Sneak Peek: Derek James and Kristin Korven

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.

  1. Mary-Rush says:

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

  2. Lilian says:

    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!

  3. This s the house of my drems! Have never seen anything like it! A home full of life and creativity. Thanks!

    1. Amy Azzarito says:

      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

  4. Megan says:

    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!

  5. kate says:

    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

  6. Derek James says:

    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 We also have website up now. The URL is 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

  7. Wendy says:

    The pot on the stove … for coffee/espresso? Never seen one like it. Love it.

  8. Ania says:

    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.

  9. leo says:

    s~~~~~~~~~~o nice~

  10. Sila says:

    Fabulous! One of the best posts on designsponge!

  11. Emmy says:

    Killer, killer house.


Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.