Nan and Michael's Craftsman Flat

Nan and Michael's Craftsman Flat

Bethany Nauert
Jan 5, 2011

Name: Nan Lawson and Michael Jonathan
Location: Silverlake — Los Angeles, CA
Size: 1 bedroom flat, on the bottom floor of a converted craftsman style home
Years lived in: 1 year and 7 months — rent

Last month I randomly stumbled upon the website of Nan Lawson. I was instantly attracted to and amused by her drawings and sketches. She has a knack for simplifying a genre of hipster cool in her prints, which she sells on Etsy. She and her boyfriend are both extremely creative people who specialize in Illustration and Comic art.

Once I started snooping around her websites online, including her awesome Tumblr blogs, I saw that she would show little snapshots of interior design projects she was working on for her home. I immediately wrote her for this house tour. Just like her art and illustrations, their home is simply stated, comfortable and fun to look at. Their home is filled with contemporary and mid-century, pieces, accented with vintage and vintage-inspired accessories. Everything is either a very serene shade of gray or white, and then there will be a loud of pop of color to draw your eye across the room.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: I don't think I have a specific name for my style. I'm definitely influenced by mid century modern design and have several pieces in that style, but I don't want my home to feel like my grandmother decorated it in the 60's. So, I've tried to tread the line between touches of mid century style and California craftsman comfort.

Inspiration: Michael and I are both artists and I find I am always inspired by art. Beautiful illustration, painting, filmmaking and photography are my muse. Every wall in our apartment is covered in artwork. The internet has been a huge influence on developing my taste for interior decorating. Blogs (like Apartment Therapy!) have been a huge inspiration to me, seeing other's beautiful spaces makes me want to make my space just as beautiful. It can be kind of addicting.

Favorite Element: The amazing craftsman built in hutch and bookshelves.

Biggest Challenge: There is nothing very challenging about this apartment. It was beautifully finished when we moved in. We were so lucky because the walls were already painted, the hardwood floors refinished, even the window blinds were installed. I think the only major challenge has been a lack of significant storage space. We don't have a basement or attic to store things so we have to make do with the closet in the dining room as our place to hide things.

What Friends Say: We had a house warming party the night after we finished unpacking when we first moved in, and I remember a girl friend of mine exclaiming "Now this is an apartment!" People love the character of the craftsman built-ins and the open flow of the space, which makes it feel larger than it actually is. It's perfect for entertaining.

Biggest Embarrassment: My biggest embarrassment has less to do with the actual apartment and more to do with the fact that having two cats makes cleaning on a daily basis a necessity, and sometimes I just can't keep up with the shedding fur and dust balls that seem to collect almost instantly after cleaning. Michael and I are both not the most organized people either. Our art supplies are often strewn about the dining room table or shoved into our cabinets in no particular order.

Proudest DIY: We don't get a chance to do a lot of DIYs but we did refinish our pair of Bertoia wire chairs. A couple of years ago Michael's cousin was having us over for an out door barbeque and she pulled out these beautiful but filthy and rusty Bertoias. I was sitting in one, because it's a Bertoia, and then she looks at me and says, "Do you guys want these chairs? " The answer was OF COURSE. So we had them for a while in the original rusty state, but eventually we got around to cleaning and repainting them. I bought the seat covers from Ebay.

Biggest Indulgence: : Our new Corona sofa from Macy's. A $600 (we got it on sale!) couch might not seem like a huge splurge for some folks, but it was a big deal for us. I keep saying it's our "grown up" couch because it's our first major furniture purchase that wasn't from Ikea or Craigslist.

Best Advice: I feel like I'm the last person on Earth to give good design advice. I just find what I like and fit it in to my space as best I can. I suppose my advice would be to do that. Find what you like and make it work. I also like to change things up to keep my space fresh by adding a new lamp, or swapping out a side table for an ottoman. Little things like that can make a huge difference in keeping you excited about how your home looks.

Dream Sources:Can I say flea markets? I would love to have more vintage pieces in our home, Even if they are just small décor pieces. I love homes that look a little cluttered with funky fun flea market finds.

Resources of Note:


    • Our apartment was already painted a beautiful shade of gray or cream in every room so I have no idea!


    • Corona Sofa- Macy's
    • Replica lounge chair, Coffee table, Dark Wood Side Table- all Craigslist
    • Bertoia chair- Hand me down
    • Rocking chair, ottoman, pennant pillow - Urban Outfitters
    • Retro lamps, wood side table, white lattice side table- Home Goods
    • Rug, TV stand, wood cube storage table - Ikea


    • Dining table- Craigslist (but I think originally from Ikea)
    • Eames Eiffel replica chairs-
    • Red dining chairs- flea market
    • Drawing table- Blick
    • Bookshelf- Target
    • Red drawers- Ikea


    • Bed, black side table and wall lamps- all from Ikea
    • Dark woodside table- Goodwill
    • Invisible book shelves and polaroid frames - Umbra


    • shower curtain- Urban Outfitters

Thanks, Nan + Michael!

Images: Bethany Nauert

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