eclectic artist's retreat in montecito heights

When we got the call to stage an artist’s retreat (or compound, as the realtor is calling it) in the NELA neighborhood of Montecito Heights, we were intrigued. We know someone who lives in the area, and we like the rolling hills and open space that’s visible from these properties. The duplex we were to stage in the next day or so was a two-bedroom, two-bath space with a detached studio/office building. Surrounded by a huge, flat side yard, the corner property had been completely remodeled and all it needed was some personality.

We brought in a small-scale sofa with Mid Century modern lines, a Plycraft lounge chair and an MCM coffee table (from Pepe’s Furniture in Echo Park). Some art, a vintage lamp, and a few pillows and throws later, what was once a little stark felt cozy and lived in.

A vintage magazine rack holds Dwell magazines while a Suzani and a velvet pillow add warm color. We found the B&W art above the sofa at a neighbor’s yard sale.

The chevron throw is a thrift store find, as are the baskets and deer figurine (many items have been sourced at the Glendale Goodwill on Brand Blvd., our secret weapon). The floor lamp is from IKEA.

We found the dining table on craigslist and paired it with IKEA chairs and a Flokati rug. On the wall, a diverse display of art and vintage dust brooms (yes, dust brooms. They make great wall decorations!). On the table, a large African basket.

A view from the dining room into the living room reveals a wall of large vintage portraits sourced at estate sales and from a colleague.

A close up of the portrait wall and a peek into the kitchen.

A view from the hallway into the dining room. More vintage art sourced at an artist’s garage sale.

The master bedroom is accented by an orange arc lamp sourced at Pepe’s and a kilim rug we found on

African baskets, books and eclectic objects. A vintage chair stands to the side of the MCM dresser.

A vintage photograph and some interesting paper in a frame above the retro bedside table and lamp.

We love basket walls and have amassed a great collection of African baskets. The global fabric runner at the end of the bed was found at a thrift store in Mentone, CA.

In the second bedroom, a color scheme of blue, white and soft red.

We found the needlepoint deer at the same Mentone shop. The elephant batik was a Pepe’s score and the vintage oil painting is from the 1970s.

One of the two bathrooms was treated to a B&W color scheme.

We styled the studio as an office with a vintage-style desk, industrial swivel chair and a varied selection of art.