Matt's Family-Friendly Designer Home

Matt's Family-Friendly Designer Home

Marcia Prentice
Nov 6, 2013

Name: Matt Gagnon, designer - Matt Gagnon Studio
Location: Glendale; Los Angeles, California
Size: 1,300 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years

It is such a pleasure to see an architect's home with such a lived-in feel There are architectural prototypes throughout the home mixed in with children's playthings and other evidences of lively family life. There's even a cool, sculptural tree fort in the backyard that Matt's kids love to use as a place to read stories.

I am sure you noticed the kitchen island wall with all the kids' writing. Instead of creating a home that's pristine and perfect, Matt has given his kids a place to write on the walls and be creative. You can tell that having them participate in the act of making the home is very important to Matt.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: I would not define our place as having a style. We live with a lot of prototypes of work I have designed, which was never conceived to be all one "style." Each new furniture or lighting project I work on has a new set of ideas driving the development. So if a version of it ends up in our house it comes with that specific story. When I design for clients, I also try to avoid style. I believe each new design should cultivate a unique story particular to the people who will live with it every day.

Inspiration: I see our home as an ongoing project that comes second after the design work I do for clients. I can't say it feels inspired.

Favorite Element: I like the double dutch doors leading from our kitchen to the patio. After living in New York City for 11 years, it is a huge lifestyle change to have the doors open and be able to treat outside like another room in our house.

Biggest Challenge: Since we rent, making changes to the house is out of the question. We have "designed" the space through the objects we own. To overcome the desire to change the structure of the building, I rearrange the entire place every now and then, which changes how we use the space, making it feel somewhat new.

What Friends Say: People always comment on the sunlight in our living room and the mural our kids are making on a wall in the kitchen. The mural is great because it is an easy place for friends to sit down and engage with the kids while hanging out in the kitchen. Usually we find our guests' additions well after they are gone. It is cool to discover funny little contributions and think of who might have drawn it.

Biggest Embarrassment: It is hard being a designer and thinking that when new people come over they are judging the place or at least taking note, especially since we live with so many prototypes of my designs. Sometimes I become conscious of all the things that I would like to improve and tend to overlook all the things I enjoy about our place.

Proudest DIY: Spray painting and cutting 2 inches off the legs on our sofa from IKEA. It is not as easily recognizable as an IKEA sofa, and the lower height makes it more comfortable.

Biggest Indulgence: I don't think we have indulged yet. One day we will spend too much on building a home for ourselves.

Best Advice: I encourage people to put sofas in their kitchen, or as close as possible. It is where people are going to hang out anyway.

Dream Sources: I like finding things by accident, so I stop into vintage shops wherever I am but do not have a go-to place.

Resources of Note:


  • Off white and chalkboard paint


  • Illustration on wall found at Chelsea Flea Market in New York


  • Wood coffee table was made from a tree stump my wife found on side of the road
  • Sofa is from Ikea
  • Ceiling lamp is a prototype by Matt Gagnon
  • Credenza is vintage, found at Sunbeam Vintage in Highland Park
  • Car collection is hot wheels and matchbox
  • Bench is a Paper Table by Matt Gagnon Studio


  • Glass table from a junk shop on Sunset Blvd. that no longer exists
  • Bookshelf is a prototype by Matt Gagnon Studio
  • Small side table is B&B Italia from Diva on Beverly Blvd.
  • Two portraits by artist Stardust Atkeson
  • Chandelier - Ceramic Lamp by Matt Gagnon Studio
  • Floor lamp - Squeeze Lamp in walnut by Matt Gagnon Studio
  • Table lamp - Acrylic Lamp by Matt Gagnon Studio
  • Arm chairs - 1960s vintage bought from Casa Victoria on Sunset Blvd.
  • Tall cabinet is vintage Lane Furniture - found at Chelsea Flea Market in New York


  • All existing fixtures
  • Wall mural by Arlo and Jasper Gagnon, sharpie markers
  • Vintage day bed from Venus vintage shop in New York
  • Water dispenser by Roost - available at Viesso


  • Brendan Ravenhill cord lamp
  • Ikea metal cabinets
  • Vintage desk from New York City flea market

Thanks, Matt!

(Images: Marcia Prentice)

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