Designer Hopie Stockman describes her L.A. home as “a skinny cliffside house that looks right out of a Tim Burton movie.” She’s the co-founder of the sister-run design studio Block Shop, and her space reflects her love of color, comfort and creativity. “During the pandemic, I thought, ‘I’m going to be alone inside my house a lot, so I’m going to make it my own space.’” she told us. Take a look inside…
On following your intuition: I found this rental on Craigslist six years ago. There was just a blurry picture of a sunset, but I had a good feeling, so I went over the next day and met the landlord and his wife. She’s a theme-park architect, and they built the house together with a group of friends in the ‘90s. They had a tiny budget and one specification: that it could fit a baby grand piano.
On hosting friends: My ideal evening is making an early dinner for a few friends and setting up a shared creative project on my porch while it’s still light out. We’ve done paper mâché, wreath making, turmeric tie dying and block printing with potatoes. Truly nothing makes me happier than doing something creative with people I love.
On family matters: I grew up in a family of six, so my default cooking setting is for six people. I can’t help it. When I cook for myself or two people, I have a week’s worth of leftovers. If I cook for eight or 10 people, there’s never quite enough. As a result, six is my ideal group size for hosting and socializing. When I’m in a group of six, I like how there can be one shared conversations, or two to three smaller conversations.
On go-to meals: My tried-and-true, learned-from-my-mom recipe is Chicken Marbella. It’s a perfect sweet and salty chicken from the 1980’s cookbook The Silver Palate. You marinate the chicken overnight in this combination of prunes and bay leaves and parsley and capers and green olives. It looks really beautiful, and I love serving that with rice and a big salad.
On the emotional power of color: I think about color all the time. If I’m talking to someone my mind drifts to what purple or green I’d mix into the shadow colors of their face. I believe that color impacts your mood. For me, mood-lifting colors are yellow and orange, and colors that inspire calm both are in the cool blue family. Chilly red can make me feel hungry, while whites help with focus.
On personal favorites: I think we all have colors that we’re drawn to, that have spoken to us since childhood. Mine is peachy orange. I had a pair of peach-colored cowboy boots as a little girl, and it’s a mood-boosting color for me. The French film director Agnès Varda talked about how she was always trying to find the color of happiness in her work, and my version of that is that peachy orange.
On creating joyful moments: I painted these bathroom murals during the height of the pandemic. I was spending a lot of time alone at home, so they reminded me to find a sliver of fun on a daily basis and helped make a temporary space feel as homey as possible. I rent this place, so eventually I’ll have to repaint everything white, but it feels worth any extra work.
Wall paint: Behr in Windwood Spring.
On quarantine projects: To paint the murals, I put on music, had a couple beers and just went for it. I created the nautical seashell one while I was falling in love with my now-fiancé. Both murals are also inspired by botanical prints, a café in Jaipur, and the whimsical wall paintings of Jean Cocteau.
On finding love: This summer, my fiancé and I are getting married with our immediate family in Texas. We’re so excited. He’s amazing; I can’t say enough wonderful things about him. We met in the middle of the pandemic. There was an outdoor parking lot hang with some friends, and we just hit it off.
On meaningful artists: I draw a lot of inspiration, both aesthetically and philosophically, from artists like Joe Brainard and Jordan Casteel because they depict the beauty and complexity of ordinary, everyday life. My phone background is a green painting of toothbrushes by Joe Brainard, and it’s so beautiful and perfect it makes me tear up.
On values: Our design business Block Shop celebrates textile traditions with a sense of humor and humanness. All our partners are family-owned organizations who share our standards around fair wages and healthy working conditions. Figuring out how to scale thoughtfully — when it comes to things like water reuse and upcycling material waste — has been a fruitful, ongoing learning process.
Wicker chandelier: thrifted, similar.
On childhood interests: My sister Lily and I love specialized and specific art forms, like block printing; and that started when we were kids. Lily and I would paint scenes on our floor and build stage sets. We’ve always been into the nitty gritty of how handmade things are made. I hope to help other young designers through my involvement in the The Female Design Council Mentorship Program. The mentees are college students and young designers who are learning how to start businesses and build networks in the middle of a pandemic.
On laid-back decorating: I don’t think you need to have ‘a look.’ You can just live in a way that’s comfortable and hopefully amusing to you, and then the way you live will naturally carry with it an aesthetic over time. It’s taken me years to make my house feel relatively ‘finished.’ There was a purple rug for a while, and a dining room where the living room is. It’s a constant evolution. That’s what creates texture in a home.
Patio set: RAD.
On loving corners: I love sitting under the orange trees. My fiancé made these yellow chairs and table for Christmas. He runs a furniture company in L.A. called RAD, and the patio set design is based off the first movie we ever watched together, La Piscine. I cried when I saw the present. No one has ever given me anything that incredible before. I love having meals out there with him.
Thank you so much, Hopie!
(Photos by Laure Joliet for Cup of Jo.)