Elizabeth's Urban Cabin

Elizabeth's Urban Cabin

Jessica Isaac
Nov 25, 2014
(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Name: Lenora Elizabeth Curbo
Location: Northeast Los Angeles, California
Size: 1,150 square feet; 2 bedroom/2 bath
Years lived in: 2 years; Rented

It’s hard to imagine a spot as serene as Elizabeth’s rustic bungalow existing mere minutes from Downtown Los Angeles. Her sweet 1920s home is nestled in the hills of El Sereno, an up-and-coming suburb of Los Angeles, and feels like a secret mountain retreat amidst the hustle and bustle of the city.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Elizabeth loves to travel, so it’s no wonder she’s chosen a cozy and quiet home that is perfect for unwinding after a long trip. Her resourceful spirit coupled with her love of culture, history, and sentimentality have created a eclectic and whimsical atmosphere that feels warm and inviting. Basically, if it’s in Elizabeth’s home, it’s got a story.

Many of the original details of the 1920s architecture have remained in tact. The built-in Art Nouveau display case in her dining room hearkens a rustic Frank Lloyd Wright vibe and is situated next to a charming freestanding fireplace. Natural light bathes the space, finding its way in through various skylights and stunning stained glass windows.

Those looking for some R&R in LA may be lucky enough to stay with Elizabeth. She sometimes rents out her guest bedroom to lucky Airbnb-ers.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Cozy Modern

Inspiration: I find inspiration everywhere I go. Be it in my travels, friends homes, or different places I’ve lived. My Dad loves antiques and anything from Texas, my Mom had rather quirky taste in art, and my Nana’s Miami Beach condo has always been beautifully decorated. I probably took little parts of them when I developed my own style.

Favorite Element: Nature

Biggest Challenge: Making the place look furnished. I didn’t have a lot great pieces or money to work with, so I used what I had and filled in the blanks with thoughtfully arranged thrift store finds. I rolled in a few tree stumps from the yard, and added a few pinecones here and there to add to the cabin vibe…

Luckily the house had so much character I didn’t have to do a lot.

What Friends Say: They love it!

Biggest Embarrassment: The stuffed animal I inherited from my Mother, it’s just kind of creepy. I used to hide it when friends came over but I felt guilty. So now I just endure the embarrassment of having people think I sleep with a panda bear.

Proudest DIY: I don’t actually do a lot of "DIY," but I’m proud of what I was able to do with what I had to work with.

Biggest Indulgence: My set of George Nelson dressers from the 1940s. I bought them in perfect condition from a shop in Venice Beach. That was the most money I’ve ever spent on furniture but they’re classic so they will never lose their value.

Best Advice: You don’t have to go out and spend a fortune in a showroom. Look for beauty in unexpected things and be thoughtful in how you arrange them.

Dream Sources: I’d love travel the world and fill my home with handmade beautiful things to remind me of the places I’ve been.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Resources of Note:


  • Bavarian Holiday Craft: Viktualienmarkt in Munich
  • Silk and Canvas Flags: Graham Keegan Designs
  • bench, hammock chair, bird house, rocking chair, stools, table and chairs: various thrift stores and flea markets
  • Potted Plant Holder: The French Market in New Orleans
  • Poured Concrete Hanging Planter (prototype)

  • Harry Bertoia Bird Chair and Jens Risom Lounge Chair by Knoll: Hive Modern Design in Portland, OR
  • George Nelson Dressers: Vintage Herman Miller
  • Crate and Barrel Sofa: Craigslist
  • Issamu Naguchi Lantern: Hive Modern
  • Coffee Table: Craigslist
  • Eucalyptus Stump: my yard
  • Antique Red Cross Anatomical Chart: Alameda Flea Market in SF
  • Antique Scarab Prints: Rose Bowl Flea Market
  • Rug: Silver Lake Flea Market
  • Flower Vase Ink Drawing: Wesley Younie Creative
  • Indigo Dyed Throw Pillow: Graham Keegan Designs
  • Turned Wood Bowl: Artisan in Bavaria
  • Throw Blanket: Pendleton Woolen Mills
  • Vintage German Beer Hall Table: flea market
  • Kartell “Componibili” Storage Units: Hive Modern
  • Light Fixtures: original to the house
  • 100 Year Old Set of Works by Brett Hart: Birthday gift from my Father
  • Cowhide Rug: Ikea
  • Antique Japanese Jewelry Box/Vanity: vintage store in Palm Springs, CA
  • Dresser: George Nelson for Herman Miller circa 1940s
  • Bed Frame: Ikea
  • Alvar Alto Night Stands/Stools: Thrift Store
  • Oil Paintings: Thirft Stores
  • Hand Dyed Wool and Linen Rug: Farmer/Artisan Market in Sante Fe, NM
  • Oak Vanity: local thrift store
  • Oil painting: Wesley Younie, Portland, OR
  • Vintage Sheet Set: my grandmother's
  • Patchwork Quilt: Made for me by my great grandmother
  • Vintage California State Flag: Alameda Flea Market
  • Henri Lautrec-Esque Painting: inherited
  • Wild Mushroom Print: flea market
  • Pine Bed Frames: Ikea
  • Writing Desk and Chair: gift from a friend
  • Eames Rocking Chair by Modernica
  • (Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

    Thanks, Elizabeth!

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