcome you into their home as if you were a long lost friend. She is one of the most amazing, warm, and caring women I have ever met. Her home is a true representation of the difference between a house and a home.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: The main house is modern, glamorous, bohemian in an earth-toned palette and geared towards our family; the Man Cave is our alter-ego — dark, sexy, sleek Chinoiserie Boudoir (and adults-only!).
Inspiration: We're influenced by our life and travels and our desire to surround ourselves with nature: my years of working with Diane Von Furstenberg at her West Village Carriage house, our travels to Africa, Peru, Cambodia, and our love of the Waldorf-Steiner tradition of natural toys and materials for our children
Favorite Element: I have two: our unobstructed ocean view, especially during the late afternoon when the warm golden sun shines right into our window, and our permanent disco ball in the living room (my husband's idea)!
Biggest Challenge: Working around some of the remaining 1980's finishes!
What Friends Say: That it's original, inviting, and family-friendly, despite being a vertical structure.
Biggest Embarrassment: My refrigerator! For someone who is so obsessed with food, it should be displayed as a beautiful appliance! My dream is a French-door style stainless steel refrigerator with the freezer door at the bottom.
Proudest DIY: The black and gold sequin shower curtain in the Man Cave. I hot glue gunned and hung it myself.
Biggest Indulgence: Our master bathroom — a steam shower that we use every day and the most enormous tub we could find!
Best Advice: Take time to decorate your home; let it stem from you organically like the rest of your life.
Dream Sources: Walnut Wallpaper is my go-to for gorgeous, offbeat wallpaper. Everything covering our walls came from there.
Resources of Note:
- 1980's Kitchen Aid, nothing exciting!
- My Capresso glass water kettle and Vitamix blender are the best things in my kitchen
- Dyson vacuum is so worth the money
- New LG Washer and Dryer are a dream
- Hans Groehe in the master bath is gorgeous
- La Cava double trough sink in master bathroom is dreamy
- Teal velvet sofas in the Man Cave are custom made by Room Service. I actually buy a lot of basic things from Ikea and disguise them by mixing them in with vintage and high-end items.
- Colcha on Abbott Kinney for pillows, linens and throws
- Many finishing elements are from West Elm
- I buy most of our lighting fixtures on Ebay!
- Dunn-Edwards English River in the living room
- Antique Jade in the master bedroom
RUGS & CARPET
- Chevron patterned sisal carpet and plush wool carpet in media room from Contempo Floor Coverings
- Brentwood "Tribal Diamonds" area rug in living room by Diane Von Furstenberg for The Rug Company
TILES & STONE
- Our windows are uncovered so we can see the ocean!
- Tempurpedic in the master bedroom
- Oeuf bunk bed in children's room from Wonderland, LA
Living Room: Vintage Chinese screen, Romio Shrestra "1000 White Tara" Tibetan Tanka, Gray Mallin "Prada, Marfa" photograph
Entry: Cameron Gray "Junk Food Jesus" mosaic painting
Dining room: Watercolor & oil painting by Laura Ball, large pointillism canvas by Steve Harlow; light installation "Through the Looking Glass" by Adam Belt & small photo by Tierney Gearon
Master bedroom: "Waiting" by Robby Konal, large photo by Tierney Gearon, small gray nude by Alison Van Pelt
Upper Hallway: "You are Everything" canvas by Matthew Heller
Children's room: Donkey painting by John Scane
Media room: Photographs shot in Tanzania, Africa, by Leah Forester Johnson
In the Man Cave: "Warriors of the Night" dyptich by Faille; Madonna photo by Maripol; "White Tara" by Romio Shrestra; photographs by David Drebin
Thanks, Leah & Bill!
(Images: Marcia Prentice)
• 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.