Name: Tami, actor, owner of The Sweet-Nest Project + Showroom Manager at Harbinger, and Chase, Healthcare Consultant + Artist
Location: West Hollywood – Los Angeles, California
Size: 1,200 square feet
Years lived in: 1 month
Tami and Chase looked and looked for a place to call their first home together. After getting frustrated seeing the same typical apartments, they came across a Schindler duplex available for rent. What a dream — a Schindler house for rent! The next day they put in their application, gave a deposit, and made sure they were going to beat out the long list of other applicants.
When Tami and Chase shared that this is the first time that they've lived together, and that they decorated their home in one month, and worked together on a handful of DIY projects, I was impressed that they were still smiling and in love. We all know that sometimes when you move in with someone you love things can go awry. Also, big congrats on doing a great job merging the two styles and making sure no one felt left out.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Tami: Chase's style is what we like to call a M4 Fusion: minimal + modern + Mid-Century + monochromatic. My style is more of a modern vintage combination, with hints of whimsy and a generous helping of color. It never fails, whenever we walk into a store with furniture, I'm immediately drawn to the first white lacquered thing I see, and I'll look around for Chase and he's standing next to the nearest rustic wood piece. Thankfully, both of our styles are pretty complimentary. But moving in together, it definitely took time and editing on both our parts to make sure each of our styles was reflected without overpowering or muting the others'.
Chase: We really wanted a space that would facilitate our lifestyle. We wanted a place where we could host parties and have people over for brunch. But we also love reading and painting and listening to music and making random art projects, so at the same time, it needed to be a comfortable place to be quiet and creative. Coming from a loft, storage was also really important. I'm all about simplifying, but I didn't want to have to give up our outdoor lifestyle because there wasn't anywhere to keep the bikes or the surfboards.
Tami: It was a huge layer of frosting on our cake that the architect created this space with a lot of those things in mind. Schindler was very big on community and environments that fostered that. We were given really great bones to work with. We really wanted the things we added to it to accentuate the existing elements, and to infuse our own style and interpretation into what Schindler intended. In the beginning we sort of struggled with preserving the integrity of the era when the house was built. But: A) neither of us really came into the situation with much in the way of 1920s modern and B) we didn't want to live in a museum. Where we finally landed was a consciousness of WWSD: What Would Schindler Do (if he built this house in 2012).
Chase: For me, it's the overall character of the house, and the giant window in our living room. I think you can find a lot of apartments that, on paper, sound the same and offer the same features and amenities. But when you walk in here, those two things really separate it and make it stand out.
Tami: The light! The natural light literally floods in. It's amazing. During the day, you don't feel like you're cooped up indoors because so much of the outside becomes part of the inside. Another very well thought through design aspect from Schindler. Also, the washer and dryer. I don't know if that counts, but I have lived in apartments since I was 18 and this is my first in-unit washer and dryer. It's the best thing. I can't stop doing laundry. I actually get disappointed when it's all caught up.
Chase: The combining of our styles and things. It was hard making sure neither of our personalities were lost in the merging. We didn't want the end product to feel like it was more mine or more Tami's, but both of ours. Trying to find that balance was tricky.
Tami: I second that. Also, the closets. Or, rather, the lack thereof. It's going to take some creative solutions to find a place for everything.
What Friends Say:
Tami: Usually some combination of:
A) You should start a side business doing this. (hence the birth of The Sweet-Nest Project)
B) Will you come over and do this for my house?
C) A request to contract Chase's various artistic abilities for a custom painting, pallet art piece, or (now) wall mural
Chase & Tami - in unison: Anything that's behind closed doors!
Chase: The lights over our dining table. It was a big challenge to find something functional and also impactful without altering the structure of the house at all. We debated for a while because this option could have gone one of two ways — really tacky looking and bad or really ambient and cool. I think it definitely went the latter.
Tami: I think our bedroom is sort of one big DIY project — my bedside table that started out as an unstained wooden Ikea chest, our tiny paper airplane installation, our mural wall. I think if I saw any of these ideas somewhere else, I would think "oh, I could totally do that," and you can. We did. Not only did each of them add color and character and texture to the room, they became more personal because we had the experience of making it happen. Now, we look at those tiny paper airplanes and enjoy how fun and quirky they look, but we also see the night we sat on the sofa with a pair of scissors and string, watching a marathon of TV and test-launching folded pieces of decorative paper across the living room.
Chase: My record player. Listening to music at home is so much more of an experience on vinyl. It isn't just putting something on in the background through your computer. It becomes interactive and pulls you into it. Having to physically flip through albums, change sides, place the needle — it involves you. I feel like I'm hearing music how the artists were recording it or intending it instead of a thin recreation of it. Explaining it is difficult — it's just warmer. It's also more fun to find new music. I know a lot of people like sharing playlists and I'm sure that's cool, but there is something really fun about browsing through physical records and sharing great finds with friends.
Tami: Fresh flowers and burning candles. Not the most expensive things as indulgences go, but I think they make such a big difference in making a house feel homey. There's something very special-occasion feeling about burning candles and buying fresh flowers, so to have them on a regular day feels so luxurious.
Chase: My advice is: keep the big picture in mind because it's really easy to get caught up in 'I want this' or 'this person wants that.' If you're looking at the big picture, it makes handling the individual disagreements easier. If you're on the same page for the whole, then it's much easier to navigate each step involved in getting there.
Tami: My advice would be to buy one thing at a time. And by that I mostly mean, really love each thing you buy. It's really easy, when you want a space to be put together (finally), to just buy whatever's easiest, fastest and will work. We put our place together in less than a month, so I totally get it. But we didn't do it all in one run to Ikea. Everything we bought (Ikea items included), we bought very intentionally. And everything we bought was something we really liked and were excited about. It's so worth it when you look around your room and you think "oh, that's my favorite… no, wait, that's my favorite… oooo, but I really love this!" It's like walking into your favorite store, but you live there and it's all yours!
Chase: Environment on Beverly Blvd in LA.
Tami: I love love love Etsy, Anthropologie, CB2 and West Elm.
Resources of Note:
- Living Room - Gray/White Chevron curtains - handmade by Tami
- Living Room - Industrial Lamp - Harbinger
- Living Room - White Table Lamp - Fab.com
- Dining Room - String Globe Lights - Ooga Lights
- Bedroom - Wall Lights- Ikea
- Bedroom - Floor Lamps- Ikea
RUGS & CARPET
- Allison Carey
Website coming soon, contact: email@example.com
Pink Lady painting (Dining Room)
- Chase Spenst
Birds on a wire on a pallet (Entry), Blue/Orange abstract (Dining Room), Painting of a man (Dining Room), Tree Wall Mural (Bedroom), Assorted Paintings (Dining Room, behind bench)
- Kris Gaines
Available through Harbinger
(3) Untitled paintings on wood (Breakfast Nook)
- Holly Spenst
Website coming soon, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract painting (Bedroom)
- Scott Miller
Landscape (Living Room - behind sofa)
- Urban Octopus
Bicycle Print (Dining Room)
Thanks, Tami & Chase!
(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.