Chris and Amber’s Old + New Renovated Home

published Jul 29, 2014
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(Image credit: Monica Wang)

Name: Chris and Amber Earl
Location: North Hollywood, CA
Size: 1,190 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years

Amber met Chris at a mutual friend’s BBQ and she admits it took her forever to notice him but once she did she was done for. Chris grew up in Papua New Guinea and is a talented woodworker and chef and Amber is a fashion rep who grew up in SoCal. After getting married, they moved into Chris’ grandfather’s old house and renovated the space which includes a spacious outdoor area and speakeasy (yes, you heard me right!) with a hidden door through the den. When I came across this home via Instagram, I knew it was meant to be shared.

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(Image credit: Monica Wang)

They were able to revamp the house while keeping certain areas of the original home such as the wood paneling in the front sitting area and the custom cabinetry in the dining room that Chris’ grandfather had built. It was such a treat to photograph this space since it had so much history for them and their family. The home is filled with eclectic pieces, both modern and vintage, and Chris’ beautiful wood furniture and cheese boards.

It is hard to believe the backyard was once a jungle with weeds and piles of junk strewn everywhere. With a lot of hard work and sweat, it has been transformed into a multipurpose space where Chris and Amber grow fruit trees, a variety of greens and herbs, and love to host dinner parties for friends and friends of friends. This is a house of dreams.

(Image credit: Monica Wang)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Mid-Century Modern, Eclectic, Classic. We love to mix old with new. Fixing up a house from the 40’s takes some ingenuity… especially when it had so many years of disrepair. Throughout our process of renovations and design we’ve sought to update the space while still staying true to it’s original character and feel. While updating, we left a lot of original details throughout the house.

Chris tends to be a minimalist, while I am more of a collector. I think our collaboration leads to the best of both worlds. We love to take both of our perspectives into account, mixing clean minimal lines with highlights of texture, mixing metals, color, and patterns to add flavor to each room. We try to stay true to our style and what we love, because it’s fun to try and express ourselves through the decor and design of our home. We want it to be well put together with a sense of elegance while still feeling comfortable and lived in.

Inspiration: It’s wide ranged but, we are inspired by what feels unique while still classic and livable. We travel any chance we get and love the design inspiration that comes with what we see along the way. There is a natural influence in our “den” that has been swayed by Chris’ upbringing in the jungles of Papua New Guinea… plants plants and more plants. It’s a great way to add texture and color to a space!

Favorite Element: Our entry way. When you walk into the house you can look all the way through the double archways, the office/thoroughfare, through the den and into the pool and see a lot of the backyard.

Biggest Challenge: Turning the backyard junk forest jungle into a usable area to play and entertain! With over-grown trees, original plumbing and old tree stumps sticking out everywhere, we’ve had our hands full. But so glad that after 2 years of hard work on the yard it’s finally usable!!

What Friends Say: Pool party?

Biggest Embarrassment: Having to ask friends/fam to come over for “work days” on the house or yard one too many times. There were so many of them… we started to just send out mass texts asking people if they wanted to come over and sweat.

Proudest DIY: Our Speakeasy! It was Chris’ grandma’s old arts and crafts room. Too big for a closet and too small for a bedroom. Chris took months to figure out how to make the door seem “hidden”. Once he figured out how to go about fixing the door into a shelving unit that opens… he worked that out in only a day! We painted the inside walls and ceiling all black and the seams gold. Some things we already owned we painted black and gold. We did a little vintage thrift shopping for the piano that acts as our bar and brass shelving unit and then we had ourselves a homemade speakeasy in a matter of a few days.

Biggest Indulgence: Our Arne Norell Couch

Best Advice: Take your time, try and handle letting a room be empty or even half empty until you find the right piece that is just right for the space. Don’t settle for something that you aren’t in love with. Save up and buy from your favorite artist, OR find something thrift or vintage and re-upholster or re-paint it to make it fresh and new!

Dream Sources: Well of course, most of our house is filled with Chris Earl pieces 🙂 Mid Century LA, 1st Dibs, Kelly Wearstler, ABC Carpet & Home to name a few… honestly after getting back from Denmark while traveling and visiting Chris’ family… a dream would be able to fill our entire home with finds from there. If only you could fly with furniture 🙂

(Image credit: Monica Wang)

Resources of Note:


  • Vintage green shelf: thrifted and painted
  • Gold vase: gilt



  • Rocking Chair: Vintage
  • Wall Mounted Bows & Arrows: from Papua New Guinea
  • Lamp: Crate & Barrel
  • Coffee Table: Chris Earl
  • All Rattan finds (Chairs and Hanging light): Vintage finds
  • Black leather chair: Vintage
  • Couch: Monarch Sofa
  • Cow Hide: Downtown LA


  • Dining Table: Chris Earl
  • Chairs: Vintage and painted black
  • Candle sticks: wedding present!! Macys


  • Island: Chris Earl
  • Stools: Revival Furniture LA
  • Countertops are White Quartz
  • Cheeseboards: Chris Earl
  • Copper Dish rack: Vintage
  • Hand Painted bowls with nuts: Grand Bazaar


  • Piano and Shelving Unit: St. Vincent De Paul!!
  • Mirrors and Chairs: in the attic when we moved in!! Mirrors were actually old medicine cabinets that we ripped the cabinets off of. Chairs we painted black.
  • The Gold lamp is from Amber’s grandma and Chris removed the fabric from the lamp shade. We painted it gold and got in trouble, I guess it’s a
  • collectable… oops! whatever, that’s what paint thinner is for right?


  • Bed : Chris Earl
  • Dresser: Sunbeam vintage
  • Glass hand ring display: vintage find
  • Wall tapestry we got on our honeymoon in Istanbul, Turkey
  • Macrame hanging plant was a gift from a friend


  • Paint Color: Chartreuse
  • Head Board: Chris’ great great grandfather’s
  • Pillow: Wolfum


  • Wood/White Bistro Chairs: Ikea – painted white
  • Outdoor table: Custom made by Chris
  • White metal lounge swivel and rocking chair: Danish Modern Noho – sanded and re-painted white
  • Wine Glasses: Crate & Barrel
(Image credit: Monica Wang)

Thanks, Chris and Amber!

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