Mallory & Liz's Santa Monica Prop House

Mallory & Liz's Santa Monica Prop House

Beth Bates
Feb 8, 2011

Name: Mallory Morrison and Liz Bretz
Location: Santa Monica, California
Size: 1,100 square feet
Years lived in: 1¼ — rented

Mallory and Liz love and live for photography. Likewise, they live in a house full of all things photographic. Their work adorns the walls, their coat closet serves as an equipment room, and props from former shoots embellish their space from end to end.

Though the ways in which they photograph are vastly different, Mallory and Liz's aesthetics are similar and make for great decorating compatibility. Many of their accents / props are vintage and add great character to various areas of their home. They are not afraid to paint their furnishings or restructure items to better fit their style. It is this resourcefulness that makes their space so inviting.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Liz : Eclectic. Mallory : Our style is mixing comfortable and inviting furniture with our collection of various props from photo shoots. I like having pieces that are truly vintage hand-me-downs from my parents that hold lots of memories and finding second hand jems. We also believe that creativity can grow from making things work on a budget.

Inspiration: Liz : Most of my possessions have been purchased for use as props in photo shoots. Over time, I've accumulated an assortment of random objects that collectively serve as my style. Mallory has done the same. Our apartment is essentially a livable prop house. Mallory : Both of us are big Anthropologie lovers. We just do it on a dime. We want to surround ourselves with pieces that inspire us for shoots.

Favorite Element: Liz : Mannequin and Remington Portable typewriter (same model Hemingway was chronicled to use). Mallory : My Crosley record player is one of my favorites. It works great, there is a radio built in. I got it from

Biggest Challenge: Mallory : My biggest challenge was my room- with the red walls. It is small and I have a lot of big bulky furniture. As it is now, I have every inch spoken for. I always love to re-arrange furniture after a year or so to keep things fresh and different, but as far as I can see, I'm limited with my choices.

What Friends Say: Liz : "It feels like an eclectic Anthropologie." "Post-modern." Mallory : They say it fits us so well. Someone said ' I didn't realize I was going to walk into an art gallery." Friends say that they always find something new that they love in the house every time they come over. People love our patio, as do we.

Biggest Embarrassment: Mallory : I would only say that our lights spiraling up our staircase need to be replaced, but that's about it.

Proudest DIY: Liz : I love to paint furniture. I'm really excited about the dining table on our patio. Painted, sanded and weathered. Additional proud fix-it moments include the typical, running toilets and sticking door handles. Mallory : A lot of my furniture has some "Mallory additions" mostly with staining and painting unfinished furniture. I love the corkboard on the wall in my office that I made. I collected corks from the wine I drank, so it took a while to finish and it is like a collection of good memories. Also, Liz and I took a trip to Downtown LA and picked out the fabric for the living room curtains and shower curtain and I sewed them. Just a little thing, but it's nice to have something handpicked.

Biggest Indulgence: Liz : My bed. Unfortunately, I have designed it so that I spend more time in bed than I should. I sleep in bed, I read in bed, I work in bed. The layers of the bedding are as follows: feather-top mattress, Cool Luxury Fiberbed, bedding, down duvet. Mallory : I would say my biggest indulgence is my office chair. I spend most of my day there and it has been a lifesaver. It's a Herman Miller.

Best Advice: Liz : Paint color makes a huge difference. Lighting is also key. Most of our lighting is very moody/romantic (which makes it difficult to be productive after the sun sets). I buy cheap lamp bases at thrift stores then create new lamp shades out of decorative fabric. To hide unwanted electrical cords, we also wrap the cords in fabric. Mallory : Don't underestimate Craigslist for furniture. If you have patience and a little luck with timing, you can find some wonderful pieces.

Dream Sources: Liz :Thrift stores, Craigslist, Long Beach Flea Market, Antique stores in Carpinteria, "On Sale" at Anthropologie, Etsy. Mallory : Anthropologie, Melrose flee market, Craigslist.

Resources of Note:

• 'Gypsy magic' is the purple bedroom color
• 'Brick Red' is the red bedroom color, Behr semi-gloss

• Large Yellow Chinese Bucket: Anawalt Garden Store
• Schwinn Road Bike: Velo Cult, San Diego
• Coffee Table: Craigslist
• Wall clock : Bed Bath and Beyond
• The postage stamp dispenser (used as a stand for the red lamp) : from a flea market in Santa Barbara

• The dining table was made by Mallory's father in the 80's. The table top is a door.

• Mounted beer bottle opener: Firefly on Abbot Kinney
• Apron: on sale at Athropologie
• Drawings on the fridge are by Avery, Liz's nice who's portrait is the big print in the living room.

• Remington Portable typewriter: eBay
• Mannequin: Closing Sale at a local retail store
• Filing Cabinets: Craigslist
• Hot Lamp on wooden tripod: Antique store in Carpinteria, California
• Moss, pinecones, and beach wood: Found while hiking in California

• Desk : hand-me-down library table from the 70's.
• Dresser : unfinished furniture store in San Francisco. I stained it with 'Antique Cherry' stain.

• Galvinized Tins/ mini buckets: Cost Plus World Market
• Painting of nude woman : Chelsea Wills
• Red clock : Urban Outfitters

• Gray Pots (Multiple sizes): IKEA
• Candle Wall Sconces: on sale at Casa Allegra
• String lights : OSH
• BBQ grill : Weber 386002 Baby Q Portable Grill from Amazon

Thanks, Mallory and Liz!

Images: Beth Bates

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