Los Angeles Home Tour

A couple years ago, my friend Sari moved from New York to Los Angeles with her husband Eli, son Jude and daughter Teddy. When I went to visit last year, I was struck by how warm and inviting their home was. Since moving, Sari—who used to be an editor at Gourmet and Martha Stewart—has been helping people with interior design on the side, so I guess it was no surprise that I wanted to curl up and stay all day. Want to take a peek inside? Here goes…

On a home with a personality: I respond to homes that have a sense of place—our apartment back in New York was a quintessential Upper West Side apartment: lots of wood paneling. The building was covered in ivy. It looked like something out of a Wes Andersen movie. Even the moldings had moldings. So a big part of why I fell in love with this home was that it felt very much of this place. It’s airy and bright, very Californian. In New York, I tended towards pieces that were more gentlemanly; there was a lot of herringbone and tweed happening! In California, I’ve been going for more wood and natural elements, rustic stuff with the occasional hippie-ish bent.

On the vintage card catalogue: I loved libraries as a kid and still deeply love everything about them. More than anything I wanted a vintage library card catalogue, and the fantastic Jenny Komenda found it for me on Craigslist. Jude also hides things in it. I’m constantly opening drawers and finding silverware and old necklaces. It’s my go-to place when anything is missing.

On her favorite spot: The happiest place for me is the grey couch because the light is really beautiful there throughout the whole day. That’s where the kids and I read together, and there’s pretty much nothing more delicious than curling up on a couch reading with your children. It’s also satisfying to see our vegetable garden growing outside.

On rules for the dog: Ike is a lost cause. We’ve gone through stretches of trying to keep him off the furniture, but he’s eleven, and what can we do at this point? Now he’s allowed everywhere. Given how notoriously pugs shed, it’s proof we are really crazy about him.

On family-friendly spaces: Our living room is the only room that doesn’t have kids things in it, but children find a way to make things their own. Jude figured out how to dismantle the gray sofa and create a plank across our coffee table. Now he and Teddy play pirates all over the furniture. So this room looks adult, but no, no it’s not.

Credits: Seagrass basket for the tree: West Elm. Grey sofa: Jonathan Adler. Blue sofa: Room & Board. Two grey chairs: Jonathan Adler. Leather pillow: CB2. Ikat ottomans: Jonathan Adler. Zebra coffee table: Vintage. Blue rug: John Robshaw.

On the children’s portraits: My husband, Eli, gave me these for Mother’s Day. Brooklyn artist Carter Kustera will do portraits of anyone—even dogs. You give him a bunch of images and choose the taglines. Jude is very deep into superheroes right now, and Super Jude is a character that we tell him lots of stories about. So Jude’s portrait says, “Jude is a superhero-in-training.” For Teddy, we sing a song to her and one of the lines is, “We all love our little teddy bear,” so that’s her tagline.

On decorating with a spouse: Eli is much more game to pull the trigger on things. If we love something, he’s like, let’s get it; but I can mull over something for a really long time. He jokes that if it weren’t for him, our house wouldn’t have any furniture.

On having a bar cart: When we’re going to have cocktails, which we very often do, it’s in a very unofficial way: also known as scotch on the rocks.

Credits: Wooden dining table: Crate & Barrel. Chairs: Louis Ghost and Panton. Bar cart/dresser: Nightwood. Deer bed photograph: Katherine Wolkoff.

On trusting yourself: When it came to decorating our home, it took me a long time to trust myself. A friend told me, “You know what you love, just start.” And she was right. Once you pick a piece of furniture, the other things fall into place. You know better than anyone what you love, how you live and how you use the space. I’ve been doing some home design work more recently, and it’s something I try to help instill in others: When you’re buying things you love and pulling them together, the end result will always look like you. Your home becomes a lesson in trusting yourself.

Credits: Orange-and-white runner: John Robshaw. Peg board: DIY with Manton Cork. White chevron rug: West Elm (similar from Serena & Lily). Swing chair, rope doorstop, captain’s mirror: Lawson Fenning. Coat rack: IKEA Fintorp hook, rail and hanging wire basket. Wooden chair/bench: My husband’s amazingly talented cousin, Raffi Lehrer.


On the bedside tables: The hand-painted dressers are custom from Nightwood in Brooklyn. They have a slight camping aesthetic without being corny.

On the Pendleton blanket: It’s not super soft, but I don’t mind. I went to sleep-away camp in Maine for nine summers and this feels exactly like the camping blankets we all used. I have very nostalgic affection for a slightly scratchy blanket.

On the monogrammed pillows: The blue pillows have my initial, Eli’s initial and our last initial. Anyone will do a monogram these days on anything!

Credits: Dressers: Nightwood. Blanket: Pendleton. Monogrammed pillows: Similar at West Elm.

On Sharon Montrose’s animal prints: The other day, Jude was standing on his crates and pointing out the animals to Teddy! The porcupine is my favorite; there’s something about porcupines that just kill me.

On creating a child-friendly space: We store Jude’s books at his level with the covers facing outward, so he can thumb through them. Before, when the spines faced out, it made it hard for him to find what he was looking for, so he’d pull all the books onto the floor. The bins are great because he can straighten up on his own. I’ve realized that the more things in children’s rooms that they can access independently and be responsible for, the better off they are.

On leaving toys out: In his room, if he’s in the middle of working on something, I try to leave it be. What looks like a mess to me is actually in progress for him. A friend gave me a good tip: If your child is in the middle of working on something—a building, an art project—and you put it away and they have to take it out the next day, it ruins the momentum and the magic is lost. I see that. So his room is generally a disaster zone.

Framed animal prints: Animal Print Shop. White storage unit with plastic bins: IKEA. Big-boy bed: IKEA. Faux fur rug: Restoration Hardware. Stuffed animals: Serena & Lily. Wooden storage crates: Serena & Lily.


On creating a cozy haven: Teddy’s room is much more of a true nursery. We don’t actually play much in it; it’s really for nuzzling and reading and sleeping. One thing that’s remarkable to me about having a girl after a boy is that she gravitates toward dolls in a way that I was completely not expecting.

On the flamingo photograph: The flamingo was a gift from a friend. She points to it all the time and says “flamingo” in this garbled way. It was actually one of her first words.

Credits: “T” pink pillow: Jonathan Adler. Crib: IKEA. Bunting: Matteo. Teddy bear: Jellycat. Flamingo photograph: Animal Print Shop.

On having a separate playroom: One of the luxuries of moving from New York to California was getting more space. I tend to be super tidy and organized; I sometimes joke that I have to resist my impulse to have a dustpan in one hand and a broom in another. Knowing that a lot of toys and artwork can be down here, including paints and Playdoh, and I can just relax about it is good for me and them. I want this to be a deeply happy place.

On favorite toy stores: The Land of Nod and Magic Cabin always have wonderful stuff. We get a lot on Amazon Prime (the free shipping is totally dangerous). At IKEA, too. Camden Rose makes gorgeous kids stuff, like mini kitchens, food products and wooden eggs. And I find it impossible to resist Jess Brown dolls. Each one is like a work of art.

On people figures: I recently discovered a couple in Brooklyn who makes wedding cake toppers and wooden peg dolls on Etsy. They’re the perfect size for little hands, so smooth and so satisfying to play with. And they’re funny—say, a Brooklyn hipster family where the dad’s wearing a button-down and the mom is wearing a flowy Isabel Marant type top. They don’t have set expressions, so the kids can pretend they’re doing anything.

Credits: Lantern garland: Mimi’lou. Mini table: Giggle. Mini chairs: Kartell. Purple rug: Flor.

Thank you so much, Sari! And thanks to the lovely Bonnie Tsang for taking photos.

P.S. A lovely New York apartment, and a 500-square-foot San Francisco home.

(Photos by Bonnie Tsang for Cup of Jo)

  1. Mary says...

    Who makes your white bookshelves that are pictured in your living room?
    Thanks! Your home is beautiful!

  2. Allison Arkin says...

    What is the paint color in the nursery? Thanks!

  3. Rachel says...

    What is the name of the navy blue paint color?!

    • LJ says...

      does anyone know?

  4. Bienvenido a LA…happy nesting!

  5. Hi where is the crib bumper from?

  6. Nice one! I like the outfit of the characters. Wish i could do the same thing too but im not that techie.i like the outfit of “from farmer to warden”.. really interesting.dave burke

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  11. Love the use of various patterns, textures and colors in each room. Their space is filled with culture & personality; the simple (while still) stand-out pieces really make their home so special.. like the beautiful bench in the entry way and that awesome end table in their bedroom!
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  17. Wow….what a decorated rooms…I have ever seen such a nice creativity. Awesome work.

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  19. What a lovely, livable and easy space. It might be my favorite house tour I’ve seen on the internet!

  20. What a beautiful house and family!!!

  21. Amazing house!! Do you know where the white book shelf is from? I wan t it!!!

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  23. my goodness, these comments have been so generous! thank you. really, thank you!

    gigi1633: yes, the sham and quilt are from john robshaw. they belonged to jude’s crib bedding (which i will probably hold onto for the rest of my life). although john robshaw no longer seems to make crib bedding, he still carries textiles in these patterns. as far as i can tell, the lapis quilt is the same blanket as jude’s, and his pillow is the maansi walnut from the madura collection.

    unknown: by and large, the color of the dakota table in bonnie’s (lovely) photos is true to the color of our table. that said, it’s probably gotten a bit darker with time: we’ve had it for almost three years now and it’s seen some very serious use!

    jessica: oh my, yes, the two framed pieces in teddy’s nursery have tremendous sentimental value to me — and, hopefully, one day, they will mean something to teddy, too. both pieces belonged to my nana, for whom teddy was named. to say i was crazy about her is a huge understatement! the piece on the bottom is a love letter from my grandfather, written late in their marriage; the piece on top is her rorschach report. (it was a required part of a job interview. crazy, right?) it’s just a single typewritten paragraph, but the description of her is vivid and uncanny in its accuracy.

    diana: the bird pillows are from john robshaw, too. sadly, i no longer see them on the website, but there are some fantastic elephants, and a zebra!

    hope this helps! and, again, thank you so, so much!

  24. I really enjoyed reading The Swarm. It kept me engrossed from start to finish with only one or two slow bits that I still found interesting. The characters are very well written so you can get into their heads. I thought there was plenty of action interspersed throughout the story, but the non-action was just as good. Excellent explanation of the problem at hand and how it was discovered etc.

  25. Her house celebrates all that is right about LA: its warmth, beautiful light, playful colors and direct access to nature. It’s lovely. Joanna or Sari, can you please tell me where I can find those fantastic bird cushions? I have been looking for similar ones for ages. Thank you!

  26. I’d love to know what the two framed pieces are (above the gray chair) in Teddy’s nursery. They look like letters? I’m really into sentimental art (thanks Nate Berkus) and they look like they have a story!

  27. Love her place. Lots of inspiration.

  28. my dream home!

  29. Really lovely and livable home! Is the color on the Dakota dining table accurate in the photos? It looks darker and richer than on the Crate and Barrel webpage.

  30. Love Sari’s house! Sari has a lot of things I have, and clearly loves the same colour palette… It made me feel at home!

  31. what a gorgeous home and what a beautiful family living in it. i love these home tours.

    but still, the tipi as child play-space is definitely problematic. its appearance here is a great opportunity to start a conversation about the assumptions behind this kind of cultural appropriation.

    there’s an interesting discussion about these issues in this blog post and its comments:
    even many of the natives who commented there disagree about whether it’s offensive or not. so it’s worth a read. maybe you’ll still end up deciding having a tipi in your home is OK – but please think about the issues at stake first, don’t just do it thoughtlessly.

    here’s another idea for a whimsical space for imaginative play that doesn’t inadvertently both reference and erase our nation’s history of violence and genocide: a circular canopy tent, which you can DIY with an embroidery hoop and cheap curtains (or buy a bed/crib canopy from ikea)

  32. ok, I’m moving to LA….and into that gorgeous place.

  33. Hi,
    I would like to know if the sham and quilt in the tee pee are from John Robshaw as well. I did’nt find them on his website.
    Thank you so much

  34. For me, this is the perfect deco: a house made for people (not for magazines), but with beautiful objects, colors and light! I really liked it, thanks for sharing!

    Marta Valente

  35. This was a great read and delicious eye candy! I want my home to be this inviting and warm. Please keep posts like this coming! I absolutely adore your blog!

  36. I have the same foscarini lamp and the ghost model chair.

  37. I have been reading your blog for a couple of years now (never commented before!) and I also read other design blogs, and I just needed to leave a comment to say, this is my favorite house EVER. It is perfect, absolutely totally perfect. Everything.

  38. Wow, this home is beautiful. Ughhh unfortunately, I’m way less talented in interior design. Thanks for sharing! Love looking at pictures of beautiful homes :)

  39. Fantastically creative and informative blog. I’m new to all this but your have set the bar pretty high for the other blogs I follow.
    Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated.
    I particularly loved your posts on travel wardrobes and hair. Dry Shampoo is a lifesaver.
    I’m going interrailing this summer so will let you know how the advice pans out.
    Best wishes,

  40. How beautiful! I love the library card catalogue. I also love the baby animal prints. I’ve got my eye on the baby camel…

    Kate from Clear the Way

  41. What a stunning home! I can see why you like it. Full of inspiration. Kelly

  42. wow, thank you so much. these comments are incredibly kind. it’s hard to think of a nicer way to end the day.

    to try to answer your questions:

    what’s delicious: we bought the tee pee on sale at the mini social. i wanted something pretty basic—a plain canvas tee pee—and happened to get lucky. house inhabit on etsy makes a beautiful tee pee:

    i also really like reliable tent:

    sadie and mama b: the paint color in jude’s room is symphony blue by benjamin moore.

    k: the living room bookshelves are from design within reach. we bought the very last floor model in brooklyn — it was a tight ride home with them jammed in the car! i’ve checked the site and, unfortunately, it doesn’t look like they sell them anymore. if i come across anything similar, i promise to let joanna know.

    kimberly: i’m pretty sure the paint color is dunn edwards precious pearls interior latex flat paint. i’m still digging around for the color of the trim. please stay tuned!

    erin: the bookshelves in the playroom are the expedit shelving unit from ikea. they have lived in almost every room in our house — they are that useful.

    jennafer carlin rosset: those swing chairs seem to go in and out of stock at lawson fenning. it’s a heartbreak they’re not a perennial piece. i bought ours at the silverlake store and the best i can recommend is that you let them know you’re interested and give them a call every so often to check back. i did this for my brother and sister-in-law and, one day, after months of crossed fingers, they came back in. but if it feels truly pressing, you might check out anthropologie. they had a lovely swing chair, too, last i looked.

    i really hope i got to everyone.
    and truly, thank you so much!

    • K says...

      Thank you Sari! I’ll keep an eye on craigslist in case any one is silly enough to sell theirs :)

  43. Hi Joanna how are you my friend? happy nice day for you and family.

  44. Beautiful and so creative! I love the chalkboard walls! That’s so neat and a great way to encourage creativity, they’ll never be bored with walls they’re actually allowed to draw on! That is so incredible.

  45. I’m in love with that vintage card catalogue, it’s gorgeous!

    And I love the name Teddy. So incredibly cute – my boyfriend has vetoed it from our list but I’m not giving up ;0)

  46. Gorgeous house and great resources…I particularly love the art by Carson Kustera and the Robshaw rugs. This house looks personal and lived in. There’s nothing worse than having a house that looks like someone else’s vision. I only wish Sari lived in Northern California.

  47. jm says...

    This home looks so incredibly inviting and serene, but also family friendly! I love it on first read and am going to go back to savor all the nooks and crannies and intimate details and choices. Really fantastic. Thanks for sharing!

  48. This home is stunning and welcoming. However, I must admit, I am tired of every kid’s room having those animal photos. They’re super cute, don’t get me wrong, but It feels almost as if they’re required for any beautiful and fashionable family.

  49. Wow, beautiful home. So many patterns and it all works so well together.

  50. Hi Joanna,
    I LOVE this house and desperately want the swing. It says it’s from Lawson Fenning but I don’t see it on their site. Does Sari have any other information?
    p.s. Will she come up and help decorate our new house in Sonoma County??

  51. beautiful home but the cultural appropriation isn’t so cute :/
    Please people stop buying “toy” tipis.

    • I completely disagree. I had a tipi as a kid and loved it — we played in it all the time, indoors and out and it was a wonderful cozy space. And btw, I’m part American Indian, although I don’t think it matters. If we didn’t appropriate other cultures, we wouldn’t have much of anything.

    • Well I am part Navajo and I identify as an American Indian and I find it offensive. Other people don’t really get to decide what is offensive to other cultures.

  52. Where did she get the bookshelves in the living room, as well as the bookshelves/storage unit in the playroom? They’re terrific.

    • Playroom bookshelves are IKEA, Erin.

  53. This is such a beautiful home! So much inspiration… I love that grey couch. It looks so inviting. I’d spend all afternoon cuddled up and reading to my son, too!

  54. stunning. do you know what paint color she used in her living room? the wall and trim are the perfect combo!

  55. W says...

    what neighborhood in LA is this home!? So cute!

  56. Wow, this is by far my favorite house tour (I’d say almost ever). I love how they balanced great design with family-friendly practicality. Beautiful!

  57. What a beautiful home. I would have loved to see the outdoors, too, like what the outside of the house looks like and the vegetable garden she mentions…

  58. Lovely! What is the paint color in the little boy’s room?

  59. What a great space!!!

  60. Ooof, I love everything about this home. Especially the cork (?) wall in the kitchen for the kids’ art. Fabulous.

  61. K says...

    What’s the story with those bookshelves? They are so perfect — airy, modern, and functional. WHERE are they from??

    Her house is gorgeous!

    • Yes, more sources please!!! Domino it up, Joanna! :)

  62. This is so pretty! The playroom is the best! I’ve always wanted chalkboard walls! Also, that vintage card catalogue? GORGEOUS.

  63. I love all the light in the living spaces; the white walls and green… lovely!

  64. This house is beautiful! I love that she makes the most of where she lives, and her home reflects her surroundings as much as herself. I wonder how I can incorporate that in the house I just bought in South Jersey…

    I am also curious about what Lindsey’s comment was, and on that front, what the role of your intern is, Joanna. I had a comment go missing one an old post (about the results of one of your recipes I tried) and wonder if it was a similar issue.

  65. oh my goodness this is just perfect. so warm and cozy-cute!

  66. Great color and natural light. I live out west, too, and I love being bold with color. I also love that the kids get to jump on the fancy furniture! And I love the silhouette portraits!

    xo green gable

  67. Ok this home is insanely gorgeous!

  68. does she have a design firm?

  69. Gave me some great ideas for organizing children books. Mahalo for the share!

  70. Overall I just love it. It’s so warm and inviting… and in LA – wow – the weather! <3

  71. Beautiful home! I especially love how bright and airy it is!

  72. they have the perfect amount of light in their home! and jude’s room is just great. bravo to them & their impeccable style!

  73. I’m in love with her home. I really like how her home isn’t very matchy-matchy but different pieces that develop into its own one of a kind collection.

  74. lindsey, i’m so sorry! my intern keeps an eye on comments, but yours shouldn’t have been deleted.

  75. Love all the light in this house. And she has the deer bed photo I’ve been obsessed with ever since I saw it in the NY apt post on your site. Some day.

  76. kat, sari doesn’t remember! i’ll try to look for something similar…

  77. yes, she’s amazing with prints! it’s so hard to mix prints in a living space, but she nails it.

  78. Why was my comment deleted? It was kind (I really do love the home) but I think it’s something that needs to be pointed out. There’s already someone in the comments asking where to buy the teepee.

  79. My favorite shot is one of the living room. Usually, I like to stick with solid colors or standard prints for interior design. However, she made all those prints work perfectly!

  80. Thanks for the wonderful tour! I love so many things about their beautiful home, and all the background info from Sari was really interesting and fun to read.

  81. I espeically love the gallery wall and the great lamp; a great mix of textures and finishes. The cork wall in the kitchen is to die for.

  82. Love seeing Sari’s beautiful house and lovely children! What a warm and inviting home that feels lived in! Thanks for sharing with us.

  83. Love the dining room light fixture – source?

  84. What is the paint color in Judd’s room? It’s the PERFECT color navy!

  85. Love it. Thanks for sharing. Where did they get the teepee?????

  86. so beautiful. i could see myself living in this house very easily. the view from the living room! wow.

  87. could not love this house any more. well, well done! standing ovation!

  88. LOVE this home – especially that beautiful living room! Breathtaking. Thanks so much for sharing, Sari!

  89. It’s pretty crazy that she uses so many patterns together that I suspect many people would shy away from – but somehow they all work perfectly together. She certainly has an eye for design.

    champagne & passports

  90. such a gorgeous home. that velvet blue couch! so much eye-candy in such a livable space, thanks for sharing and for the inspiration!

  91. This is such a lovely, warm family home. Thank you for all the inspiration!