Name: Sean Yashar
Location: Miracle Mile — Los Angeles, California
Size: 700 Square Feet
Years lived in: Less than 1 year — Rent
Native Angelino and marketing man, Sean Yashar, lives in a space of infinite ideas. Heading the Los Angeles based brand consultancy firm, The Culture Creative, his focus lies in creating cultural relevance and original content for some of the most influential brands in design, lifestyle and luxury goods. Invited into Sean's "think pad," as he calls it, we're given an intimate look at his live + work space — a percolating playground of subconscious goodness!
Sean's home is nestled on the ground floor of a classic, Spanish style building in LA's Miracle Mile. With traditional features such as hardwood floors, colorful tiling and coffered ceilings contrasting Sean's masculine minimalism, the heart of this home lies in the artful juxtaposition of his inspiring yet offbeat point of view.
Every single item in Sean's apartment has a story. There's not one thing that is there just for show. Whether it's a gift that has deeply impacted his life, or an important memory, he has concluded that less is more. As we moved from room-to-room, Sean detailed the stories behind everything I photographed. For instance; in the living room, an "in-progress wall" of colorful post-it notes featured quotes and phrases from status updates that once streamed his Facebook wall. In fact, these hand written notations trickle from his desk, to the collage and into the bedroom on his nightstand. There's an imported Italian leather sofa, an Eileen Gray side table, Eames wire chair and one-of-a-kind pottery, but the most important thing in his house are two Murano glass candies once given to him by his father. Sean notes that his home is a studio for The Culture Creative, where he lives and breaths new ideas for his clients. Growing his business as a brand consultant, his daily exposure to designers and tastemakers keeps him forward thinking in marketing and in his personal ideas about what makes a house a home. With an attaché and client list of some of the most well respected showrooms and artisans in LA, Sean's approach to his personal space is authentic to who he is; subtle, to the point and gently seasoned with sentiment and thoughtful obscurities.
In the following interview, I picked Sean's brain a bit more about his design influences and what happens in his home:
What was growing up in LA like for you? How has this lifestyle/culture affected your own personal design aesthetic?
First thing that comes to mind is Runyon Canyon. In the middle of the city, just blocks from the star-lined sidewalks of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, premieres at the Chinese Theater and all the power brokers working on the next blockbuster film, exists a serene hiking trail called Runyon Canyon, popular with the locals (and celebs like Ryan Gosling, who I catch hiking shirtless quite often.) LA is a beautiful juxtaposition in that way, a metropolis coexisting with nature. Something about that juxtaposition definitely finds its way into my design philosophy. For me, a pleasing aesthetic is casual like a sunny day, and dramatic like an Oscar nominated actress, simultaneously. It's what I grew up with.
What is the single most significant thing in your home?
Two, Murano glass candies. My father owned a furniture showroom at the PDC in the early 80's. Every year, he'd attend the annual Salone del Mobile show in Milan, each time bringing me back a bunch of decorative glass candies as a souvenir. Over the years, I've broken most of them, but I still have 2 left that always find a way into my décor. Those glass candies remind me of my earliest fascination with the design world… a seed of understanding and excitement for the international furniture industry.
Who and what is The Culture Creative?
We are modern artisans on a mission to save the world from the mundane. Our ideas are from the future, but we still love the smell of paper and the feel of a pencil.
The Culture Creative is an L.A. based brand consultancy, filling a whitespace for content creation in the design, lifestyle and luxury goods industries. Today, every business must be a brand, and every brand must have a distinct identity. Our work embraces the untapped opportunities to develop cultural relevance through game-changing service offerings. We revel in the unknown, creating solutions to problems that do not yet exist. Our visionary clients know what they know and know what they don't know. Our thrill is to step outside of the lines, offering brands insights from the 3rd eye - what you don't know that you don't yet know. In short, we work on branding programs that are less dependent on selling a product, and more concerned with communicating the creativity and cultural significance of the maker.
Why you love your "job" so much?
Have you heard that saying, "You only learn to swim when you're sinking"? For most of my life, I felt like a circle trying to fit into a square, barely keeping my head above water. Since I can remember, I've always had an insatiable desire to create new ideas. When I was a kid, I wanted to have the job of naming streets and paint colors. I was always coming up with slogans and jingles for stores in my neighborhood too. Or, when I'd listen to a song on the radio, I would try to come up with an additional melodic layer that I believed was missing. Needless to say, I heard "Sean, you're in LaLa land" way too often. With the Culture Creative, I've been able to invent a business that allows me to be my authentic self, consulting with quality brands and offering new ideas… that extra melodic layer that I feel may be missing for a brand, per se. More than I could have ever imagined as a child, The Culture Creative allows me to go even farther than just having an idea. I also get to collaborate with some of the most talented people in the design industry… artists who inspire me to stay in the creative process. Their ideas feed mine and vice versa. I'm finally where I believe my skill-set can be best utilized.
Why do you represent designers, versus any other medium or artists?
Because interior design is like fashion with higher stakes. I love fashion, but most of it today is so trend based. Even with the more respected fashion houses, each season allows the artist to recreate a vision… to start over, in a sense. Interior design is more permanent. When you're designing a house, you have to think of it in a greater context: A chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment, an environment in a city plan. The stakes are higher for interior designers because their work is expected to last, and even to be timeless in some instances. Often the talent of the shelter industry is stronger and more sophisticated for this reason. I respect that talent, and my work begins with this level of respect.
Which showrooms and designers do you work with?
Jean de Merry
Judith Hoffman of Szalon
A+D > Architecture + Design Museum, Los Angeles.
When you think of designing a home, what is the most essential part?
Negative space. Rather than defining a room by the objects in it (as most people do,) I wholeheartedly believe the need to give the same amount or more attention to the negative space between objects. Understanding empty space as an equal and vital part of a room will lead to a more intuitive arrangement of seating and objects, and this will result in a warmer and more comfortable place for you and your guests. You don't have to fill every nook and cranny of a room with things. An edited space is more sophisticated and confident when it's at its barest essential. If you have an architecturally significant home, avoid layering in your décor to allow the bones of a space to shine through. If you own a beautiful piece of art, let it breath with empty space around it.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Casually Curated.
Inspiration: This quote - "When you make something no one hates, no one loves it." - Tibor Kalman
Favorite Element: All the romantic charm of my 1920's Spanish building. I love the juxtaposition of formal period elements, like the coffered ceilings, fireplace, etched doors and wrought iron sconces, contrasting against my more masculine, modernist style.
Biggest Challenge: Not enough outlets, and the subsequent hiding of extension cords.
What Friends Say: They love the location. I'm just a stones throw from all the cute design boutiques, art galleries and cafes on La Brea.
Biggest Embarrassment: AC window unit in the bedroom (also lovingly known as a "swamp cooler" by some.) Curtains cover it nicely, though.
Proudest DIY: Wireless surround sound. 4 words: Madonna-in-every-room.
Biggest Indulgence: The best candles, soaps and fresh flowers money can buy. As a rule, I try to block out Suze Orman's voice near all cash registers. I do enjoy my Aquiesse candles, Molton Brown hand soaps and Diptyque room sprays. They may be 3 x the price, but they give me 4 x the joy.
Best Advice: Patience with your purchases. I may buy a sweater on sale, but never a home item. If I'm looking for a pillow in a shade of ochre, I won't compromise on a brown one. Often, I think people forfeit their design vision for what's easily attainable or cheaper, and over time their home begins to lack a distinct POV.
Dream Sources: Luis Barragán & Andrée Putman are pillars, but I have to say that my clients are the biggest, daily source of design inspiration: Jean de Merry, Judith Hoffman, Azadeh Shladovsky and Natasha Baradaran have all taught me significant lessons in design.
Resources of Note:
PAINT & COLORS
• PINUPS — an avant-garde nudie magazine created by my friend Christopher Schulz, that features one male nude pictorial per issue. There are no words — just an exaggeration of the classic centerfold. Each magazine exists in book form but can be taken apart and tiled to reveal a 32" x 70" image. The magazine is printed in New York.
• Eileen Gray, adjustable side table: DWR
• Eames Wire Chair with Seat Pad: DWR
&bull: Coffee Table: West Elm
• Sofa: Italian. Very heavy.
• Pottery: Original work by photographer & sculpture, Jonn Coolidge
&bull: Art above fireplace: "Devo" by Kii Arens.
DINING ROOM converted into OFFICE
• A 1970's glass dining table is used as an oversized desk.
• Eames Management Chair: DWR
• Desk lamp - Base: West Elm. Shade: custom.
• Draper bed: Cost Plus.
• Parsons Nightstand: West Elm
• Rug: West Elm
Images: Bethany Nauert
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