Kirsten's Homework Assignment

Kirsten's Homework Assignment

Gregory Han
Mar 31, 2010

Name: Kirsten, Erik, Olivia and Maxine Press and our pet menagerie.
Location: Los Angeles, California
Size: 3,700 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years

Let's get this out of the way first: today's house tour showcases a large space. There's no way to get around the spacious dimensions, and renters Kirsten and Erik fess up to the fact they moved into a space more than large enough for their family of four (they switched from owning to renting to be closer to their children's school). That out of the way, we wanted to share their home because of their inspiring, joyful dedication to colour, the mix of modern and traditional furnishings, and the overall sense of playfulness evident in each room. Their house not only reveals a keen eye for design, but also is a glowing reflection of the happy home this family has made within its walls.

AT Survey:

My/Our style: Transitional - an eclectic mix of eras and influences. Reinventing what you already possess.

Inspiration: Intentional use of color and cultural juxtaposition.

Favorite Element: Combining style with efficiency systems that create a productive and beautiful home on a budget. Including entertaining and activity centered spaces to share with our friends and family. 

Biggest Challenge: After renovating our own first home extensively for a decade, we moved into a rental house near the children's school. The challenge was to create an inspired home with little time, money or architectural upheaval. There is actually tremendous freedom and creativity found within that challenge!

What Friends Say: People consistently comment on how warm and happy this home feels. They respond to the myriad sensory details in scent, sound, color and flow. They also always ask if I design professionally, and now I finally do with my redesign and organization business, LA HOMEWORKS.

Biggest Embarrassment: The house is bigger than what we need. I think people live with more beauty and intention when forced to be selective about what to hold onto. The ugly back door. It is such an easy thing to switch out so embarrassing that we haven't.

Proudest DIY: Creative coverage of bad sight lines. A wonderful fountain made out of a free urn. Our art collection mostly created by our own "in house" young artisans.

Biggest Indulgence: An enormous flat screen television because we finally had a living room large enough. Amazingly we rarely use it.

Best advice: Plan a big party the week after you move in. It really forces you to unpack and set-up. Added bonus, it instantly warms your space with the energy of great friends. Always install dimmers on every light and make sure your light sources are not exclusively overhead

Dream source: Donald Kaufman Color, ABC Carpet and Home, Cisco Brothers, Holly Hunt, Kathryn Ireland


Family "treasures" like the walnut dining room buffet built by my grandparents in the 1960's and the Yellow Scandinavian settee passed down through the generations, dining room table and chairs. We often find things at chain stores and flea markets then "reinvent " them with paint and custom fabric.

Hardware: Lowes, Expo


  • Crate & Barrel (Living Room Chair)
  • Pottery Barn (Living Room Sofa with custom upholstery)
  • Ikea (Brown Leather sectional and random accessories)
  • Pier 1 (Pillows, Rugs)
  • West Elm (Day Bed, pillows, rugs, accessories)
  • World Market (side porch furniture)
  • LA Flea Markets (iron chairs and more)

Lighting: Flea market chandeliers rewired

Paint: Benjamin Moore (Storm in Bathroom), Valspar (Deep Turquoise in Butler Pantry), Behr (Asparagus in Kitchen) Farrow and Ball (Lime White, Pink Ground in Kids Rooms)

Rugs and Carpets: Kathy Ireland for Shaw (Dining Room), Pier 1, Ikea, West Elm

Artwork: Etsy, Anthropologie, our children's art, photography of ours and friends, local LA artists, our travels

Fabric: Diamond Fabric, F&S Fabric

(Thanks, Kirsten, Erik, Olivia and Maxine!)

Photos by Chris Ayers and Erik Press

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