Whitney and Adam’s Live/Work Canal Cottage

published Oct 22, 2013
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(Image credit: Monica Wang)

Name: Whitney Leigh Morris, Graphic Designer, and Adam Winkleman
Location: Canals, Venice Beach, California
Size: 362 square feet (interior)
Years lived in: 2.5 years; Rented
Etc: Built in 1924. One of two original craftsman-style cottages on the lot.

You may remember this beautifully renovated cottage from Whitney’s House Call. I was brought in to do a full tour of their space, and I was certainly not disappointed. Whitney and Adam have made living in a small space look like a breeze. They have mastered the minimalist lifestyle and created a space that feels cozy and tranquil.

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(Image credit: Monica Wang)
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The neutral colors, fresh flowers, and natural light make the space feel open and homey. Like Whitney mentioned in her House Call, there is storage throughout the house, including the hidden drawers under the bed and under the couch to cleverly hide shoes, clothes, and blankets. Whitney and Adam mentioned to me that they donate clothes and belongings to the Goodwill so frequently that it has now become a monthly ritual A habit that we can all learn from! Their outdoor space is a dream. It includes a work station for gardening, multiple small herb and veggie gardens, and a seating area and patio for entertaining.

(Image credit: Monica Wang)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Both Adam and I like to keep things simple. His aesthetic is modern and refined, while mine is more rustic and warm. We’ve somehow balanced our tastes to create a home-office that is perfect for us as a couple.

Inspiration: Nature/Functional decor.

Favorite Element: The many windows, skylights and doors. When the entire house is opened up, we enjoy the coastal breeze and feel as though we’re outside. Of course, we also love the space-maximizing built-ins. They are incredibly well thought out, as are the interior pocket doors.

Biggest Challenge: Although we love the couch, it’s a headache. It’s the perfect size for us (we are both very tall), but it’s tough to keep clean since we always leave the windows open and our beagle-mix, Stanlee, loves to snuggle up among the pillows. The large and unique dimensions of the couch cushions require custom, oversize covers, and we’ve had a tough time finding something within our budget. The bed was also a bit tricky at first. Before we moved in together, Adam had a king mattress and I had a double, while the built-in was made for a queen. Not wanting to buy yet another mattress, we decided to cut Adam’s memory-foam king down to fit. We tried several power tools before learning that a standard bread knife was by far the easiest solution.

What Friends Say: “This must be what it’s like to live on a boat.” // “Where do you keep all your stuff?”

Biggest Embarrassment: We would like to improve upon the back patio’s landscaping, pavers and surrounding walls, but we can’t justify investing in large-scale improvement projects as renters.

Proudest DIY: The chameleonic nature of our home/office and yard. Even though almost everything is built in, we’ve carefully selected versatile accents and furniture that enable us to rework the house depending on our needs. During the day, this is my messy and colorful graphic design office. In the evenings, it’s our calming, cozy dining room. On the weekends we easily set up tables, bars and lounges throughout the property to host parties and gatherings. We feel like we live in a much bigger space than we actually do.

Biggest Indulgence: Fresh flowers from the local farmers market — an addiction I’ve had ever since living/working in the French countryside (thus the Aveyron map and the Belcastel sign above the stove).

Best Advice: Ara & Chris’ response to this question was perfect. “A space has to work.” That’s why the built-ins in our cottage are so perfect – they were created by the person living here. The interior was renovated with a knowledge of what it means to share this space, and by someone who was familiar with how the wind and light touch the property. That’s what makes our home so lovely, and more importantly, so enjoyable. We’ve tried to adhere to that principle in our choice of decor, while delicately enhancing the beauty and function of the architecture.

(Image credit: Monica Wang)

Resources of Note:



  • Casbah Loveseat from CB2
  • Dining table, chairs & garden bench – MÄLARÖ



  • Pentagon shelf from Hemingway & Pickett in Silverlake
  • Vintage maps from The Prints Collector
  • Arrow tea towel by wit and whistle
  • Apron by Linum Studio
  • Dishware & serving pieces from Dan George Pottery (Malibu), CB2 & Threshold
  • Metal storage baskets, wooden placemats & enamel spoons from West Elm Market
  • Small napkins by By Amarie



(Image credit: Monica Wang)

Thanks, Whitney and Adam!

(Images: Monica Wang)

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