Kristen and Mike’s Mid-Century Oasis

published Jan 25, 2011
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(Image credit: Bethany Nauert)

Who lives here: Kristen James and Mike Dunn and their dogs Gaudi and Conan
Location: Lakewood, CA
Size: 3 bedrooms 2 bathroom house (1,305 Square Feet)
Years lived in: 6 years — own

Kristen and Mike bought their home 6 years ago, with a keen sense of inspiration and design savvy that has flourished into fruition with their complete renovation and addition this past year. We caught a glimpse in Spring of 2010 of their original home and landscaping, a house tour that covered 815 square feet of the original floor plan.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Last Valentine’s day Kristen and Mike began landscaping and designing the foundation for their new front yard. They tore apart the back patio, to eventually knock out the rear wall and extend house out toward their lovely little oasis of cacti and succulents. Most of the original plants and cacti were moved to the front yard, to make room for the addition on the home. What was once a guest room is now Kristen’s office, and the kitchen that used to look to the back yard, looks into the dining room. However one of their favorite additions is the master suite that has high vaulted ceilings and enough space for their new king sized bed. Also now with the extra room Kristen has her own office and Mike has the kit house in the back yard to claim as his own studio.

One of the most amazing qualities about this home and the love that has been poured into it, is that much of the work was done by Kristen and Mike themselves. They worked alongside a general contractor to create an eco freindly green home, even reusing part of the original materials. They journaled the entire experience step by step on their blog! Kristen is and architect/interior designer and Mike is a director of photography in film, as result they are both extremely creative and specific about their vision. I think their home is stunning and they’ve done an incredible job.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

MY/OUR Style: Eclectic vintage and modern. I have little obsessions that come in waves. Right now it’s mid century Viking glass and 1950’s Pyrex. I can blame it all on the aqua wall in our new dining room. It’s influencing all of my purchases these days and has even worked it’s way to the front door (aqua frames around the window glass). I’m an architect and Mike is a Director of Photography for a TV network so we are both pretty nutty about details.
Inspiration: Cliff May, Don Wexler, Alexandar and Eichler homes. I won’t lie… my favorite magazine is Atomic Ranch. We also really love the landscape of the desert (one of our favorite things to do is camp and hike in Joshua Tree) so we decided to “bring it home” in both the front and backyard.
Favorite Element: Kristen’s favorite – the new 5′ x 5′ shower with stone floor. Mike’s favorite – our latest collection of amazing vintage furniture including the 1962 stereo/record player console in the dining room. And we both agree that having a brand-new big master bedroom with a vaulted ceiling is pretty sweet!

Biggest Challenge: Drywalling the 15′ sloped ceiling in the dining room by ourselves. 8′ x 4′ sheets of 5/8″ drywall are really heavy! We both plan to never do that again.

What Friends Say: Everyone is amazed at how quickly we were able to complete the expansion. And that they are jealous that Mike and I now have our own separate home offices.

Biggest Embarrassment: Our new oak floor (master bedroom) is not a good match to the adjacent original oak floor. I made a wide hallway runner out of carpet tiles to hide the transition between the two. At some point down the road we’ll have the old floor refinished to match the new.

Proudest DIY: The front yard. To get ready for the expansion we had to transplant a bunch of our cactus and succulents from the backyard to the front. Over Valentine’s Day weekend last year we built forms, tied rebar, and poured all of the concrete steps and walkway in the front yard. We worked so late one night that Mike had to set up his “movie lights” to illuminate the yard while we tried to finish.
Biggest Indulgence: Our new king size bed. For the last 5 years we dreamed about having a bedroom big enough to comfortably fit one! Now we even have a TV in the bedroom (hidden in Mike’s wardrobe) so we can watch 30 Rock on Netflix as we get ready for bed.
Best Advice: When working on a remodel or home addition, be creative with leftover materials. We dismantled our old deck and saved all of the wood. Then when we were done with construction we rebuilt two new decks with all of our salvaged redwood. We also took our old windows and doors to the Habitat for Humanity Re-store so someone else could put them to use.

Dream Sources: DWR, Crestview Doors, Etsy, Estate Sales, and our favorite vintage MCM furniture stores in LA and OC.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Resources of Note:


    • Martha Stewart Araucana Teal (flat)
    • Martha Stewart Pure White (flat)
    • Martha Stewart Nimbus Cloud (flat)
    • Martha Stewart Mushroom (flat)


    • Crestview Doors – window kit for front door (


    • Dux chairs, Lane coffee table, and Bissman end tables – Ebay
    • Lamp – Long Beach antique market, Shade – Ebay
    • Carpet – Milliken carpet tiles from Commercial Interior Resources (CIR)
    • Masks – trips to Hawaii, Canada, and Korea
    • Ceramic Insulators from our old roof


    • Drexel Declaration dining table and chairs
    • Stanley wall unit
    • Packard Bell stereo/record console
    • Ikea kitchen cabinets for deep wall storage


    • Ikea kitchen cabinets and wine racks
    • Vintage canisters – Ebay
    • Colorblox by Crossville tile on floor in kitchen and dining room, Ann Saks Beaulieu glass mosaic tile backsplash, countertops are Corian in “Concrete”


    • Vintage “Mayan” bed and nightstands – local yard sale
    • Slat benches – Ebay


    • Ikea vanity
    • Hakatai stone and glass tile
    • Moen faucets/fixtures
    • Toto Dual Flush toilet
    • Vintage brass wall clock – Ebay


    • Design by Color wallcovering
    • West Elm bedspread
    • Lane vintage nightstands – Craigslist
    • Vintage clock, lamps and shades – Ebay
    • Aqua bolster pillows by Kristen James (same with pillows on couch in living room)
    • Wall mounted wardrobe – Ikea PAX


    • Colorblox by Crossville tile in shower and floor
    • Ann Saks Beaulieu glass mosaic tiles
    • American Standard sink, Moen fixtures
    • Velux operable skylight
    • Oxygen Lighting “Pebble Fixture” (same sconces used in living room and new master bathroom),
    • hospital curtain drop chain and track for shower curtain (same thing in master bathroom)


    • Vintage 60’s credenza and desk – Craigslist
    • vintage pole lamp and wall clock – Ebay
    • Built-in storage and wardrobes – Ikea
    • Antique drafting tools – some belonged to my grandpa and some were gifts from friends
    • Desk chair – Advanced Interior Designs in Pistachio
    • guest chair – Ebay (recovered in vintage fabric)
    • Viking glass on desk from local antique stores


    • Mike’s “man shack” is a Modern-shed kit (

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks, Kristen and Mike!

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