Interiorssneak peeks

Sneak Peek: Derek James and Kristin Korven

by Amy Azzarito

When Derek James moved from Chicago to Los Angeles to be closer to his band, The Entrance Band, he rented space in this Laurel Canyon home. The house was home to an ever-rotating group of roommates, who all bonded over music. Finally, Derek was the one who had been in residence longest (he’s bunked in nearly every room of the house), so when there was a gap between roommates, he and Kristin Korven decided to make it more of a family home. Kristin is a freelance designer who has worked with a number of firms, including two Design*Sponge favorites, Kelly Wearstler and Commune Design, before deciding to go out on her own. The couple embarked on a slew of renovations to really make the space theirs and to create their perfect cozy cabin right in the middle of Los Angeles. It became even more of a family home when, just five days ago, Kristin gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. Congratulations, Kristin and Derek! Thanks to Nancy Neil for the lovely photos. — Amy Azzarito

(Note: If you like the look of the home, Kristin & Derek rent out the space for film and photo shoots. You can reach Derek at sirwheeler at hotmail dot com)

Image above: The chandelier is the most prominent fixture in the main room of the house. It literally belongs to the house and has been here for approximately 50 years. [It’s] made from wrought iron, very heavy crystals and beading, and the candelabra sleeves are the original wax-drip style. The redwood slab coffee table was a Craigslist find that was purchased from an old hippy couple living in Big Bear.

Image above: This room had been our office/atrium . . . but we recently converted it to the nursery. The wooden plant hanger was found at an amazing vintage shop in Joshua Tree (that mysteriously vanished sometime in 2007). I have a pretty vast collection of macrame and handmade plant hangers. I seem to only find them at garage sales/estate sales.

See more of this Laurel Canyon home after the jump . . .

Image above: The kitchen is great and pretty functional considering the appliances are from the ’60s. We didn’t make any updates to the kitchen except for a fresh coat of paint and new cabinet knobs (from Schoolhouse Electric). I wish I knew what the kitchen looked like when the home was first built in 1946. My best guess is that the kitchen’s current incarnation was a remodel in the ’60s.

Image above: The paint throughout our home is Benjamin Moore “Navajo” white (so basic!), but our favorite paint is the blue we chose for the Dutch door in our kitchen, Benjamin Moore “Bermuda Blue.”

Image above: Derek found the 1969 Rock-Ola jukebox on eBay while living in Chicago and relocated it all the way to Los Angeles. It plays like a champ and features a handpicked selection of 45s from our collection. The map above the credenza is a geological map of California that was issued by the State Mining Bureau in 1916. It was found at an estate sale in the neighborhood.

Image above: The handwoven Peruvian rug, likely from the ’70s, was found at an estate sale in Laurel Canyon. The bentwood chairs were found on Craigslist and flea markets in LA.

Image above: The bentwood rocking chair was a thrift store find in Los Angeles. The suitcase turntable is a Motorola from the 1950s that was found at an antique store in Chicago. We have at least four functioning turntables throughout the house.

Image above: Derek and Kristin drew up plans for this custom wall of shelving to accommodate their extensive collection of books and records. Derek built the shelving and ladder system himself.

Image above: The textile on the baby bed is my favorite from my stash. It’s a Victorian tablecloth, found at the Rosebowl Flea Market.

Image above: Almost all of my jewelry has been purchased from flea markets or antique malls, though my most treasured pieces are handmade by my friends at Dream Collective and Onward Into the Future.

Image above: The antique dresser and bed set were practically given away to us at a Laurel Canyon estate sale.

Image above: The textile hanging above the crib is an old Guatemalan weaving that I found at a flea market in LA. It’s tucked into a driftwood rope ladder that I made of pieces I had collected at the beach.

Image above: All of our baby shoes were gifts from friends! The little powder blue moccasins are made by Beatrice Valenzuela. Her kids’ shoes are about as cute as it gets.

Image above: The loft space above the shelving in the main room is truly a little hideout. This space is accessed from the rolling library ladder.

Image above: Our house is one of two properties on our street that are considered Wildlife Corridor by the city of Los Angeles. That means we have no fencing around our lot, and the wildlife (such as deer and coyote) can use our land as a thoroughfare to travel through the canyon. We have a great deck at the front of the house that overlooks a dense cluster of trees, while the backyard is an overgrown hillside, wild with cacti, jade and eucalyptus trees. We can literally hike into the canyon from the rear of our house.

Image above: Our house is a complete architectural hodgepodge. It has the inclination of an A-Frame with its tall, pitched roof, but it’s really just a handmade cabin. There were additions to the house, such as the master bedroom, that were probably done in the ’70s. Each room has its own architectural character that isn’t really definable to a period or style . . . but the house as a whole feels cohesive and intentional.

Suggested For You


  • What an inspired and unique home.. my favorite sneak peek ever! Everything about it is so warm and intensely personal. The windows, the idea of the fence-free location, the vintage textiles, the cloistered loft-room… just amazing. I especially love that your home feels like a true sanctuary, utterly unpretentious – an homage to the things you love. What a great home for your little one to grow up in!

  • Yep, I think this is my favorite sneak peak ever. While I’m usually drawn to the bright modern houses there is something so amazing about this place. I wish I could hire those two to come over to my apartment and makeover everything!

  • This apartment is amazing!!! I love it!! I would love to live somewhere similar someday. It’s just how I would like to decorate an apartment when I move out. It has the perfect mixture of old-fashion with artsy musician which is exactly what I like! If I decorated my house similarly, I would probably put a bit more of a feminine touch but it is perfect for the circumstances. It looks like the perfect little place to live

  • Wow! This home is incredible! I can hardly believe it’s in LA! Looks like a cozy home in the woods, perhaps in Portland area or in an english village…. so beautiful and with so much green and nature things! Congratulations for the baby and for your lovely cozy home.

  • Uhm, wow. Everything about this home is absolutely inspiring and nostalgic in amazing ways. I wanna be a little kid and run around this place in PJ’s! Thank you so much for sharing this.

  • I seriously don’t think I’ve seen so much beauty in one place before!! You guys have the perfect taste for decor…I absolutely love your style!! Congrats on the feature!

  • I love this. Feels like an album cover from the 70’s- warm, worn, and comfortable. My favorite sneak peak so far.

  • What a rad home. My absolute favorite sneak peek too. The windows and textiles are to die for.

  • I must say that home is not what I imagine when I think about a LA home. It’s so cozy and rustic! What a place! I almost can breath deeply and feel the fresh green air…

  • I agree with Lyndsay. It’s so beautiful and bohemian. I love the images of the backyard/deck. Dreamy!

  • I’m having some serious house envy right now! I love the interiors too. This place is amazing!

  • I love it that even though this home is not “my style” per se, I would love to live in it just because of the warmth it radiates! Beautifully done. Love all the handmade touches.

    The variety in the home tours today is great!

  • Love, love, love this. I love all the houses tucked up in the hills of Los Angeles that look different from one to the next, and the ways the owners interpret the style and use the spaces.

  • This place is amazing. Please interview Kristen so we can know more about her fabulous style! This is one of the best places I have seen in years.

  • I have found my sister home – obviously a little more well done but from acerage in Redland Bay, Queensland Australia I didn’t think I’d ever see something as close over in LA. Never been, best I go. Thank you for sharing your very loved home.

  • When my roommate, Kristen and I were considering getting a place together in about 2006 – above all else, Kristen held living in a ‘special’ place at the top of the requirement list. At the top of ours was ‘reasonably priced’ so we couldn’t find the perfect place & didn’t end up rooming together. I always remember how cool I thought it was that Kristen wouldn’t settle for less than special. It really was a testament to her commitment to being true to herself & her craft and I am not the least bit surprised that every inch of her home is so beautiful and incredibly special.

  • You live in a treehouse! Congratulations on the baby–what a fabulously warm and welcoming place to rear your family. Between the books, music, and outdoor space, your little guy will have a lot of exploring to do.

  • Stunning, I am just so amazed at this home. Lovely. Gorgeous. [Insert-superlative-here]. And the photography is excellent as well.

  • I love this place – everywhere you look there’s something amazing and interesting. What a home!

  • i love this home, reminds me of the home of michael caine’s character in Cuaron’s Children of God, a sort of hippie who has retired from the corporate life.

  • i’m a huge fan of eclecticism and your home truly hits all the right notes in that department. you’ve curated a gorgeous space that’s at once elegant and comfortable. love, love, love it!

  • I love this home! Such a comfortable, unique, woodsy and textured vibe. It feels like a true escape. Some really great pieces throughout (especially love the hanging planters and screen to the right of the dresser.) Thanks for sharing!

  • I LOVE this place. It’s the dream home I never knew I wanted. It evokes nostalgic memories of flipping through the funky 70s pages of the Terence Conran’s ‘The House Book’ as a little girl.

  • I love your use of textiles. I have a collection from my travels sitting in a cabinet because I don’t know how to display/use them…now I have some ideas!

  • Your home is as warm and energetic and creative as your music! (Any one who enjoyed this house tour must give The Entrance Band a listen.) I love the mix of antique/vintage and hand-made items throughout. And your book/music wall is enormously FANTASTIC!

  • What a fabulous hideaway place!! I love the eclectic array of furniture that you’ve used to decorate the house!

  • So deliriously dreamy — every textured, nuanced choice. Thanks for letting us slip inside the magic you’ve created.

  • I love love love love love this space. It’s like it came right out of my own head.

  • What a beautiful, warm and well laid out space. I think my favourite part it the bookcase, it’s huge and definitely fits with the room!

    • Hi Jef – I’m not sure. That feature is five years old so it might have been from the days when other people were living in the house? – Amy

  • Good eye, Jef! That’s totally the same house! Different girl, same guy. Same jukebox and chandelier in the living room. Looks MUCH cleaner and cooler now though. This is my absolute favorite house tour ever!

  • different girl and different guy, I recognized the hearth immediately, this is also my dream home…some amazing additional shots of the exterior on the Selby page

  • Hey everyone. The Selby feature was with my good friends (and old roommates) Guy Blakeslee and Maximilla Lucacs. They lived in this house first and then I moved in with them upon moving to LA from Chicago. At the time of the Selby shoot, i was living in “The Shack” in the back yard, which unfortunately isn’t featured in this piece. The house was really their home at the time and that’s why i’m not pictured (though my jukebox is!). It wasn’t until they both decided to move out that i started doing some of the more serious renovations on the place and as a result, the house is quite different now in many ways. For any other questions about the house and it’s history, email me at sirwheeler@hotmail.com. We also have website up now. The URL is fromlookoutmountain-HQ.tumblr.com. In other news, our guest-wing of the house is going to be available via Air B & B within the next month. So for those interested in coming and staying for a few nights, check in with our tumblr site for more details soon. Thanks for all of the sweet comments! ~ Derek James

  • I’ve never thought or said this about any other sneak peek, but this really is my dream home. Wildlife corridor?! You have got to be kidding me!
    My heart aches just looking at the photos.