Jessica's Small Space For Four

Jessica's Small Space For Four

Laure Joliet
Jan 8, 2010

Name: Jessica
Location: Malibou Lake, Agoura, California
Size: 1100 sq ft. 2 bdrm.
Years lived in: Owned for 4 yrs.
Who else lives here? My husband, my two stepsons (ages 15 and 11) and our dog.

Moving a family of 4 from a 6,600 square foot home to one with only 1100 square feet might sound a little crazy, or at the very least stressful and cluttered, but for Jessica and Warren it's been the best thing that's happened to them. Not only are they closer as a family but the small space provides enough room for everything they want their home to encompass.

The area of Lake Malibou in Agoura is about 30 miles west of Hollywood and is more reminiscent of 1960s Mayberry than modern-day Los Angeles. The family of four moved here from a 6600 square foot home in a gated community in Los Angeles, always planning on it being a temporary move. Instead, tucked away in this idyllic scene they have created a home that feels more comfortable than anywhere else they'd lived.

As Jessica's husband out it: "The proximity forces us to engage with each other -- there's no hiding in your office. The kitchen is six feet from the couch and 20 feet from the bed. And forget about private phone calls, unless you want to go outside. But the upside is a much higher awareness of each other, and the necessity of finding communal activities has totally transformed my parenting."

As he mentioned, there's a lot of double duty: the master bedroom is also the living room, the night stands are storage, the bench in the kitchen is full of toys, the table is covered in marker and sharpie marks and the couch, affectionately nicknamed the whale, is a place the family gathers, where candy gets ground into the cushions, popcorn gets spilled and it's all fine. This is not a formal house even though it has style and sophistication about it. It's a place for gathering, it's a place to drop pretense and it's a place to kick off your shoes and get comfortable.

AT Survey:

Our style: A practical approach to French style; a masculine version of Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic.

Inspiration: My children, who have shockingly strong opinions re: décor.

Favorite Element: The view. And the size.

Biggest Challenge: The lack of storage.

What Friends Say: They call it the Magic Tree House.


Biggest Embarrassment: We can't host overnight guests, unless they are willing to sleep on the couch.

Proudest DIY: The décor (sans designer.) (Though LA Designer Johannes Huitink built our custom pieces based on my extensive collection of magazine tear outs. He's amazing.)

Biggest Indulgence: My rugs, which were recently christened by my puppy. I need a steam cleaner, but I have nowhere to store it.

Best advice: Downsize.

Other Inspiration: White.



Appliances: Jenn-Air (refrigerator); Viking (stove); Miele (dishwasher)

Hardware: Waterworks; Anthropologie

Furniture: Pottery Barn (couch; lockers; kitchen chairs); Custom pieces by Johannes Huitink.

Accessories: Pottery Barn, Anthropologie, Ballard Designs; Aaron Brothers Art & Framing; Jerry
Solomon Custom Picture Framing (Agoura Hills)

Lighting (Master Bedroom):

Rugs and Carpets: NW Rugs (Agoura Hills); Pottery Barn

Tiles and Stone: Bathroom tile: Waterworks

Bed (Master Bedroom): Johannes Huitink

Artwork: My 11 year old; personal photographs.

Paint: Dunn Edwards Pearl White (flat on the ceilings; satin on the walls; and semi on the trim). Valley, Painting Service, Inc. Van Nuys, CA

Thanks Jessica!

Images: Jessica Butler

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