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.

  1. jennifer g says:

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

  2. kerrouche says:

    j’aime tout ce qui est naturelle
    les plantes et les produits de la nature

  3. 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!

  4. Stacey says:

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

  5. jen says:

    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!

  6. So close to me..yet so faraway. I want to live in this space BAD.

  7. Jen Bilik says:

    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.

  8. Aidza says:

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

  9. Jen Bilik says:

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

  10. K H Laff says:

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


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