Vibrant, Vintage “Librarian-Chic” Digs

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Name: Ben Lee and Vivian Ritchie Handler
Location: Los Feliz; Los Angeles, California
Size: 2,100 square feet
Years lived in: Almost 2 years; Owned

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Ben and Viv’s ‘70s-inspired home appears to jut out above the narrow streets in the hills of the Los Feliz with confidence. From the outside, the seemingly modest, stream-lined house offers a unique view of the city, including the Griffith Observatory. Upon entering the expansive entryway and den, visitors are treated to a colorful explosion of art, style and sunlight beaming in from every direction.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)
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The couple’s love for decades past is well-represented throughout their home with a few bold statement pieces. A white and reflective gold flea market sofa seductively sprawled across the den faces a lime green shag rug in the adjacent vinyl room. While there are definitely vintage vibes going on here, the two have managed to gracefully skirt the line between retro and eclectic by mixing in some modern and handmade elements to give their home a unique feel.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Librarian-chic

Inspiration: ‘70s porn

Favorite Elements: The books, the records, and the artwork, all framed within the big windows and wide-open architecture so we can see almost everything at once.

Biggest Challenge: Keeping friends from spilling red wine on our white couch

What Friends Say: “I just spilled red wine on your white couch.”

Biggest Embarrassment: Our ‘90s master bathroom. (Not pictured; it’s too embarrassing.)

Proudest DIY: There’s been a lot of help from our buddies to maximize the house’s awesomeness. Two superstars: David Godshall at Terremoto Landscape transformed an ivy-choked jungle into a distinctly Los-Angelean oasis, minus Noel’s attitude; Alex Wallman built a fantastic custom shelf for our records out of reclaimed wood. We’ll take credit for their work, but seriously, check those guys out.

Biggest Indulgence: Aside from the major construction work, a couple indulgent details: Every door in the house had a unique, crappy knob when we moved in, so we replaced all the doorknobs with retro Baldwin hardware. It doesn’t sound like much, but it turns out that doorknobs are super-expensive. The lighting was another huge undertaking, with quite a bit of electrical surgery required.

Best Advice: Cork is pretty but if you have dogs they’ll scuff it up quickly.

Dream Sources: We want to hire some of our crafty friends to build more custom book and record shelves when there’s more cash in the coffers…

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Resources of Note:


  • Eames Knoll Wall Sconce: Vintage Oasis (Palm Springs)
  • Doorknobs: Baldwin
  • Ceramic stools and outdoor fireplace: Ebay
  • Outdoor furniture: Fermob
  • Rugs, Floor lamps, tables, chairs and couch: Flea markets (LA and NYC)
  • Table: Surfing Cowboys (Venice)
  • Record Shelf: Alex Wallman
  • Westnofa Siesta Chair: Ebay
  • Aluminum record stands: Urban Outfitters
  • Moroccan Poofs: Chelsea Market (NYC)
  • Vintage Sputnik Chandelier: Etsy
  • Hanging lamp: Jonathan Adler
  • Couch and side tables: Flea market (LA)
  • Bedframe: Modernica
  • Pillow chairs: Jonathan Adler
  • Record/bookshelf: Gift from Subliminal Projects (Echo Park)
  • Mama & Papa chair: Pepe’s (Echo Park)
  • Floor Lamps and Chinese Chest: Flea markets (LA and NYC)
  • Hanging lamps: Jonathan Adler
  • Rugs: Ebay
  • Artwork (drawings, paintings, photographs, plates, prints, and posters) from Corey Antis, Keith Boadwee and Club Paint, Alain Biltereyst, Matthew Brannon, Larissa Brantner, Phil Collins (the conceptal artist, not the singer), Alika Cooper, Olafur Eliasson, Shepard Fairey, Edie Fake, Travis Farmen, Urs Fischer, Piero Golia, Roger Herman, Damien Hirst, Melissa Huddleston, James Jean, Patrick Nagel, Ed Ruscha, RZA, Tom Sachs, Hank Schmidt in der Beek, Allison Schulnik, Matthew Stone, Robert Therrien, Dani Tull, Eric Yahnker, and various framed rock posters.
  • (Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

    Thanks, Ben and Viv!

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