Steven Arroyo’s Think Tank

published Nov 11, 2010
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Name: Steven Arroyo, restaurateur
Location: Hancock Park — Los Angeles, California
Size: 2,100 square feet — 2 beds, 2 baths
Years lived in: 1 year

I had the pleasure of meeting Steven for the first time in his home. I immediately picked up on his strong demeanor and disciplined, yet multifaceted sense of style. With more than a few successful restaurants under his belt — Cobras & Matadors, Church & State, Sgt. Recruiter, Potato Chips, and Escuela Taqueria — his aesthetic translates the same level of confidence and masculinity. His home reflects much of his perception and constant appetite for texture and atmosphere. I was quickly comforted and inspired by a welcoming sensibility expressed throughout his home with elements both warm and personal.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
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Living Room (Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Steven’s projects, commercial and personal, originate from the focus of his imagination and his home is the core of what is personal. There is a seamless correlation between Steven professionally and domestically. His home is a spring board for inspiration and development. He entertains his own interests as well as friends and family through art and flavor.

Whenever I think I have Steven figured out, he surprises me. His collection of tattoos and worn in work boots might be the foundation for a scrappy man, but his smile and gentleness depict a softness that is genuine and elegant. As we leave his home I wait for him to pull out a muscle car or truck. He approaches on a Vespa with a Mexican blanket attached to his front bracket. I love that! I have come to realize that neither Steven or his aesthetic dances to the beat of just one drum.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I have about a dozen favorite colors and enjoy them most perched amongst each other. I’m drawn to objects with a history, story, and mystery. I first look at the foot of an object; how it sits or stands. My style is influenced by texture and form. It has no interest in fashion. My Style? I have a gang of it.

Inspiration: Bedouin color palette. Latin America, Early American, Dries Van Norton, Mexico City, Paris, and Jeanloup Sieff. I’m more inspired by what could be then what is. My brain works without boundaries or rules. Most of the time that’s a bad thing, but it assures individuality.

Favorite Element: I live amongst the Sycamore trees. Rays of light and shade take battle in every room on both floors of my apartment. Mother Nature is always welcome in my home.

Biggest Challenge: I won’t be here very long because it’s an apartment, so there isn’t an allowance for custom built-ins. I won’t be calling an electrician to add a j-box or electrical outlet. Also, I can’t plumb an outdoor shower off the carport.

What Friends Say: They say “DAMN KID IT’S LIKE THIS.”

Biggest Embarrassment: I had a dinner party for 8 on the hottest day of the year; 113 degrees in the city. My apartment is without any form of air conditioning. Of course, it poured rain less than a week later and I could have lit the fireplace.

Proudest DIY: My knife collection in the dining room. I have been collecting knifes for years and used strips of magnets to affix the knifes to a long piece of wood.

Biggest Indulgence: My collection of books. Buying a beautiful book is my guilty pleasure. Also, expensive soap.

Best advice: Stay away from designer designers; curating is key. Water your plants. Tip the lady who cleans your house. Never leave your crib a mess if you are single. If you are not in a hurry to get home, move.

Dream source: Paris flea markets, Antiques by the Bay in Alameda, California, M+ B Art, Heath Ceramics, and Matteo. Los Angeles has at least two nearby flea markets every Sunday. I often attend them.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Resources of Note:



  • Chair by Front Door: Flea Market
  • Chair by Window: Boo Radley’s Antiques
  • Sofa: HD Buttercup
  • White Chair: Garage Sale (Reupholstered in Muslin Fabric)
  • Coffee Table: Base: Rose Bowl Flea Market, Glass Top: Custom
  • Long Side Table: Reform
  • Side Table by Window: Alameda, California, Flea Market
  • Bar Cart: Flea Market
  • Tall Side Table by Window: Garage Sale



  • Butcher Block: Flea Market


  • Small Table: Flea Market


  • Small Side Table: Flea Market



  • Entertainment Center: Made in Welding Class
  • Desk, Chairs, Mirror, Dresser, and Bedside Tables: Flea Market



  • Living Room Rug: Flea Market


  • Living Room Lamp by Window: Reform
  • Dining Room Hanging Light (Custom): Fantasy Lighting
  • Dining Room (Small Light by Knife Collection): Flea Market
  • Small Light in Powder Room: Flea Market



(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks Steven!

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