Jason and Jon's Highly Personal Design Lab

Jason and Jon's Highly Personal Design Lab

Bethany Nauert
Jan 7, 2013

Name: Jason Martin and Jon Brockett (and their Boston Terrier, Aldo)
Location: Longwood Highland, Los Angeles, California (The neighborhood real estate people refer to as 'Hancock Park adjacent'.)
Size: 1400 square feet
Years lived in: 5 years — rent

Jason and Jon live in a lovely two floor duplex apartment building, where there is plenty of space for their ever-changing decor and ample artwork. Their main goal is getting the most out of the space while creating a comfortable but personal environment to enjoy. With rich colors and layered patterns, this home is full of charm and perfect for entertaining.

As an interior designer and decorator, Jason has a certain integrity he puts into developing the 'personality' of any space. When it comes to his own home, he says, "Everything we own has memories attached but, really, if there was a fire I'd grab Jon, the dog and maybe a family photo or two — only because they're hanging on the way to the front door. No one thing means all that much to me. Jon's more nostalgic than I am, but I think we agree that the story of the thing is actually more important than the thing itself."

Jason is the design director at Kristen Buckingham for three years, where he was part of some incredible design projects. It's always interesting to see how designers apply their design philosophy at home. "Whether for myself or for a client, my first question is 'How is the space used and who is using it?' It seems simplistic but I see it over and over again, even with professional design, people get a house and immediately jump in and start buying furniture and decorating. I think it's probably the byproduct of all the design shows on television. Everyone wants the big reveal of a finished house as quickly as possible. That just never works. Design has to begin at a functional level and then you can move on to the aesthetics. But good architecture and lots of natural light never hurt."

With Los Angeles as their home front, the city's many architectural charms have a big influence on the design of Jason and Jon's interiors. Jason agreed: "we have some really good architecture and an abundance of natural light here. Although the weather isn't that conducive to using the fireplace most of the year. I guess we should get an outdoor fire pit."

Many thanks to Leslie Landis for introducing us for this home tour :)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: I always say "It's personal". Basically, it's two-thirds stuff we have collected together and one-third ever-changing design lab for my interiors work. It's modern, tailored and collected.

Inspiration: I grew up in Texas, but my family spent a lot of time in Santa Fe and Taos. Jon grew up in the Florida panhandle spending summers at the beach. Those places have really influenced who we are, and I hope our house reflects that. There are a lot of references to nature, travel and family here.

Favorite Element: Of the house – The fireplace. When we came to look at the house, it was the first thing we saw and we were sold on the place even before getting all the way through the front door. We've basically made the living room an altar to firewood.

Of the décor – The art. There is a lot of vintage stuff mixed with modern. My favorite piece is the botanical mobile in the stairway. It was a gift from our friend Kevin Inkawhich. And we love photography. We have several pieces from another friend, a photographer named Steve Wood. I always describe his work as vacation photos you wish you had taken of places you wish you had gone. The art is, to us, the most personal element, so it seemed natural that we would mix it in with photos from both of our families on the stair wall.

Biggest Challenge: I hate to say this, being a designer, but we really got lucky with the space. It's pretty great on its own. The house was built in 1932 and is streamline moderne, so there isn't a lot of architecture but what's there is good. I like the way it's laid out, and there is a good flow for entertaining. We just had to make it ours and not step on any of the good stuff that already existed.

What Friends Say: Did you repaint again?

Biggest Embarrassment: We recently had draperies made for our bedroom and the guest room. I wanted something kind of "old school luxe" in the guest room (we were replacing Ikea so it only seemed fitting). I picked a heavy linen and used expensive vintage trim. We kind of went all out and when they were installed we both immediately hated them. They now cover a weird window in the guest closet where no one will see them. We replaced them with these great plaid draperies Jon found online after an exhaustive search at — of all places — Bed, Bath and Beyond. I really like the idea that sometimes the best option isn't exotic or expensive. Sometimes it's sold online and delivered in 3 to 5 days.

Proudest DIY: Most of my pride in the DIY department comes from being able to fight the instinct to do it myself. I've painted enough apartments, for myself and friends, to know that my level of expectation has bypassed my level of skill.

Biggest Indulgence: Our biggest indulgence has been treating this rental like we own it. I think we've repainted something like four times in five years, changed out all the light fixtures and had custom blinds and draperies made.

Best Advice: Really the same as above — it's your home and if you plan on being there more than a couple of months, start making it personal. It doesn't have to be expensive or elaborate or even finished in a week. Just get to work. Don't think too hard about it. Start with one thing that you love, do it well and move on to another and then another and another.

Dream Sources: The Louvre, The Yves Saint Laurent Auction and any flea market where I can be first in line.

Resources of Note:


    • Living room - Dunn Edwards, Muslin
    • Dining Room - Dunn Edwards, Walnut Shell
    • Master Bedroom - Farrow and Ball, Pavilion Gray


    • Sofa, arm chairs (in window), TV cabinet- custom, Jason Martin
    • Leather Chairs, vintage originally in the Screen Actors Guild Offices (Jon got them for 25 dollars)
    • Coffee table, vintage flea market
    • Console- Vintage from Jeff Antiques
    • Side tables- 45 Three Modern
    • Firewood holder- planter from West Elm
    • Rug - Ikea
    • Brass sculpture/ bowl- Alma Allen
    • Architectural print Farnsworth and dog portrait by Belinda Preno


    • Console- West Elm
    • Lamp - Anthropologie
    • Photo - Mickey Smith from Kristen Buckingham


    • Table, chairs - vintage, flea market
    • Buffet - vintage from Design Modern on Melrose
    • Shed Antler Chandelier - made by Jason's father
    • Bar console - Antique, Kristen Buckingham
    Art over bar- monotype by keira kotler
    •Other photos - Steve Wood


    • Bed - reupholstered West Elm
    • Tall cabinet, low chest - custom JM //www.jasonmartindesign.com/
    • Side tables - Vintage, Design Utopia
    • Chair - custom JM
    • Pillow - kilim from Kristen Buckingham
    • Rug - Pottery Barn
    • Lamps- Target
    • Owl Prints - Debbie Carlos, etsy
    • Black and White ink on paper - Tim Forcum
    • Orange abstract painting - Paige Saez
    • Draperies - custom


    • Oil Painting - Lindsay Cowels, at Kristen Buckingham


    • Headboard and side tables, custom JM
    • Bookcase, Vintage- Tini
    • Chest- Vintage - flea market
    • Rug- kilim, flea market
    • Upholstered Chair- custom JM
    • Low Bobbin Chair- Kristen Buckingham
    • Lamps - Pier One
    • Draperies - Bed Bath and Beyond
    • Ocean Photo - Manfred Paul at Lumus.com


    • Most Photography - Steve Wood
    • Botanical Mobile - Kevin Inkawhich
    • Abstract light Photo - Kelli Craig From Kristen Buckingham Showroom

Thanks, Jason + Jon!

(Images: Bethany Nauert)

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