When the writer, podcast host, and all-around talented Emily V. Gordon posted on Instagram about the newly remodeled house she shares with her husband—equally talented actor and comedian Kumail Nanjiani—I knew I needed to see more. Impressively modern but still charmingly vintage, the design is a warm and welcoming space packed with personality.
Both Emily and Kumail had input in their home's refresh, but Vidal Design Collaborative's Karen Vidal (principal) and Beverly Klein (lead designer) are responsible for the transformation. I reached out to the designers to get an in-depth account of the remodel. I also mixed in snaps of Emily and Kumail's cat Bagel below (since she doesn't feature in any of the tour's photos) because she's a beaut.
Karen writes: "Emily reached out to our studio about their home. She said they had a wonderful home with hideous floors, some art they liked, but other than that, they needed new furnishings. I met with Emily and I realized right away that changing out the furnishings would not accomplish what they were looking for; the house felt like a soulless flip. Manufactured black floors, white IKEA kitchen cabinets with no uppers, only recessed lighting—everything to make it look as plain as possible. Emily had a great green velvet sofa and a vintage radio that showed me the kind of vibe they were looking for."
"I was a little nervous at this point because I realized this was much more than they had originally thought—and this is pre 'The Big Sick.' In the middle of trying to establish the scope of the job, I was emailing with Emily. Usually she's the fastest person to reply ever, so I was surprised when I didn't hear from her. She wrote me back apologizing for the delay and explained that they were in Sundance… needless to say we worked out the scope pretty quickly after that! I really don't know how they did it because their lives soon became a whirlwind!"
"Somehow we managed to pull off a full remodel of their home while they were in the midst of handling all of their movie publicity. They literally moved back into their home a week after the Oscars. They probably look back and the whole renovation is just a blur. But the weird thing is they were totally involved with every step—looking at paint samples, choosing tile, shopping for furniture. I'm not sure how they did it."
Beverly writes: "Emily and Kumail have a very busy lifestyle. But they definitely seem to know how to play as hard as they work. What I really got from them is their sense of emotional ties to their community and the work they do with others. They seem to really enjoy entertaining and they have a really rad collection of posters, which were illustrated by their good friend Dave Kloc for their live show "The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail" that ran for 10 years, which Emily booked and produced and Kumail hosted with Jonah Ray. This collection and the meaning it holds for both Emily and Kumail really informed me about their sense of playfulness and their openness for a quirky bent."
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Style: Emily and Kumail have a graphic modern aesthetic blended with a love of vintage and whimsical elements.
Inspiration: The goal was to create a space that felt like a real home. On our initial walkthrough, the one area that Emily really loved was her office. She took an awkward space—basically a sort of large hallway to get into the backyard—and added a custom wall-to-wall desk and some graphic black and white wallpaper to create a lovely office nook. We could immediately see what she liked and used that as a cue for the design direction. We wanted to add warmth and character, color and texture to the environment.
Favorite Element: Emily said her favorite element was color, which is huge coming from someone whose go-to color scheme is black and white.
Biggest Challenge: We didn't want to replace the existing vinyl windows but we needed to distract from them; we added custom wood trim on the inside of the openings to both mask the reveal of the vinyl and add a warmth and texture.
What Friends Say: Emily did a nice post on her Instagram showing some pics from the remodel. She had almost 10K likes and the comments are amazing! The bathroom seemed to be the overwhelming favorite.
Proudest DIY: Beverly hand made the beautiful stained glass windows that we installed in the front of the home and the powder room. And Beverly's daughter Iris hand weaved the graphic colorful fabric for the throw pillows in the living room.
Biggest Indulgence: We approached the job knowing we would have a high/low blend on finishes; we wanted it to be very livable and accessible so we incorporated elements like vintage furnishings from a local shop, the existing IKEA cabinets, and well-priced finishes like the wallpaper in the powder room by Mural Wallpapers. Our biggest splurge was using the Stan Bitters tile on the kitchen backsplash; we all fell in love with the texture and earthy finish. In the end we designed it incorporating other beautiful handmade tile (Bison Brick) so that we minimized the needed square footage without reducing the impact.
LIVING ROOM / DINING ROOM
Dining room light fixture — France and Son
Entryway light fixture —France and Son
Living room sconces — The California Workshop
Flooring — DuChateau
Custom stained glass panels — Beverly Klein
Custom graphic throw pillows — Iris Delphine Murphy
Large charcoal drawing — Melissa Reischman
Wallpaper — Thomas Lavin (Trees)
Wallpaper — Astek (Paper Weave)
Sofa against art wall — Artless Corporation (Art Wall)
Other sofa — Cisco Home (Center)
Coffee table, accent chair, and magazine rack — Mid Century Shop LA
Rugs — Peace Industry
Dining table — HD Buttercup Showroom
Bar stools — Greta de Parry
Shades — Aero Shades
Cabinets — IKEA
Hardware pulls — Rejuvenation
Cabinet doors — Semihandmade
Backsplash small tile — Wink Design Source
Bison brick — Wizard Enterprise
Larger tile — Heath Ceramics
Over-the-sink light — Cedar & Moss
All appliances — Synder Diamond in Pasadena