Dara & Ashley’s Colorful Topanga Canyon Home

updated Apr 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Bridget Pizzo)

Name: Ashley, Dara, and their two daughters, Sage and Sophie; dog, Dylan, and cat, Luna.
Location: Topanga Canyon, California
Size: 3500 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years

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Nestled in the hills of Topanga Canyon, Ashley and Dara have created a home that honors their creative spirit and inspires their collaborative jewelry line, Alkemie Jewelry. The down-to-earth couple’s commitment to the environment extends into their designs, and comes from a desire to exemplify responsibility to their two daughters.

(Image credit: Bridget Pizzo)

Originally from the Philadelphia area (and a former preschool teacher), Dara is a self-taught jewelry artist. The couple met twelve years ago in New York City, and decided to combine creative forces. Their first collaborative jewelry line blended Ashley’s rock ‘n’ roll vibe with Dara’s feminine style. Now, they focus on designing collections that don’t harm the earth. The line uses 100% reclaimed metal, and everything is made locally in Los Angeles by artisans who are paid a living wage. “By creating new designs from existing materials in abundance, Alkemie’s mission is to translate something that would otherwise be landfill-bound into wearable art.”

(Image credit: Bridget Pizzo)

From sculptures designed by Ashley’s mother, to walls filled with their daughters’ artwork, to a framed from their wedding day by Dara’s grandmother—sentimental family values are proudly displayed. The same loving kindness applies to their two pets: Luna, a twenty pound ragdoll cat who thinks she’s a dog, and sweet rescue dog, Dylan. Follow Alkemie Jewelry on Instagram, Facebook.

(Image credit: Bridget Pizzo)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Vintage elements sprinkled with a modern touch.

Inspiration: Traveling and exploring awakens our creative spirit. Flea markets, museums, vintage stores, vintage books and thankfully, each other, all inspire.

Favorite Element: Our 1979 B&B Italia couches that we recovered with hand-embroidered Otomi textile.

Biggest Challenge: Keeping our home environment clean with our two daughters and our dog, Dylan, and cat, Luna.

What Friends Say: They enjoy our eclectic style and attention to detail.

Biggest Indulgence: Ashley refurbished our 1966 leather belt chair designed by Arne Norell.

Best Advice: Collect timeless vintage designs because they never go out of style.

Dream Sources: Flea markets in faraway places.


(Image credit: Bridget Pizzo)


  • Iron bench upholstered with a vintage kilim rug designed by Israeli artist, Ilana Goor, Ashley’s mom.
  • Paintings by our 15-year-old daughter, Sage.
  • Original Velvet Underground and Nico album covers designed by Andy Warhol
  • Grateful Dead “Fare Thee Well” tickets we framed along with the tie dye roses handed out at the 50th reunion show in Chicago.
  • (Image credit: Bridget Pizzo)


  • Bronze sculptures and bronze coffee table made by Ashley’s mom, Ilana Goor.
  • Plants given to us from our midwife who delivered both of our daughters at home.
  • Raven wings framed in a plexi box. (Dara found this raven and gave it a burial. They honor the bird by having its wings framed and hung.)
  • Vintage book collection.
  • Vintage hand-beaded chair.
  • 1966 leather belt chair designed by Arne Norell.
  • 1979 B&B Italia couches that we recovered with hand-stitched Otomi textiles.
  • (Image credit: Bridget Pizzo)


  • Vintage oak dining room table we stripped to its natural finish.
  • Iron lamp and chairs designed by Ashley’s mom.
  • Vintage Mexican wood cabinet with a marble top that we added.
  • Bronze sculpture made by Dara’s father of Dara and her two daughters.
  • Turn of the century Herlengo German camera that Ashley purchased in Romania while producing a film.
  • (Image credit: Bridget Pizzo)


    • The felted tree was made by Sophie’s preschool teacher. We traded her jewelry to make it for us.
    • The plant was from the midwife who delivered both of our kids at home.
    • A glimpse of Dara’s altar of sacreds atop a vintage metal trunk.
    (Image credit: Bridget Pizzo)


  • Jacuzzi tub overlooking Topanga Canyon.
  • Pollen Arts candles surrounding our bathtub.
  • Vintage 1970s stained glass owl.
  • (Image credit: Bridget Pizzo)


  • Dara’s desk is an early 1900s woodworking table with vintage drawer cabinets.
  • Vintage watchmaker’s cabinet.
  • Ashley’s desk is a 1960s plexi table and swivel chair
  • Wall art by our daughters, Sophie and Sage.
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    Thanks, Dara and Ashley!