Maria's Beautiful "Controlled Chaos"

Maria's Beautiful "Controlled Chaos"

Marcia Prentice
Apr 12, 2012

Name: Maria Korovilas, Fashion Designer
Location: Silver Lake – Los Angeles, California
Size: 1100 square feet
Years lived in: Almost 1 year

Maria had to move out of her dream apartment in Silver Lake in a short time frame. Luckily, she found a new place a few blocks away (her current home). She was blown away by the architecture, staircase, and the apartment's overall potential. However, the place needed a lot of TLC and a lot of paint! She painted the ceiling beams and the treads on the stairs a chocolate brown to give the feeling of real wood. Maria wanted the home to feel like a real Spanish retreat.

Maria's mother questioned why she would want to live in an older apartment that didn't even have a dishwasher. Maria disagreed with her mother; older homes have more charm and are very special. She embraces every aspect of the apartment's original charm, even finding a way to compliment the bathroom's light yellow tile. I agree, Maria — I would die to live in a two-story Spanish home!

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Overall I'm a really whimsical person... but I tend to fall for an eclectic mish mash of genres. I suppose I'd sum it up as "anything goes!" I think that actually is my style, having lots of random elements that don't always necessarily go together, and challenging myself to make them work. I think I generally solve those puzzles through "controlled chaos." For example, I collect lots of random, and mostly discarded, artwork. None of it really goes together, (subject matter or display) so in order to make it "make sense", I just chose one wall to clutter it all together, and magically it became a really interesting focal point! I find a lot of solutions through controlled chaos.

Inspiration: Mostly, I just like to be surrounded by things that mean something to me or inspire me. I take inspiration from my life, both real and imaginary. After all, your home should reflect who you are! If a piece of art, furniture, or a textile can evoke a mood that reminds me of some marker in my life, or fantasy that makes me happy, that is usually a top selling point for me.

Favorite Element: I battle my fantastical imagination and the allure of a clean, sophisticated palette all too often. Too much in either of those directions and I get anxiety, yet I need them both in equal measures. I have taken to lots of "hidden elements." Amidst design books on my mantel, I've thrown in a 1st edition of Alice in Wonderland. I have framed blueprints that look like aviation but are actually original set directions for the 1939 film version of Cinderella. I've got a seafoam ceramic pony hangin' out in my bedroom. All of my writing utensils are carved animals. I'm a sucker for robin's egg soap. I think I've found a sophisticated way to keep the child in me alive!

Biggest Challenge: When I moved in, the space needed LOTS of work. There were literally tons of holes in the walls, spackle over painted walls, hideous wall colors, etc. It really took a lot of work just to get it to square one, but I was so inspired by its Spanish deco romanticism that I had to live here. I am usually more turned on by a project. Which always becomes challenging, mostly with time consumption and a handful of mini disasters. I would say if there's a money pit, I'll find it, so to speak.

What Friends Say: They love coming over. They love to look through all my stuff. Mostly everything I own has some great history behind it. I think my friends like the stories and my strange tips/tricks.

Biggest Embarrassment: Some of the "out of the lines" paint areas I haven't gotten around to fixing yet. I am a really easy-going person, but it just drives me nuts to look up at the ceiling and see paint. These old walls, no matter how hard you try to tape them perfectly, you end up completely out of the lines!

Proudest DIY: Pretty much everything here is a DIY. I move everything myself, hang curtains/shelves/hardware, fix things, and change out chandeliers. I think, again, when you're on a budget, you have to be willing to get your hands dirty to get more for your money. At this point, I've done things so many times I am proud to say I get away with mostly "eye-balling" things.

Biggest Indulgence: That would have to be my 1920s Mason jars and matching carrier splurge. I won't even tell you how much I paid because even I know it was way too much. But there was something about a 1920s Mason jar collection with matching carrier that I HAD to have. I would say that's the only thing I went out of scope on. Definitely an indulgence.

Best Advice: The rules are "there are no rules." That's some great advice that I picked up somewhere. I think a lot of people are scared when it comes to buying the "right" thing. Just remember, there is no right thing! Sometimes wrong things are even better. Ohhh the multitudes of happy accidents I've experienced! Similarly, EVERYTHING I purchase, even down to the paper towels, have to have a design/color I love. Because when it all gets put together, it makes a difference.

Dream Sources: Honestly... raiding the dowries of all the great yiayias in my Dad's village in Greece. You'd be amazed at the textiles those women are capable of making by hand. You just don't see that anymore. ABC Carpet & Home is a more viable dream source.

Resources of Note:


  • Vintage O'Keefe & Merritt Stove


Living room

Dining Room






Bedding & Textiles

Fur Blankets

Collected artwork on wall

  • Vintage original Warhol covers
  • Painting found at Goodwill above
  • Clowns from artist in Montmartre France
  • Painting done by friend, Ian Newman
  • Painting done by friend, Christopher Jernberg
  • Signed tour poster from Stars
  • Bernard Buffet "The Clown" found at Alameda Flea Market
  • Vintage 1920s weekly fashion papers found at book stall in France

All about the flea markets:

  • Rose Bowl
  • Melrose Trading Post
  • Long Beach Flea Market
  • Alameda Flea Market
  • Wertz Brothers Antiques Mall in Santa Monica
  • Peddler's Market (Visalia, my hometown)

Thanks Maria!

(Images: Marcia Prentice)

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