Robert's Character-Filled House in Echo Park

House Tour

Name: Robert Harbour, set designer and residential designer, + Tulsa & Chopper
Location: Echo Park, Los Angeles, California
Size: 1900 square feet
Years lived in: 6 months

While other potential homebuyers walked away from the house that had too many quirks, Robert instead found much charm in the funky layout and unique character. The home had a basement-like nook right off the entrance, which he turned into a quiet mediation room. It also had an attic, which become his guest bedroom and retreat.

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Robert's home is constantly evolving as he finds different ways to style and live in the space. Even as I was at his home ready to photograph the space, he was outside rearranging plants and thinking of different ways to present the outdoor living area. What I love most about his home is that it isn't perfect. It definitely has a lived-in quality, and doesn't make excuses for the fact that large dogs also inhabit the home.

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Since this is my home and not a set or for a client, my choices are motivated by many things and are reflected in the outcome of the look. I don't have to think of a character or someone else's personal tastes, just my own, so the result is a mixture of anarchy and cleverness (I hope) filtered through timing, taste, economy and might. I like spaces to look lived-in and layered, with texture and interest, without being cluttered — this is often a juggling act.

Inspiration: Inspiration is a moving target and things often get edited in and out.

Favorite Element: My backyard rivals Versailles.

Biggest Challenge: Time.

What Friends Say: If I did more socially than hang out with my dogs, then my home would be party central. Friends who visit here are always offering to throw parties in my home. I would only be interested if everyone had a task and could help around the house. Since I'm always working on it, then so should they!

Biggest Embarrassment: Hot water — I hate tankless!

Proudest DIY: My fireplace was a bizarre out-of-scale mish-mash of periods and styles when I bought the place. I cut down the mantel, added the mirror, changed the face, and painted it with a rustable iron paint and oxidized it. Now it looks like it's been there forever!

Biggest Indulgence: The Ridge Beam.

Best Advice: Ignore "That's not normal"

Dream Sources: If I could have a spending spree at the Rosebowl Flea Market, I would feel like I won the lottery.

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Resources of Note:

APPLIANCES

HARDWARE

FURNITURE

ACCESSORIES

  • Garage sales
  • Flea markets

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PAINT

LIGHTING

FLOORING

RUGS & CARPET

  • Garage sales

TILES & STONE

  • Euro Tile

WINDOW TREATMENTS

BEDS

  • Mostly built

ARTWORK

  • Garage sales
  • My own

OTHER

  • Plants are mostly Home Depot and Lowes - great return policy
  • A good handyman goes a long way

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Thanks, Robert!

(Images: Marcia Prentice)

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