Name: Erin Tavin, Nathan Stein, and cat, Charlie
Location: Echo Park, Los Angeles
Size: 1,200 square feet
Years lived in: 24 years (Nathan), 9 years (Erin); Owned
Creativity abounds at the Echo Park home of Erin and Nathan. Set atop a quiet hillside, Erin and Nathan have lovingly crafted a home that reflects their creative and hardworking personalities. Owners of bohemian clothing shop, Tavin, the couple’s friendly and unassuming spirit extends beyond the store and into their romantic bungalow.
Nathan has lived in their home for twenty-four years. Erin fondly admits that the bungalow had a spartan, bachelor-y feel to it before she moved in nine years ago. A former circus director, Nathan is a true renaissance man. Some of his many skills include: juggling, piano playing, video editing, and woodworking to name a few. Much of their furniture was built by his own two hands. Beautiful Erin, with her gorgeous wild shock of blonde tresses, is a New York City native. She counts acting and costume design as some of her many talents in addition to styling, sourcing, and curating Tavin. Together the couple compliment each other’s talents, both contributing equal parts to their creative and home design projects while also admitting that sometimes that is easier said than done. Oftentimes they recruit the help of their creative friends which just adds to the incredible sense of coziness and familiarity that their home possesses.
Using textiles and home goods sourced from flea markets and their world travels, Erin and Nathan’s home feels true to their artistic spirits and acknowledges the inspiration they receive from different cultures. Their bohemian style extends beyond their home and into their gorgeous yard complete with romantic seating, dreamy chandeliers, an outdoor bath, fountain, garden, and a yurt that doubles as Erin’s office (stay tuned for that tour)! Their yard is also home to their daring and wild cat, Charlie, who enjoys lazy afternoons sunning himself perched high atop a fourteen-foot ladder. Some might say he takes after Nathan’s acrobatic skills!
When hanging out with Erin and Nathan, one can’t help but feel inspired not just by their incredible style and creativity, but also by their friendly, sweet, generous, genuine, and caring nature, not just to each other, but to everyone. Erin cares so deeply about her customers, that she wants them to have an experience that extends beyond just retail therapy. She takes the time to craft handmade tags with kind thoughts and sayings.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Very bohemian, hippie, casual, earthy natural
Favorite Element: Our outdoor bath and shower for sure! Its an old claw foot tub and the shower is not fancy but i use it every day in the warmer months and its totally private! It makes me feel like we are far away. We love hot springs and this gives us a bit of that feeling.
Biggest Challenge: Clutter between my husband and I! Finding places to put things is always hard and keeping the house fairly clear of junk is a constant job. We've had to build various places to put things through the years and we continue to all the time. Fortunately, our shop, Tavin, can be a temporary spot for a certain amount of display things, but it's always a struggle for us.
What Friends Say: Well...the young people who work for us always come up here and say, "Ohhh, this is my dream house!! This is what I always wanted!!!!" I always ask, "Really? Don't you want something fancier?" But I think it is the boho look and feel of it all that they are so attracted to up here at our house in the hills. We host one big party a year in the backyard which takes about ten days of prepping. We put rugs, pillows, and fabrics everywhere. Nate does the lighting and candles. Everyone goes nuts over the backyard and people all think we live like that all the time and they say its very french and very bohemian.
Biggest Embarrassment: I wish we were gardeners and that we spent more time making our garden beautiful. We have such a great space, but I only garden in spurts, so it's always looking more grey gardens than the south of France dreams I imagine. Garden plans are on my to-do list and I think if I could just do it a little every day, then eventually it will be something great!
Proudest DIY: Nathan lived in the house for many years before I moved in with him and back then the house had a very "bachelor house" aesthetic. Back then, he had about one piece of furniture, - my visiting parents had to sit on pillows on the living room floor! In recent years, Nathan and I have worked together, collaborating on a style that feels good and cozy for both of us. The latest project we designed together was the bathroom. Though we nearly split up over the sink choice, it's really very lovely and we bathe indulgently all the time in the huge clawfoot tub so it was totally worth it! We both put ALOT of work into making the house look and feel like OUR house. It wasn't always easy, but I am proud of my input.
Biggest Indulgence: I don't feel like we have too many indulgences. We did buy a few high ticket items like the stove, refrigerator, and the teak bed. They cost ALOT but I'm very happy we spent on those items as we use them all the time so it feels like a good thing now.
Best Advice: Just be comfortable at home. Make your place feel good to you so that you have a place you can retreat to in this busy world, - a place where you can relax, create in, and of course, rest. Don't follow too many rules, just get inspired however you can: photos, books, art, etc...and then just enjoy making a home for yourself! It is a constant work in progress, that's for sure! It's never done, so if one can enjoy the process, then it feels good!
Dream Sources: Paris flea markets, small towns everywhere, flea markets, yard sales, and small shops, Mexico, furniture building ideas in Big Sur like Nepenthe, and old timberline lodges in Oregon, shopping the Pacific Northwest small towns, and Vermont.
Resources of Note:
PAINT & COLORS
- Living room: California white - Dunn Edwards
- Bedroom: faux-finish Italian scenic - designer friend
- Kitchen: mint - custom-made at Par Paints
- Entryway piece: designed by Nathan and made from recycled redwood mixed with doug fir.
- Painting above mud room: Rose Bowl flea market
- Couch: Sweet Smiling Home
- Rug: Ashop in Pasadena
- Leather chair: ABC NYC
- Leather rocker: from Costa Rica
- Bookcase: designed by Nathan and made with Indonesian hard wood by local artist and friend, Jan Munroe
- Red TV stereo cabinet: Melrose trading post
- Various art and photos: from flea markets
- Hanging lights: from thrift store in Silverlake
- Navajo blanket: Santa Fe
- Indigo throw: thrift shop in Portland Oregon
- Pillows: from Merida, Mexico
- Table: made from mengaris wood, designed by Nathan and built by Jan Munroe
- Piano: Baldwin upright from Nathan's family
- Tapestries and small art on walls: Mexico and India
- Cabinet: Sweet Smiling Home
- Bowls on table: ABC carpet NYC
- Placemats: from Merida, Mexico
- Stained glass skylight: designed to look like the sun by Nathan and stained glass artist, Mary Whitecloud.
- Tiles: made by Peter Shire and designed by us all
- Cabinets: built by Nathan made of birch plywood
- Booth and table: built by Nathan from doug fir
- Blue pattern dishes: Deruta Italy
- Subzero refrigerator: specialty shop San Fernando road
- Wolf stove: specialty shop San Fernando road
- Many bowls: made by Peter Shire
- Blue vase: thrift shop in Portland Oregon
- Various pillows: Paris
- Bed: HD Buttercup
- Thread and fabric art piece: from artist and dear friend, Audrey Stone
- Other art work of barns: open house in Point Reyes
- Purple blanket: Chiapas, Mexico
- Pillows: Chiapas, Mexico
- Claw foot tub: Sunrise Specialty
- Sink: Georges
- Cabinet: built by Nathan with cabrera marble
- Towel hooks: built by Nathan
- Brown leather magazine stool: ABC carpet
- Tiles on walls and floor from Barcelona
- Designed and installed by Nathan
- Table: made by Peter Shire with a cabrera marble tabletop
- Iron reclining chairs: from a shop on La Brea Ave
- Umbrellas: Cost Plus
- Various plants: Echo Park Gardens
- Kilm pillows: Nomad Style
- Various pottery and vases: flea markets
- Fountain: designed and installed by local artist, Ovid Pope
- Outdoor tub: salvage yard in Los Angeles
Thanks, Erin and Nathan!
(images: Bridget Pizzo)
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Re-edited from a tour originally published October 2013 — AB