After an unexpected eviction from their rental house five years ago, production accountant, Sophie Carpenter, and her musician husband, Issac, set their sights on a space they could call their own.
What happened next was a series of nightmare scenarios racing against the clock to get a home they loved before the deadline of move out day. Faced with LA’s competitive real estate market, they had 60 days to lockdown their new home – one they actually wanted to live in – and felt the odds were stacked against them.
“We were so freaked out trying to find a place that worked for us with a deadline. We decided to try and buy a house and were completely unprepared for how stressful and competitive the process is in Los Angeles. We got outbid on a few houses and by the time we found this one, we knew we had to be super aggressive.”
Their strategy worked and they closed the deal on a beautiful Spanish style villa in the Glassell Park area of LA, where the couple now live with their dog, Rascal. Built in 1928, the building’s architecture harks back to its European influences, with white stucco exterior walls and dark oak window frames. But it wasn’t without the need of repairing.
“We did the roof – a not-so-fun homeowner purchase,” explains Sophie. “The next big thing was the yard! We hired a landscape designer and ripped out all of the grass and created a drought tolerant desert landscape in the front and the back. It really made a huge impact and people walking by compliment it all the time.”
There are two archways leading into the dining room and living room, which afford the space bright light and a Mediterranean quality, complemented by all-white walls and statement furniture in tones of oak, mustard and clay. A blend of contemporary art and vintage stoneware lend their home an air of timelessness.
The continuity between each room is key to her sense of styling: “I can see the front of the house from the back, it all really needs to blend together, so I would say the house is fairly cohesive in its theme. When we first moved in, we just dropped our stuff from our old place and lived with it. We started slowly making changes. In some cases, I had a clear idea of what I wanted but in others it developed over time, and frankly, it’s always changing.”
The couple’s interior design choices are ever-evolving and their individual tastes work together in balance, with Issac’s preference for minimalism and Sophie’s love of experimenting with placement. “I want it to feel comfortable, easy and simple,” she says. “My husband hates clutter so that forces me to always pare things down a bit. He keeps me editing. I never designed a room all at once, it’s more of a process.”
The soothing neutral palette extends to the outside, where the deck area is furnished with rattan pieces, collectively earthy hued and minimal in colour, with an emphasis on textural detail.
“Since we can’t really have anyone inside the house at the moment, we’ve been focusing on outside projects more. We refreshed our deck area by painting it and I’m currently tree shopping online for a space in back where we want to add a tree to create some more privacy. We’ve created an outside living room that we love spending time in.”
What inspires Sophie, she says, is social media. “I love the whole process of taking and editing photos and curating my feed. I also love sharing information and discovering new places. But it’s more of a hobby for me and that takes the pressure off! Instagram keeps me inspired to constantly be changing things up. I live in a pretty small space, but I am always moving things around and doing little projects to keep things fresh.”
Follow Sophie at @sophiecarpenter