Name: Jeremy and Kim Kasten
Location: South Pasadena, California
Size: 1,300 square feet
Years lived in: 2.5 years; Rented
My dear friend Jeremy Kasten had his previous loft featured on Apartment Therapy almost six years ago. It was a stunningly sexy apartment in the Eastern Columbia building in Downtown Los Angeles. Two and a half years ago, with a baby on the way, he and his lovely wife Kim were forced to find something bigger for their growing family. They found an apartment in South Pasadena big enough and period appropriate for their deco furniture — a high priority. Their new home is just as stylish, but arguably warmer and with a touch of femininity to balance things out. “The Eastern Columbia felt like being in the back room of a 1930s high-end speakeasy, and our apartment now feels like a proper 1930s cozy home.”
They've made quite a few improvements to their apartment, particularly for a rental. They tore up the carpet and treated the wood floors. They painted not just the wainscoting and trim, but the refrigerator, countertops, and alternating bathroom floor tiles. They replaced all of the light fixtures and made countless small changes to make the apartment somewhere they love to be; the most transforming of which is the balcony.
The artificial grass and twinkly lights are simple, but transporting. It feels like it's own little world. They created the space for their daughter to have fun, and play, and be a kid. Which is not to say they've made it to keep her away from all their lovely bits and bobbles. “We believe that a child brought up surrounded by delicate things will learn to be delicate with them. We also believe that you can't be too precious about things, and if you choose to live with old things, and old things and a baby, sometimes they break. You have to be willing to get out the gorilla glue from time to time. We don't believe that having a baby means your aesthetic choices have to change. For example, we don't love plastic furniture, so our baby, Ozma, learned to eat solid foods on a wood highchair made in the early 1900s in Paris (found at an antique store in Pomona, CA). We've had to refinish it a few times, but that's part of the joy of having marvelous old things around. We don't want to give the impression that Ozma can't be a kid anywhere—she has her own space on the balcony with a play kitchen and a room filled with her toys and books. Simply put, we don't believe having a baby means the baby has to take over the house.” Such a wonderful balance.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: 1930s Inspired Southern California Suburban Deco
Inspiration: Old Hollywood Elegance and old Pasadena Preppy
Favorite Element: Our fancy-fake grass covered balcony/play area
Biggest Challenge: Small (original) closets and cupboards
What Friends Say: How do you keep your kids from destroying it?
Biggest Embarrassment: When I spray-painted the fridge, even though I had taped-off and covered everything in the kitchen, the ambient spray went into cupboards, inside the fridge, under the stove, etc. Many of our appliances got a light dusting of black gloss.
Proudest DIY: The painted-on countertops.
Biggest Indulgence: I paint and regularly touch up the lavender tiles on the bathroom floor to glossy onyx.
Best Advice: Hire an electrician and swap switches for dimmers.
Dream Sources: The Gamble House
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