Theodore & Matthew's Gingham Cottage

Theodore & Matthew's Gingham Cottage

Marcia Prentice
May 28, 2013

Name: Matthew Habib, West Coast Director of Digital Sales for Rolling Stone Magazine, and Theodore Leaf, Beauty Editor at Large for Glamour Magazine and Producer/Talent of and Lifestyle Blog Gingham Cottage
Location: Laurel Canyon; Los Angeles, California
Size: 1,100 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years 10 months

Theodore and Matt wanted to purchase a house in the hills, but had a tight budget. While they didn't count on finding much they could afford, they decided to look anyway. There were just two homes listed that fell within their budget, and when they saw this one, they jumped on the opportunity - everything seemed to align!

Laurel Canyon is one of those special places up in the hills where you can find one of a kind old cottages and bungalows. The cottage style architecture is a perfect match for Theodore and Matthew's East Coast-inspired style. Once inside their home, you can hardly believe you are still in LA!

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Our style is a mix of laid back Hamptons and California ease. Think the gay male version of Ina Garten, "and who doesn't love that?"

Inspiration: Our home is inspired by the woodsy and magical Laurel Canyon setting. We wanted our home to feel warm, cozy, and very inviting. Mixing old with new was a very important aspect of creating the right environment. We didn't want the house to look like a catalog, and we appreciate the craftsmanship and patina of flea market finds. As such, many items were procured from early morning trips to the Rose Bowl Flea Market. Last but not least, Theodore's vision and special touch were the primary source for inspiration (slightly tempered by Matt's OCD).

Favorite Element: There is a view from every window, and we have complete privacy with no need for curtains. The light and the setting provide a gorgeous and tranquil retreat. Humming birds, coyotes, and even a buck sighting remind us that we live in an amazing place.

Biggest Challenge: Creating unique storage solutions so we can live big in a small space. When we first moved in there was only one closet in the whole house, and we mean one singular closet for EVERYTHING from clothes to brooms...1 closet, that's it. So we had to find creative ways to add storage. We had a banquette built into the kitchen/dining area with storage under the bench seating. The mirrored doors in the lounge downstairs hide an ample storage area that was previously open space. The mantelpiece in the master (designed by Matthew Lamphier) is actually our linen closet, with adjustable shelving. We call our house a swiss army knife because of all the hidden storage and cleverly used space.

What Friends Say: "How do you ever leave?"

Biggest Embarrassment: We have three Rubbermaid storage units on the outside of the house for overflow, seasonal decor, and homeowner essentials. They're pretty much hidden from guests, but they still bother us (well, irritate Matt) and we want to eventually have a permanent solution built.

Proudest DIY: Our entry side table which serves so many purposes. It's an old cabinet that the we found at the Rose Bowl Flea Market. We changed the knobs, added hooks for dog leashes, drilled holes in the back to accommodate power cords, and added a brass mail bag (another flea market find) to hide unsightly snail mail. Inside we charge electronics (laptops and iPads) and store dog toys and other puppy accouterments The top of the cabinet provides a place to charge two iPhones (thanks to a brilliantly designed wooden block charger — an Etsy find) while also giving keys a convenient home.

Biggest Indulgence: We have a few, but the bathroom is pretty indulgent! After finding a leak, we decided to gut the entire room and build our dream bathroom. We installed three shower heads, one of which pours in from an existing skylight. The automatic toilet is a "must experience gadget," and we'll just leave it at that. We also had an additional medicine cabinet installed in reverse so that the doors open opposite of one another. Electrical outlets were added inside the cabinet to provide a permanent yet hidden spot for charging toothbrushes, etc. The pedestal sink leaves space underneath for towel storage in a braided basket, while the three Robert Abbey sconces provide Hollywood star light.

Best Advice: Don't do anything major until you've lived in the space for a while. Let the home and the way you use the space influence decisions. Everything changes once you live in your home for some time and understand your needs and wants. Use sources like Apartment Therapy (duh) and design magazines, etc. for inspiration. The entry side table was actually inspired by Apartment Therapy's Big Book of Small Cool Spaces.

Dream Sources: An unlimited shopping spree at Ralph Lauren Home in Beverly Hills.

Resources of Note:


  • Lounge - Farrow&Ball - Charleston Gray
  • Master Bathroom - Farrow&Ball - Skimming Stone


  • Leather club chairs - Art Deco Interior Corporation (2822 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90034, (310) 838-8011) - great for leather restoration, custom upholstery, and refurbished vintage leather club chairs
  • Phone on top of TV cabinet - Pottery Barn
  • Pillows on sofa - custom made by Theodore from a belgian grain sac found at the Rose Bowl Flea Market
  • Shovel by front door was a Paris find - Le Prince Jardinier
  • Living room sofa - Restoration Hardware
  • Coffee table - Olde Good Things







  • Deck chairs - World Market
  • Deck dining chairs - Pottery Barn
  • Outdoor pillows (similar) - Front Gate
  • Custom outdoor bed (it's supposed to be a dog bed, we just had her make it to our specific size) - Etsy


  • Purchased at Big Daddy's Antiques - living room rug, machinist chest and custom metal hanger, under TV media cabinet, life preserver (on deck)
  • Found at the Rose Bowl Flea Market - entry cabinet, brass mail bin, rusted horse head, leather horse, inside dining table, leather dining chairs, hurricane glass, bedroom side table (wooden doors) brass trunk (in lounge), small round iron table on deck
  • Dual iPhone charge on side entry table - Etsy
  • Design consultation and custom furniture design for master bedroom and lounge by the very talented Matthew Lamphier
  • Custom cabinet in front of bed
  • Custom lounge closet

Thanks, Theodore and Matthew!

(Images: Marcia Prentice)

• HOUSE TOUR ARCHIVE: Check out past house tours here.
• Interested in sharing your home with Apartment Therapy? Contact the editors through our House Tour Submission Form.
• Are you a designer/architect/decorator interested in sharing a residential project with Apartment Therapy readers? Contact the editors through our Professional Submission Form.

Apartment Therapy supports our readers with carefully chosen product recommendations to improve life at home. You support us through our independently chosen links, many of which earn us a commission.
moving--truck moving--dates moving--dolly moving--house moving--cal Created with Sketch. moving--apt