Name: Jason Chao
Location: Tustin, Orange County, California
Size: 1,750 square feet
There are those who follow the trends and create wonderful spaces. Then there are those who buck the trends and do what they want, creating something new and great - and the perspective becomes "this is how it's done." Define Steve McQueen cool and you've got young attorney Jason Chao's design aesthetics. A big sense of style and an even bigger personality blend together in this amazing Orange County home he shares with his hot girlfriend, who even drives a Camaro - now how's that for cool!
The inspiration for my home:
Cat-burglar chic. The guiding principle for my "design" has always been simple: If criminals break in, I want them to look around and say, "Man, we're robbing some cool people. Old folks definitely don't live here." My inspirations come from everywhere. A misspent youth with few friends, an overabundance of comics, dvd's and a sketchbook. A desire to appease a girlfriend who thinks "shabby chic" should be its own religion. An appetite for Asian-inspired pieces, A fondness for tropical aesthetics. When I moved in I was like a fat kid at a buffet-- pile lots of everything onto a plate and hope no one gives you dirty looks. Luckily, it turned out great.
Favorite element in your space:
Unfair question. I'm obviously biased towards the vintage prints, artwork and photos. Everyone's got a couch, but the pictures you hang up are what make your space unique -- snapshots from the day we moved in, quotes from inside jokes with friends and handpicked prints that speak volumes about your favorite interests and your greatest pet peeves.
...but the better answer would probably be my Sound Bar. Hooked up to the Apple TV. Every once in a while, after a bad day... you just want to come home and piss off the neighbors.
Biggest challenge in designing my space:
Keeping still. I'm constantly filled with an urge to rip everything off the walls and start over. I've repainted the bedroom twice, replaced every cabinet knob and handle in the house at least once and have roughly 8-10 framed prints and photos in the closet downstairs just waiting to replace the ones currently on the walls.
What friends say about my space:
"Place looks nice." (Some of my friends aren't very talkative)
Proudest DIY (do it yourself) project:
Spray and hand-painting picture frames both large and small. I took the giant cardboard box that my TV was delivered in and cut off the flaps turning it into a miniature paint booth. Banksy, I'm coming for you.
Biggest indulgence with respect to my space:
Hardwood floors for the downstairs. Hey, you only live once.
Best advice about organizing or incorporating tech into the home:
Stop hiding stuff. A home is supposed to be lived in -- adults shouldn't be afraid of exposed wires behind the TV or more than one remote on the coffee table. The showrooms at Ligne Roset and Bloomingdales Home are impeccable for a reason -- no one actually lives there. The beds look perfect because they aren't slept in and the appliances are wireless because they're made of cardboard. A few errand cables here and there never killed anyone.
Dream source for stuff:
My own two hands. My next project will be covering the top of my coffee table in distressed copper. Just gotta figure out how to cut the copper down to the right size. Might as well call the ambulance now.
Home Tech Hardware:
Sony HT-CT150 3D Sound Bar System
HP laptops (Note: His and hers. A guy has to know better than to share a computer with his girlfriend.)
Bose SoundDock Series II
Sony DLP 60 in.
iMac- 21.5 inch
Sony Bravia 46 in. LCD HDTV (bedroom)
Room & Board Parsons King Bed
Frames from Pottery Barn, Room & Board and abroad
Oversized Coffee Table, Silver Filigree Nesting End Tables from SoCo Collection
Most other design elements purchased at vintage and artisan shops throughout Southern California
IKEA Desktop Glass and Trestles
Prints & Photos from Society 6, street fairs and travels near and far