interior design by 63

sneak peek: jen bilik of knock knock


jen bilik, founder and head honcho of knock knock, a  fantastic line of clever and fun stationery products, always dreamed of being an architect. in 2003 she found her dream property in the mar vista oval neighborhood of los angeles.  her goal of starting from the ground up would have been too costly, so instead jen spent seven years renovating (with a big focus on the landscape) to create her dream home. recently jen made the tough decision to put her dream house on the market, and even with a bad market, it sold in only a week, and left jen in a place to pay off debts and finally have a “grown up” nest egg.  while we’re sad that jen had to leave her dream home, we’re glad we can help document all her hard work in a beautiful sneak peek.  click here for tons more images (and descriptions) of jen’s [former] home. {thanks, jen and best wishes!} -anne

[photographs: Jim Simmons]


Over my seven years in the house, one of the biggest projects was the landscape. It was purely dead grass and ivy when I moved in, but for a few mature trees, so all that you see in the pictures is the result of multi-phase work by my friend (and former Venice next-door neighbor) the amazing landscape architect Russ Cletta.


One of my fantasies in buying the island was to fill it with architectural follies. I love follies – outbuildings, treehouses, folk art, etc. I’ve also always loved Airstreams. I had the brilliant idea that I would buy and restore an Airstream and live in it during the renovation. Thirty thousand dollars (28-foot 1968 Airstream + restoration + landscaping + pad + utilities) and a lot of time and energy later, I finally moved in and lasted a whole . . . week. The dogs hated it (they’re not very good at walking backwards, and there’s no room to turn around), I hated it, and the toilet didn’t work very well. It’s a really pretty lawn ornament, though.

CLICK HERE for the rest of jen’s sneak peek after the jump!


During the renovation, I took down the walls between the kitchen and the living room and the dining room so that we could earn the ubiquitous right to call it a Great Room.  The living room was always sunken, a late add-on that we found during the renovation was all but pulling away from the rest of the house (read: expensive change order).  The sectional couch is the Clarke sofa from Room and Board, one of my favorite sources for new, not cheap, but not exorbitant furniture.  The mirrors are a discontinued Knock Knock item – they have cool words on them.  The splint is an original Eames splint – that’s how Charles Eames pioneered bent plywood, in order to make effective splints during World War 2. I think they’re beautiful.


Kitchen – the 14th Street was once upon a time my subway stop in NYC. I found this sign in an LA thrift store, of all places, for $100.  The barstools are Emeco knockoffs and counters are Caesarstone.  The dining chairs are Ikea, PS Såga. Not terribly comfortable, but nice low punch of color for $70 each.   The dining room light is a Philippe Starck Romeo Soft S2 Pendant Light. The dining room table is a Saarinen pedestal table.


Where the magic happens. Artemido Tolomeo lights, which I toted from apartment to apartment to house to house. Now they will stay where they are. Art on the wall is by my best friend from college, Jennifer Gardiner.


What would you do without orange Caesarstone? You’ll have to figure it out, because it’s been discontinued. My amazing contractor, Dean Pitcher, whom I totally recommend, tracked a remnant down after I pitched a fit. Please note – orange is Knock Knock’s signature color.

Pin It
Categories
interior design / sneak peeks

63 Comments

Ashley

Such a beautiful home! The 14th street sign in the (lovely) kitchen is a fun touch–where is it from?

Sham

LOVE the 14 Street sign, the dining table and chairs and the bathroom!
The garden looks lovely!

mariel

clean, airy and beautiful! now please please please tell me where that chartreuseish desk in the office is from! i’ve been looking for a simple long and thin writing desk just like it for a while now!!!

Randi Saba

I am curious about the office too?The desk and accessories.

abby

This house is so great: airy with lots of color and a nice, lived-in feel. And the backyard! Amazing.

virginia

i love the natural light, the furniture and lighting choices – oh, and the orange counter top and landscaping!

a great deal of thought went into flow, placement and proportion. beautiful.

robin

i love the idea of an airstream out back… sounds like the perfect guest room!

Miz.Jo

This house has the most beautiful natural lighting I have ever seen in a home. I only hope that my husband and I can design a house that has such beautiful flow and energy.

Tricia Rose

It must be hard to leave such a beautiful and individual space, but it won’t be the last Jen transforms, I’m certain!

Kitty

LOVE the space…LOVE the colors and will remember to pitch a fit for that orange countertop! I am also the proud owner of an Airstream 67 Caravel. Yep…love it too, but to live in it would be a challenge. Great spaces…well done!

Sarah

I love the airstream! I don’t know about living in one permanently but it seems like it’d make a perfect office/work space. Or a guest house.

Bre

It looks like the Flickr pages for this post and the Gabriel Wick and Olivier sneak peak are both set to private.

teresa

I’m freaking out about the office desk, as well. Lovely! Actually, I want the entire house!

bridget212323

lovely and an amazing amount of land for LA.

Jen Bilik

Thanks for kind words, all! Office desk is built-in from MDF, then primed and painted and sanded and painted and sanded . . . then painted again. Pretty straightforward design, with lips added to top perimeter and verticals to make it look nice and thick, and grommets from http://www.mockett.com. Don’t remember the exact thrift store where I got 14th Street sign.

Evlayn

Been there and done that with the Air Stream – it seemed like a good idea until I remember I am claustophobic. But yours will make a lovely guest cottage!

jamieofalltrades

I love Knock Knock pads. Especially the packing list. So fun to see her home. Love the Airstream in the backyard.

bussbuss

love knock knock products (always so funny) and so wish i could have been the one to have bought this house! the landscaping is dreamy.

i’m dying laughing at the airstream adventures… i just had the pleasure of staying at el cosmico, the vintage trailer encalve in marfa, texas and while i adored it – there’s not exactly a lot of space, so i’m not sure how long one could live in one (now i have an answer: 1 week!). pics here if anyone wants to see:
http://bussbuss.com/wp/?s=marfa

Erin

The house looks so airy and comfortable, hard to achieve through pictures! I am completely in love with the rugs throughout the home and would love to know where they came from. Especially the bedroom rug…gorgeous!

bridget212323

Hey Jen, Are you ever going to bring back January cards? Such a brilliant idea and my friends thought they were hilarious!

Heather Bailey

My husband is pining for an airstream. He wants to build a mobile office inside. I’m sending him a link to your post right now — he’ll love it! I think he’s nuts.

Jen Bilik

We loved the January Cards too, and they were bestsellers for us. It was actually the first KK-ish thing I created, for my own holiday card long before starting KK! Not sure what will happen with cards in the future – we made a business decision to shut that category down. However, they’re available as e-cards around the holidays!

Rugs came from all over – a couple from LA stores, and some from Israel (though most are Persian).

Haley

Beautiful beautiful beautiful! I absolutely love the way the space in the living/dining area is divided, as well as the large circle of lights on the ceiling in that area. And the landscaping. Oh and the two different seating areas (bar vs. table). I could go on, but I won’t. In a nutshell, I love it!

Anne Bryant

I love this home and am totally digging the pre-fab concrete pavers. Might be just what I was looking for in my backyard.

Laura

This is a gorgeous house. Where did you get the entertaiment unit and bookshelves from in the living room? Thanks!

Christine

Hi Jen,
I’d like to suggest something…..if you’re to open a home option store, you can use your name……Bilik in the Malay language is Room.

Alethea

The same fresh, modern aesthetic in this home that I love so much about Knock Knock. Say hi to Elyse and Craig for me!

Rachel

those rugs are amazing! please do tell where the dining and bedroom rugs were sourced.

Becky

It’s almost as if my dream home has come to life! Thanks for this amazing post.

Farmgirl Susan

I LOVE this house! Thanks for the inspiring tour. But when do we get to see the inside of the Airstream? :)

Jen Bilik

@Laura, shelves are built-ins, by cabinetmaker who did kitchen cabinetry (same wood, finish, etc.).
@Christine, what a fun fact about Malay! We will definitely have to open our first store in Malaysia!
@Alethea, hellos have been communicated – we love Elyse and Craig!
@Rachel, rugs bought at various places in LA and on international travels, all one of a kind, mostly Persian.
@Farmgirl Susan, pix of interior of Airstream did not make the cut – maybe on a sequel!
@Everybody else, continued thanks for kind words!

Laura

Jen, is the dresser in the bedroom from Room and Board? Thanks!

naomi

Where’d you get that bathroom light? I’ve been searching for something good looking and snappy for ages!

terri

I look at so many homes on so many blogs, web pages, magazines, etc. and few have inspired pure envy like your former home has! The well placed pops of color and the open air feel to it strikes the perfect note. The landscaping is in perfect harmony with the house and the surroundings. (We just bought an Airstream two weeks ago, too) This is a really beautiful home. I imagine it broke your heart to sell it. But now you get to start again! I hope I get to see what you do next.

jennifer g

Hee hee–my friends got an Airstream to convert to a photography studio. Expensive, but pretty, boodoggle.

Mary Kate McDevitt

What a treat! Her house is lovely and unique. I had a chance to meet Jen Bilik when she did a talk in Lancaster, PA her stories of starting Knock Knock are inspiring.

Thanks for this sneak peak!

Stacey

Love everything about it! The floors, the airiness of the home and especially the outdoors (love the tropical feel)

jen

LOVE the house!!! Do you happen to know what the exterior color and trim are? It looks like a greyish taupe and I love it. I am about to paint my house. Thanks!

Jen Bilik

Exterior paint took forever to get exact right color – so many were too red, too yellow, etc. This is Dragon’s Breath by Benjamin Moore.

Aidza

Love this house!
May I ask…where is ceiling lighting from the living room from?

Jen Bilik

Aidza – Ceiling lighting is just standard track lighting bent into an oval and suspended from the ceiling.

K H Laff

Wow, great job! Could you please share where you bought your circular track lighting? Thank You!

Leave a Comment

Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business.

Current day month ye@r *