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Chill Japandi Vibes Rule in This Los Angeles Home

July 11, 2023

We asked for designer Kirsten Blazek's secrets on making a brand-new house feel extremely homey. Spoiler: It's about keeping things simple.

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Photo: Michael P.H. Clifford

How to Make a New Build Feel Like Home

You might not guess from looking at it that this Los Angeles home is brand-new, recently rebuilt nearly from the ground up. When designer Kirsten Blazek of firm A1000X Better took on the project for a developer client, it was a 1,000-square-foot bungalow, and they tore down everything but a single wall.

But thanks to clever use of color, texture, angles and vintage décor, this Japandi-style home—mixing Japanese and Scandinavian design vibes—looks warm, inviting and lived-in. We asked her how she designed a house that seems to be shrouded in perpetual golden hour, and how you can add elements of character (like this French pendant light) to a new home when you’re starting from scratch.

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Photo: Michael P.H. Clifford

A Round Window in the Custom Front Door Softens the Home’s Hard Angles

The front door was custom made to match the cladding on the front of the house, Kirsten says. Because there are so many angles in the design, such as the slanted ceiling, Kirsten looked for opportunities to soften the home with round features like the circular window here.

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Photo: Michael P.H. Clifford

A Svelte Sliding Door Provides Privacy in an Open-Concept Home

Looking in from the front door, you can see all the way through to the backyard of the house. There, Kirsten’s team designed an ADU—an additional dwelling unit—which can be used as a home office space, an in-law apartment or an opportunity to generate rental income. To the left, a sliding wooden door provides privacy for a suite of two guest bedrooms. It hangs on a custom track hidden behind the door. To the right, you can see into a front sitting area that is a quiet space for reading.

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Photo: Michael P.H. Clifford

Vintage Furnishings and Rugs Bring Soul Into a Living Room

This sitting room is in the front of the house, to the right when you enter the home. The custom shelves in the corner are cut on an angle to keep them interesting, Kirsten says. Throughout the home, most of the rugs used in the staging were vintage pieces sourced from Blue Parakeet Rugs, which curates century-old pieces. To bring "soul" into a new build, Kirsten says she likes to use as much vintage furniture as possible. "In other rooms, we brought in quirky vintage oil paintings that, typically, people would avoid in a more contemporary, modern house," she says. The light fixture is a three-arm Mouille Ceiling Lamp.


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