A Minimal, Tailored Home

published May 21, 2018
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Square feet
Sq ft

Name: Matt and Cindy, along with Timber the kitty
Location: North Hollywood, California
Size: 900 square feet
Years lived in: 2.5 years, owned

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Matt and Cindy are two very visual people in their jobs, so it makes sense that their home is also a reflection of visual art. Matt works in visual effects and Cindy is a jewelry designer and fiber artist. And her work can be seen all throughout their home.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My/our Style: We like to keep things simple but with special touches of texture, art, and plants.

Inspiration: Nature and abstract art.

Favorite Element: Our couch cover that was custom made and painted for us by Kalla of Küdd:krig HOME. We wanted something machine washable and beautiful, and she completely transformed our IKEA couch into a piece of art.

Biggest Challenge: We didn’t do any renovations to the space when we moved in, so aesthetically we’ve worked around the existing foundation and finishes. We invested in a lot of things you can’t see, such as replacing the leaking roof, upgrading an outdated electrical system, and getting rid of termites (twice). We’ve had to be resourceful with how we spend our money and function always has to come first.

What Friends Say: When people walk in they say it feels bright, comfortable, and clean.

Biggest Embarrassment: Timber scratches the molding and furniture. Her favorite pieces are coffee tables. In addition to cost, this is why most of our furniture is from IKEA or made by us.

Proudest DIY: We usually eat dinner on the couch so I built us a coffee table that divides into two pieces, allowing us to each have an individual table to use. They have plenty of storage underneath and are topped with sheets of white plexiglass which makes them really easy to clean. We love how completely custom it is to our lifestyle and how we use the space.

Biggest Indulgence: Anything to do with our cat Timber. We built her a wood ledge behind the couch so she could sit more comfortably while looking out the window (her butt used to slide off the small window ledge). She’s the queen (see custom-painted portrait in living room).

Best Advice: Everything in our home is tailored exactly to how we live in it, but it took us a while to be okay with going against all the “shoulds.” We wondered if we should have a headboard, a living room rug, bookshelves filled with books, or lots of vintage treasures like the home tours we admire. Our advice is to decorate how you want without worrying about following any rules.

Dream Sources: We think we already source from some dreamy places! We get most of our plants from our friend Danae of Folia Collective and we build what we can. We’re very grateful that a lot of the art, ceramics, and clothing we own are trades and collaborations with talented, independent artists. It would be great if one day everything we owned was made by someone we know and/or admire.


Behr — Nano White (flat for the ceiling, eggshell for the walls, satin for the doors and trim). Our friend Nicole suggested this paint color and said it was the perfect white. She has such great taste that we didn’t even swatch it first, we just went out and got a five-gallon bucket and it’s true, it is the perfect white! Kitchen and bathroom colors are unknown/original to the house when we moved in.


We asked Kalla of Küdd:krig HOME to make us a custom couch cover because the white fabric underneath was difficult to remove and keep clean. She made us an entire set that is machine washable and beautiful, inspired by abstract landscapes.

I create wall sculptures made with hand dyed and spun rope, so our walls are a constantly-changing gallery where they’re displayed until they sell. Below this piece are our “everything baskets”—we drop things in there when we’re not sure where they should go and clean them out regularly. They help keep the clutter contained.

We put an essential oil diffuser right by the door so it smells great as you walk in. We use lavender and clary sage which are cat-friendly so long as they’re 100% pure. The table lamp is my favorite and easiest IKEA hack—I placed it on top of an old soldering tripod that I no longer needed. The pillow is a collaboration with Kalla from Küdd:krig HOME.

We switched out the legs of this credenza with rounded dowel legs (also from IKEA). The portrait of Timber was gifted to us by our friend James. She’s the head of the household.

The coat rack is handmade with different hooks for hanging specific things. My favorite bags by LUPA, Nipomo, and Baggu live here. The bamboo shoe rack is a delightful $40 Amazon find.

For our wedding guest book we asked our friends and family sign a piece of birch which we made into a console table after the ceremony. It reminds us every day of the people we celebrated with, some of whom aren’t with us anymore. The photo is transferred onto wood using a laser printed picture (make sure it’s reversed) and acrylic gel medium. The legs are from Floyd.

We made this wall lamp using an IKEA strip light and a piece of wood.
Custom couch cover and pillows — kudd:krig Home
Rope art — Cindy Zell
Timber portrait painting — James William Penland
BESTA credenza TV unit — IKEA
FADO table lamp — IKEA
Essential oil diffuser — Amazon
Woven chair — Urban Outfitters
Woven storage ottoman — Urban Outfitters
Bamboo shoe rack — Amazon
Acrylic side table — Urban Outfitters
Tripod side table, coffee table, wedding guest book console, wall light — Handmade

plant stands – Area Ware

This is our office/Timber’s room (because every room is her room)/guest room. We had trouble finding the perfect small sofa so we ended up ordering something simple with a solid wood frame on Amazon. We then had it re-foamed and upholstered in a pink velvet fabric from West Elm. At night I work from the sofa while Matt works from his desk.

The face mobile by Lane Walkup is our most recently purchased piece. We installed that hook in the ceiling over a year ago but didn’t know what should go there. Everything is collected slowly over time which makes it more fun when we finally find the piece that’s just right.

The mountain scarf is the first item I splurged on after graduating from college. I grew up near the San Gabriel Mountains and they’re my favorite motif, place to visit, and thing to see. I have them tattooed on my arm and there are several mountain pieces throughout the house.

We had trouble keeping larger plants alive in this room so we bring in cut stems that we forage or buy from the Los Angeles Flower Market on a regular basis. They last a few weeks in vases and are cheaper than flowers.

Gallery wall: 1) Matt took this photo at Beaver Lake Nature Center near his hometown of Syracuse, NY. 2) Our friend Kate from Fearsome Beast made us this custom skull portrait of us. 3) Our friend Travis made us the glitter mountain piece as a housewarming present. 4) Tracie Cheng is an artist I admire who created this custom painting for us two years ago. 5) Timber.

Sofa – Amazon
Face mobile – Lane Walkup
Peach planter – Concrete Geometric
Candle – Flores Lane
Vases – A Question of Eagles, IKEA
STOCKHOLM coffee table – IKEA
Tripod side table – Wayfair
Mantis wall sconce – CB2
BESTA credenza – IKEA
Wood stump side table – Urban Outfitters
Ceiling light – IKEA
Mountain scarf – Field Guided
Dusen Dusen rug – West Elm
Gallery wall – Fearsome Beast, Tracie Cheng, Travis Novak, photograph by Matt

My friend Cory gifted me this painting she made as a prop for a Matisse-inspired video/photo shoot featuring my jewelry collection. She watches over the house and makes sure the Nest thermostat is always working.

Matt and I eat breakfast here every morning. Usually it’s just the two of us but when we have guests over we insert the leaf and the dining table can seat six. The chairs fold so we have two more stored away in a closet. We upholstered over the existing beige seat covers with pink velvet leftover from our office sofa.

I converted the Plumen pendant light from hard-wired to a plug-in and needed to hide the connection point. Covering the lighting cord with macrame is a trick I learned from my days as a display artist at Anthropologie way back when.

We used to have a large plant in this corner but couldn’t walk around the table without running into it. Finally we thought to use some hanging planters! These are by Kat and Roger, Gopi Shah, and Pigeon Toe Ceramics.

Timber has a bed in almost every room. This one is handmade by my friend Kristen of Siamese Social Club.
Parker expandable dining table — West Elm
Pendant light — Plumen
Foldable dining chairs — Costco
Acrylic console — CB2
Cat bed and toys — Siamese Social Club
Fiber art — Alise Anderson, Vanessa Knight
Hooks — Kaye Blegvad, Rebel & Quill
Candle holders — Fort Standard, Lostine, Iittala, handmade
Ceramics — A Question of Eagles, Kat and Roger, Gopi Shah Ceramics, Pigeon Toe Ceramics

We wanted to paint the kitchen walls white but realized we’d then have to replace or paint all of the cabinets. Instead, we just kept things as is and added a little mural and floating shelf to make it our own.

Favorite ceramic cups by A Question of Eagles and Public Holiday.
Kitchen cart — Costco
Floating shelf — DAKODA LOVE
Strawberry planter — Uno + Ichi
Moon babe — Munbeibi
Dinner napkins — Jenny Pennywood
Candle — P.F. Candle Co.
Litter Box — Modkat
Litter Genie (life-changing)
Hand-carved salad serving set — Katie Armour
Ceramics — A Question of Eagles, Public Holiday

We like the bed to be made every morning so we kept it really simple with a kudd:krig Home blanket and the softest Casper sheets.

A pair of earrings from my spring collection on the nightstand.

The ceramic knot necklace is by my friend Elise from OATMEAL.

We have a lot of hidden storage. The bedframe has four drawers for our clothes and the various baskets throughout the room hold extra hangers, seasonal items, and laundry. The mirror in our bedroom is a bathroom medicine cabinet that I keep all of my makeup in.
Blanket — kudd:krig Home
Brass hooks — Rebel & Quill
Sheets — Casper
Nightstands — West Elm, IKEA
RANARP clamp light — IKEA
Standing planter — West Elm
Baskets — Anthropologie, Target, Amazon, IKEA
Cat/dog bed — Dusen Dusen
Ladder — handmade
Bed frame — IKEA
Ceramic moon chimes — Mudpuppy

The bathroom is really small but there are two medicine cabinets for that extra bit of storage. I fell in love with the Catisse print at first sight.
Catisse print — Niaski
Bamboo bath mat — Amazon

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