Interiorssneak peeks

sneak peek: lauren spencer king

by Shannon Grant

Artist Lauren Spencer King’s work focuses on the intensity of color and detail, as expressed through watercolor and cut glass. These themes are apparent throughout her Silverlake, Los Angeles, apartment, where she’s managed to create a meaningful and artistic home — a place for her to collect and curate her favorite things. The space already had loads of character with its Art Deco details (the apartment was built in 1922), and it has only been enhanced with artwork made by her mother and grandmother. Mixed in with these treasured pieces are countless books, crystals and travel mementos. In addition to being an artist, Lauren spends her days running Spencer Studio, where she designs bespoke wedding invitations, logos, book covers and more. She sells some of her drawings on Spencer Studio’s Etsy site and also has a blog, The Sphinx & the Milky Way. Thank you Lauren, and thanks to Kate Danson for the beautiful photographs! — Shannon

Image above: I feel like this is the altar of my home. It contains all the kinds of things I hold close to my heart and that are important to me. I love books, and have collected art books from many corners of the world. This bookcase also holds the bulk of my gem and mineral collection. Above it hangs an arrangement of family photos and other special things such as a poster from one of my mum’s jewelry shows in the 70s, a drawing of me that my grandmother did on a Chanel newspaper ad, as well as a few of her mushroom paintings, and an amazing Native American pipe pouch that used to be my mum’s. I love looking at this wall and thinking about how inspired I am by the women in my family.

Image above: I love the large window in my living room!

See more of Lauren Spencer King’s Los Angeles home after the jump . . .

Image above: This is my pup, Ava; she is hilarious and sweet as can be. She is my shadow, and I couldn’t love her more if I tried! She loves to lounge in the afternoon sun, and sometimes I find her curled up in the pillows on my bed where she is not allowed. The painting was done by my grandmother, and I love the colors! And the table is an antique hibachi from Japan that used to be my mum’s.

Image above: Two photos of my mum and I; these are very dear to me. A photo of my grandmother, Audrey — she was a businesswoman in the 50s and traveled all over the world. This is her at the Acropolis looking fabulous! A stereograph of the moon I found in Paris. And a rainbow.

Image above: I have run out of places to shelve my books, so I have had to get creative. This area is a combination of books that were my grandfather’s (he was an architect) and records that used to belong to my parents. There is a little painting of my grandmother’s from her mushroom series and her self portrait, along with this amazing vintage poster from a burlesque club. Written on the side is “Helene Southall” — I am assuming that is the name of the dancer. I found it at an antique shop and just fell in love with the colors, the pattern of her costume, and mostly how beautiful and confident she is.

Image above: The lamp is Swedish, from Kosta Boda. It was a gift from my grandmother, Audrey, when I moved away to college. I love its red mid-century lamp shade. Another favorite feature of my apartment is the little door that I can peep through to see who is knocking. Bonjour!

Image above: I have a tradition of always having fresh flowers by my bed. I see it as an act of kindness, something sweet and simple I can do for myself. On the wall is a mirror that has been in my family for generations, an antique watercolor portrait miniature done on ivory that was a Valentine’s gift from my mum years ago, and a small dream catcher I got while driving through Navajo Nation.

Image above: I just picked up this mineral (in the middle) at the last Gem, Mineral and Fossil show. The two glass objects used to be in my grandmother’s painting studio. They now have a permanent home on my coffee table.

Image above: My apartment building was built in the 1920s, and it still has a lot of original details. My kitchen has beautiful old tile and an old icebox that I use as a pantry. My stove has seen better days, but I can’t bear to part with it. I am guessing it is from the early 60s because on the back it has a quick reference for what temperature to bake things like meringue and angel food cake. It makes me laugh. On the stove is my coveted rare Le Creuset pot in peach (it was only sold in Tokyo), and the little Le Creuset pot was my grandmother’s! The plate is one of my favorite things; I found it while passing through a small village in the South of France. An older gentleman had a little pottery shop set up in a cave. Yes, literally, a cave! Everything he made was so beautiful, and I scooped up this colorful plate. The silver piece in the back was my mum’s. She found it while living in England with my dad — they used to live in a tiny village in an old church. I think it is part of a tea set and is used for sugar.

Image above: I am very lucky that my studio is a short five minutes from where I live. The space has a huge window with a deep windowsill, where I lean a lot of the extra pieces of glass from past sculptures or pieces that are waiting to be used.

Image above: A lot of different kinds of work converge on this table. While my studio is mainly where I make my art, I do a lot of the Spencer Studio jobs here, as well. On the desk is a drawing for the new collection that will be in my Spencer Studio Etsy Shop. For the most part, this space is pretty organized; it helps me stay focused. I made color charts of all my paints, which helps me locate the exact one I need. Also on the wall hangs a piece I made a few years ago — it was kind of a breakthrough piece for me while in grad school, as it’s when my paintings started to become more sculptural. I like to keep it up as inspiration.

Image above: I lived in Paris for a year after undergrad. I was living out my Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina fantasy. It was a dream, and I really miss it. This doormat is just a little reminder of that time, and sometimes when I arrive home, for a moment, I feel like I am still there! I made the holly wreath over the holidays, and the bell was a gift from a friend when I moved back to LA from Paris. Ringing it brings protection to your home.

Image above: One of the things I love about LA is all of the hidden courtyards to be discovered. To get to my building, you have to walk up a set of stairs from the street, and you open the gate and all of a sudden you are in a secret garden! It’s just one of the many reasons I love my home.

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  • What a lovely and eclectic home. Vintage photos and family heirlooms are always the best decor! Thanks for another great sneak peek!

  • I love this! Lauren I love your work and your home. You’ve created such a loving, bright space housing gems and treasures, history and art. So great! Congratulations on such an awesome lifestyle you’ve created for yourself; it’s lovely.

  • Mrs Spencer King, what is your grandmother’s (last) name, please? For I would like to search for more works by her, or at least photographs thereof. That painting above the hiachi has me instantly intrigued and enarmored.
    And thank you for allowing the sneak peak in this personal treasure trove-apartment.

  • so very lovely and endearing. love all your so personal touches from family memories. your building and the home you’ve made are is to die for.

  • ahh, i love when a place is decorated with pure love. so very special and endearing. i also would love to see a gallery of your grandmother’s photos/work! she sounds like a truly amazing person.

  • I’d love to know who makes the white planters in the image with the I love my home drawing! Beautiful space. I have been smitten by LA courtyards since I saw Mulholland Drive.

  • This is one of the most impressive sneak peaks ever. I am totally transported. Even tho in the first and last paragraph it states that this home is in L.A. I quickly forget and think it is first in France, and then Italy. The things all have stories and are beautiful.
    Thank you so much for sharing this deeply personal and wonderful world!

  • design sponge is my favorite site, sneak peeks is my favorite feature of this site and THIS PEEK is my favorite one, ever. i can hardly wait for mondays to check them all out and here i am, back again on tuesday, to take anther look at this home (and i’ve already been to the lovely lauren spencer king’s blog!). gorgeous, personal, serene and what my home is constantly aimed at (style-wise). crystals, plants, photos, books, love and care.

  • Amazing. I absolutely love the combination of old and new, and I love the family history she puts everywhere… it’s so un-decoratory and full of meaning, like you said. Beautiful and inspiring!

  • I remember the day, I shot those photos of you and your mom. She was a dear and special friend. By the way, you took directions like a pro!


    and a HUGE thank you to all of you who have left such sweet comments.
    they have made my heart SING!

    to SPRINTZE & LYDIA, thank you for your kind words about my grandmothers paintings. she passed away before the internet was big, so nothing is on-line. i have been documenting them and archiving for a few years, and have posted a few on my blog, http://www.thesphinxandthemilkyway.com/2011/06/nana.html,
    and because people seem interested i think i will do a post with more of her work next week some time. so check in.

    to RITA – both planters can be found at Tortoise General Store in Venice. http://www.tortoisegeneralstore.com/

    to BOBBIE, saying that my home looks like it is in France or Italy is a huge complement! thank you… hopefully some day it will be!

    JOANIEO, i am sorry to say that i can’t help with the paint color… it was here when i moved in.

    and AHB , thanks for the comment about my home being “un-decoratory” really – you have no idea what a huge complement that is!

    and BARBARA MARTIN! thank you for commenting! it’s touching that you took those photos many moons ago. i love it.

    ALL of your comments have touched my heart.


  • so gorgeous! i love all the little crystals lying around, and its so light! lovely. i have a similar stair-to-courtyard scenario in my condo in vancouver! the outside looks totally sketchy.. then you go upstairs and its gorgeous!
    beautiful <3

  • Ooooh such style and grace and beauty. Really lovely. So dreamy… like being on vacation touring the essence of the art you have created from your family life, your travels and the essence of who you are. Kudos, love and so many continued blessings your way. : )

  • Lauren,
    Your home looks like beautiful you. It is perfect in every way. I loved every photo and am proud of our Kate who photographed it so lovingly. Thank you both.

  • Looooving this. Every single photo of your home is so beautiful and unique. I am truly inspired. Now going back to look again… :)

  • wow Lauren Spencer King, I absolutely adore those photos with your mum, and the one of your aunt. what inspiring and fashionable ladies. and those paintings by your grandmother seem to suggest another inspiring woman. no wonder you turned out so cool!

  • Gorgeous photographs Kate – and what a lovely home Lauren. WOW. You ARE Sabrina (post-make over). I love that!!!! You are both amazing.

  • definitely did a double-take on the color of that le creuset! at first i thought maybe the photo was highly processed — i can’t believe it’s real!
    also, this sneak peak is one of the most inspiring…

  • This is up there as one of my favourites so far. I feel so inspired! Lauren, you have a beautiful home!