A Creative, Layered Home in L.A. Gets an Update

updated Apr 30, 2019

A Creative, Layered Home in L.A. Gets an Update

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Name: Leslie Landis and Jake Martinez
Location: MacArthur Park —Los Angeles, California
Size: 800 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years, renting

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“The kind of decorating I do is less matching and more layering of elements. I think it’s the more interesting option, but when you switch out one thing the whole room is affected,” writes Leslie, an interior decorator. This home might seem a bit familiar; three years ago we toured Leslie and Jake’s Los Angeles home. But a lot can happen in three years, particularly when one small design tweak can lead to more and more changes.

Leslie gives a run-down of all the changes their home has seen since their last tour:

The house has evolved a lot in the last three years! For starters we no longer share an office. The hum of the computers drove me crazy, so I set up shop in the corner of the living room. I get to hangout while I work and we designed the office space to better fit Jake’s needs for storage and multiple work areas.

Because the narrow dining area is the pass-through to the kitchen as well as the back door, we managed to spill an impressive amount of coffee on the beetle-green velvet dining chairs. Admitting who you are is half the battle in decorating so I recovered the chairs in a durable snakeskin vinyl.

The kind of decorating I do is less matching and more layering of elements. I think it’s the more interesting option, but when you switch out one thing the whole room is affected. The brown chairs were too dark with the black table so I switched the top to travertine (I love travertine). Then we got a new green velvet sofa because Jake hated the lack of a full back on the chaise. The ocher linen curtains worked with golden velvet but felt out of place with the new direction of the room so they were switched to a natural linen with trim.

Then I decided the dark laminate floor was really holding me back so I pulled it up and painted the hardwood flooring I found underneath to bring color back to the space. I topped off the blue floor with a crystal pirate ship so it feels a bit like a French beach house.

Upstairs I got a Brutalist dresser big enough for us both but too dark against the original blue of the walls. The new brighter blue is so happy. I also switched the wall lights for a brass table lamp. I mostly read in bed on my kindle and Jake hit his head on the wall lights.

The biggest change is the pirate bathroom with its parrot wallpaper. It’s just a home depot bathroom and we rent so I can’t gut it. My philosophy is if it can’t be beautiful it may as well be fun.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Street Cred Granny

Inspiration: Underwater Safari

Favorite Element: All of it? It’s a happy home and a great spot to gather friends.

Biggest Challenge: Remodeling the bathroom would be amazing, but we don’t own the place.

What Friends Say: “Aren’t you done yet?”

Biggest Embarrassment: The number of times I rehung the art. Jake was starting to worry about me.

Proudest DIY: Painting the back side of the glass dining table top black. It added some needed visual weight and turned out surprisingly glamorous. Also another big DIY is the closet door downstairs. I always hated the louvered door that didn’t even cover the whole thing. Unfortunately, it was a weird size that would require a custom size. Lacking the budget for custom and the carpentry skills to do it myself, I painted a piece of plywood and used a paint marker to freehand the “architectural detail”. I think it’s funny and it covers the whole closet. Win win!”

Biggest Indulgence: Wallpaper. Totally worth it.

Best Advice: Paint, hang art and fully inhabit your space even if it’s a rental. You’ll be happier for it.

Dream Sources: Truman Capote’s Hampton’s house


Yacht Bar — vintage. Birthday gift from Jake.
Pair of vintage chairs covered in Laura Ashley Tilbury Lapis Ikat (Fun fact: it was her headboard fabric in A Single Man, the Tom Ford movie)
Large color photos — Max Gough
Mirrored folding screen made from photo frame screen
Seahorse floor lamp — Shades of Light
Hooved side table — Z Gallerie
Everything else is vintage

Chandelier — Z Gallerie
Curtains — made from Pindler and Pindler fabric
Gallery wall — mix of photos and art from friends

Wallpaper — Blue Mountain
Vintage light fixture

Drapery — custom from silk found downtown
Andy’s Crash skate print — Dave Lehl
James Kellog color photos
Mirror — Ikea

Shower Curtain — Ikea
Mirror — Ikea
Blinds — Ikea
Wallpaper — Wallpapers Direct

Shelves — Ikea

Bookshelves wallpaper — Wallpaper Direct

Thanks, Leslie and Jake for letting us visit again!

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