An Actor's California Cottage Reflects His Texas Roots

An Actor's California Cottage Reflects His Texas Roots

Name: Stephen Ellis
Location: Montecito Heights — Los Angeles, California
Size: 1,100 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year, owned

I instantly fell in love when I saw this house, and with all the luck in the world I moved in and started a new life. The house is a small, but charming, two-bedroom bungalow, located in the historic Montecito Heights (adjacent to Highland Park) neighborhood. It was built in 1918, and fun fact: It's as old as the winter Olympic Games.

The previous owners did an amazing remodel. They were professional landscape architects, so the backyard is simply amazing. This is by far my favorite aspect about the house—especially as someone who loves spending time outside and loves entertaining. I never imagined having four different fruit trees and an entire garden to look after, but everything happens for a reason, right? It's honestly pretty stressful trying to keep it all alive and growing. I swore I'd keep it up, and for now, I think I'm doing an okay job. I love to BBQ and have friends over. This house is perfect for entertaining, and serves as the perfect sanctuary from the busy city.

[Stephen worked with designer Layne Kula, who ] "Taking cues from Highland Park's local culture + environment, this modern-inspired space draws inspiration from actor Stephen Ellis' Texas roots and effortlessly laid-back style. With hints of minimalism and modern accents, this cozy home is a warm, welcoming environment that makes every single person who enters feel like they just stepped into the newest coffee shop on the East Side... Tons of plants and curated pots fill out the space to breathe life into this quaint home. Softer touches scattered throughout make this home the perfect juxtaposition of modern bohemian and accessible minimalism."

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Mid-Century Modern Meets Texas Roots

Favorite Element: As soon as you walk into the house, there is a direct line to a big pomegranate tree outside. Everything flows nicely from inside to out, and while the house is small, the outdoor area feels like part of the house. I have multiple sitting and dining areas outside.

Biggest Challenge: Keeping up with the garden... The tenants before me were landscapers and they left some pretty big shoes to fill, but it's worked for me thus far!

What Friends Say: Universally, people say the house has a great feel and energy. I attribute that to the fact that it has undeniable charm. They also love my style. I attribute that to my interior designer 1000 percent.

Biggest Embarrassment: At first I was sort of taken aback as a single dude living in a "white picket fence" home, but I've really come to love the quaint exterior paired with a more masculine, California-inspired interior.

Proudest DIY: I had to repave my driveway. There are major cracks from years of earth movement and earthquakes. I got five friends, rented two jackhammers, and ordered a ton of pizza. We tore up the concrete and treated it like a workout—it was a win-win!

Biggest Indulgence: My couch.

Best Advice: Hire someone who knows about interior design. Specifically, Layne Kula!! Don't buy one piece of furniture without knowing how it's going to fit into the overall design.


Leather mailbox holder — Lostine
Couch — (custom order) West Elm
Accent chairs — Wayfair
Leather ottomans — The Citizenry
Coffee table — West Elm

Dining chairs — Wayfair
Faux hide rug — Overstock
Chandelier — West Elm

Leather mail organizer — Lostine

Nightstands — Anthropologie
Bed — Blu Dot (similar)
Chandelier — West Elm (smaller size)
Dresser — West Elm (similar)

Thanks, Stephen!

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