A Playful Pasadena Apartment Where You Can Chill the Eff Out

A Playful Pasadena Apartment Where You Can Chill the Eff Out

Esteban Cortez
Jan 16, 2018

Name: Aurora Lady and Ben Pringle
Location: Pasadena, California
Size: 830 square feet
Years lived in: 1.5 years, rented

"Our home is our everything — it's our retreat, our workplace, and our safety net," Aurora Lady says of the Pasadena apartment she shares with her partner Ben. It's a place where Aurora can create, where Ben can work on his music, and where the couple can just chill out. But to Aurora and Ben, it's more than just an apartment. It's a symbol of stability and growth. "I moved around so much as a kid and into my 20s, and this is the first time I've really felt like figuring out what our aesthetic should feel like in a grounded, more permanent period of time," Aurora says. Though the space has an eclectic feel to it, there is no shortage of playful elements, DIY, or pink decor.

Aurora is an avid DIYer, so each room is filled with her creations. She made the makeshift headboard in the bedroom by meticulously stitching together dozens of fabric flowers, and the Beyonce pillow in the living room was made from an old t-shirt. Ben is a musician, so the apartment is filled with memories of touring with his band Nerf Herder (who perform the theme song to Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and other projects he's been involved in. What makes their home great is that it reflects both of their personalities. It's clearly a result of collaboration and creativity: It's playful and energetic (with a bit of glitter thrown in for fun).

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: If Columbo's trench coat and gloves went through the Holodeck and came out in the form of animal shapes in bright colors.

Inspiration: Episodes of Columbo, animals, that moment when my partner greets his plants every morning, finding a tufted velvet jacket at a thrift store that I can actually wear in LA.

Favorite Element: Can I choose 18 elements? I love seeing order around my home, but in surprising ways, like placing pairs of shoes in display areas rather than in my closet where I wouldn't be able to appreciate them. Or making a Beyonce t-shirt into a pillowcase to display in the living room. I also adore the dinette set. It just looks like a good morning without me even having my coffee yet.

Biggest Challenge: Honestly? There aren't many. I am mildly irritated by the typical renter wall color, but I think this just needs to turn into a painting party. For now, I think we've made the best of making it look intentional.

What Friends Say: "Whoa! You two love plants!" or "I love the shower curtain!" or "This bathroom is the most Aurora place ever!" or "Where's the shrine to Jarvis Cocker?"

"My dream is to build things myself from salvaged materials, namely a new dining table and chairs. I would have a dreamy little workshop, and a dreamy little saw, and a dreamy open ceiling to let the sunlight in. Til then I'm happy scouring thrift shops to find what I need." — Aurora Lady

Biggest Embarrassment: I didn't make the shower curtain. We also haven't made a shrine to Jarvis Cocker. Yet.

Proudest DIY: I am an avid DIYer and there are a ton of projects I've made or altered around the house! But I especially love our twin (fraternal) trunks in the entryway. They were my grandmother's and passed down to me. Ben and I needed a table that fit the area, and spent an afternoon painting them a soft white and adding legs. It's the only proper DIY we've done together and we love it!

Biggest Indulgence: Our couch, which was made by a person who usually makes mattresses in the Los Angeles area, so it's got legit mattress technology going on in it. It's a chill couch that doesn't demand a ton of attention, and is super comfy and able to accommodate both Ben and myself after an exhausting day. It's understated but surprising. Kind of like Columbo.

Best Advice: 1) Use floating frames. They are forgiving for lots of imagery change outs. 2) It's more important that a couch feel great than look good. 3) If you like your wearables, display them as art. 4) If something makes you feel good, leave it out and don't live by seasonal rules unless it's utterly impractical.

Dream Sources: My dream is to build things myself from salvaged materials, namely a new dining table and chairs. I would have a dreamy little workshop, and a dreamy little saw, and a dreamy open ceiling to let the sunlight in. Til then I'm happy scouring thrift shops to find what I need.


Wall hanging — Society6
Astrology candles — Gifts via House of Intuition
Extra sign — From a display warehouse I used to work at
Lamp — Furniture warehouse in Phoenix
Yes portrait — Gift from Louise Androlia
Cassette tape — A recording from my BFF Taleen Kali

Glass table — Hotel Surplus Outlet
Couch — Hotel Surplus Outlet
Rug — American Furniture Warehouse
Chair — World Market
CD Cabinet — IKEA
For Eva Eva platform shoes — Charla Tedrick
Britney Spears portrait by David LaChappelle — Found at Goodwill
Yellow pillows — Target
Star Wars pillow — Casual Glitz
Vase — Oh Joy! collection from Target
Cookie Pillow — Squishable via Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena
Beyonce pillow — Made from an old t-shirt
Pencrest electric guitar — Belonged to Ben's grandmother many years ago

Table — IKEA
Chairs — Via Amazo

Morrissey tea towel — Purchased in London
Collage — Collection of London neighborhood street maps
Print near the stove — Found on our anniversary trip to New Orleans

Vanity — From thrift store
Ladder shelf — Cost Plus World Market
Landscape painting — Painted by one of Ben's old roommates
Bench for plants — Acts Thrift Store
Desk — From thrift store (repainted it white)
Chair — World Market

Mary Blair print — From the fancy art store on Main Street Disney
Portrait of Ben and Aurora — Gift from friend, made by KRK Ryden
Plant beakers — CB2
Desk — IKEA
Yellow chair — Hotel Surplus Outlet
Llama head — Target
Pub Open sign — Ben found this at a bar on tour many years ago
Antique suitcases — Belonged to Aurora's grandmother

Mirror — Target
Shower curtain — Target
Towel — Victoria's Secret viaGoodwill
Shimmery streamer — Party City
Flower streamer — Made by Aurora
Hello Selfie Miami still photo — Kate Durbin
Portrait of woman drinking tea — Aurora Lady
Hardware — Home Depot

Thanks, Aurora & Ben!

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