Creating Memories at Home in Los Angeles

Design Sponge Sneak Peek
The three years that Simone Le Blanc and Ross Jacobson have lived in this Los Angeles home have already been filled with pretty special memories – like when Ross proposed to Simone at a friend’s art gallery and then the couple drove home for a “simple” dinner and Simone discovered that Ross had invited 50 of their closest friends and family to celebrate with them. And now, they’re expecting to create even more memories as the two-adult family is about to increase in size – they’re expecting a baby girl. Simone runs a boutique gifting studio for private clients (What is that, you might ask? Basically she helps people come up with the perfect gift ideas – which often involves customized, in-depth projects such as making books about a client’s family history or collaborating with a jewelry designer to create an heirloom collection for a large family) and has just expanded to include an online shop of ultra elegant gift boxes. On weekends, you can find Simone heading up the canyon right behind their house with her two dogs for an early morning hike. After that, she loves to head to the studio for some creative thinking that a busy, email-filled week often makes impossible. Then it’s time for relaxing in the house, creating even more memories as their family grows.  -Amy

Photography by Nancy Neil

Image above: “We spend a lot of time in the dining room with friends gathered around the table, and wanted to create a balance of considered and casual. I love that everything still has an earthiness to it and we have many textures and materials happening but it somehow still feels refined. The dining chairs are Moller and we’ve been purchasing them in pairs, collecting them through the past few years. The art piece was a gift for Ross’ 40th birthday. It’s a fictitious battle scene painted on cowhide by Frohawk Two Feathers.”

Design Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: “Our pillows are made of antique Moroccan fabrics backed with linen. The painting is from Kyle Field – it feels like a somewhat kaleidoscopic fairy tale. You can see every mark he has made to bring the piece to life.”

Design Sponge Sneak Peek


See more of Simone’s LA home and studio after the jump!

Design Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: “Our home really is a combination of the two of us and our evolving lives. We have pieces that Ross has picked up from furniture hunts in faraway lands, vintage chairs that I’ve found fabric for and reupholstered, art from family and friends and items that we’ve found together on trips or weekend excursions. Somehow it all seems to tie together. That’s the approach that we take – if we both love it, we will find a way to make it all come together.”

Design Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: “The record player is a 1950s Zenith Cobra-Matic and was a Christmas gift from Ross. My Grandfather used to sell these door-to-door in the 1950s and Ross tracked one down and worked with the owner to have it restored. He gifted it to me with some holiday records that we play every year.”

Design Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: “We really wanted the kitchen to be the heart of the home and we designed it with that in mind. The island is long enough that friends can drape around it while we cook. We found the back splash tile on a trip to Mexico at a phenomenal price. Because of the mild LA weather, we really take advantage of the indoor/outdoor living element here. We open the doors and double the space we have. The floors are a wide-plank oak that we distressed. We spent a lot of time getting the color where we wanted it to be. We knew we would be in this home for years, so we really focused on how we could live in it now and grow into it – with kids, family and friends for years to come. When I stand here in the early morning and it’s still, quiet and calm, I really feel blessed to be in this home.”

Design Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: “This molcajete was a wedding gift and I use it constantly. I’m a fan of hand tools in the kitchen – the slower and more archaic the better for me. Stone grinding herbs and spices pleases me to no end. The basket holds my ever growing collection of kitchen linens. Good kitchen linens make great gifts and sometimes those gifts might be for me! This counter is a favorite moment in the kitchen as it’s fully functional but is also a home for objects that are pleasing to the eye: natural textures, patterned book spines and art from our family.”

Design Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: “I love a good vignette and am constantly reworking areas of the house with what feels right for our needs, my mood, the weather, the foliage of the season, etc. For the kitchen, everything needs to be functional and not too precious. Ross loves the freshly cracked walnuts and I love a rotation of local honey.”

Design Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: “I fell in love with this photo from Danielle Nelson Mourning the moment I saw it. I walked away and spent a few weeks thinking about it. It’s a self portrait of her in her grandmother’s home, wearing her grandmother’s clothing. Everything about it spoke to me. I love that it lives in the kitchen – it adds sunshine to the room in an unexpected way. We stained the kitchen table ourselves and had the chairs reupholstered. Initially, I wasn’t convinced on the white material for the kitchen being the most functional, but it’s grown on me and adds even more brightness to the room.”

Design Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: “Ross found this piece at a gallery he loves in Los Angeles. It’s painted on the inside of an old book cover and fits right in with his sense of humor and love of illustrated characters.” Painting: Gary Taxali from The Corey Helford Gallery

Design Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: “This is our beloved little rescue dog, Higgins. He was very abused and as a result is very shy and timid but coming out of his shell more and more each day. His lashes and his little ballet legs just make me melt.”

Design Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: “We added this pocket door when we moved in to connect the living room and dining room and create an integrated flow. Our house is a craftsman from 1912 that had been revamped a few times over the years. After so many renovations it just didn’t make much sense for flow and function. Our goal was to open, integrate and brighten the space. The rug was a wedding gift from my pal Joanna Williams of Kneeland Co. Mercado.”

Design Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: “We love our dining table and searched high and low for the right piece. We wanted something grand enough to gather around for the holidays, but functional and not regal or precious in any way. It has two levels of extenders so we can fit many friends around it. It’s also very narrow, something I imagine is because of the standard proportions for the era it was designed in – the 1920s.”

Design Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: “Ross loves this shade of blue – he says it makes him feel like he’s on vacation. The teapot as well as the pitcher in the background were finds on a trip we took to Guanajuato, Mexico where we visited a taller de artesanía and found some amazing ceramics. I love a good teapot and the design on this one felt current and not common. Ross fell in love with the jug in the background and I snuck out of our hotel one morning and secretly purchased it. I hid it in my suitcase and carried it home as a surprise for his birthday a few months later.”

Design Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: “That’s me, in the hallway that leads from the living room to the backyard. Everything is light and the flow is great in this home. I love the idea of having room to do my own thing, but where I can still hear conversations and activity throughout the house – so we can be connected or off on our own.”

Design Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: “We’ve been building our collection from the artist Frohawk Two Feathers. His work is phenomenal. This is a portrait from a series he created of a fictitious culture and their history, complete with battle scenes, generals and all of the key players in his invented world. Ross found the bench on eBay – he loves a good late-night bidding war.”

Design Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: “This is the front door. We love how the light shines in. It’s the original door, from 1912.”

Design Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: “This is one of my favorite spots to be. We just completely renovated the studio. It’s attached to the house, but sits far away from everything else, so it really is my creative sanctuary. I broke out the ceiling and raised it, added the ribbon windows on the left and the wall of windows on the right. I wanted everything to be about natural light all day long. There are windows from East to West, so the room is constantly illuminated. I also wanted it to feel like you were outdoors when in the room, hence the entire wall of open windows.

The wood paneling and the floors are original from when the house was built in 1912. We sanded, stained and painted to lighten and brighten everything up. My goal was to create a light and clean environment where creativity and production can flow. Holiday season is the busiest for my business, so I use a warehouse for volume production, which means this spot gets to stay as my design and small-scale production studio.”

Design Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: “I love this corner. I finally found a great solution for some of my current wrapping papers. Believe me, this selection is always evolving. I purchased the chairs (there are two) on a weekend getaway in Palm Springs and they are a favorite. If you find me in the studio, I’ll be in an apron. Gifting can get crafty and therefore messy… in the best way. As you can see, I’m always drying foliage. I forage from the neighborhood, dry flowers from the flower mart, etc. I often incorporate natural elements into my gift packaging.”

Design Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: “These are some of my gift boxes. I put these together for a client to be delivered locally so I decided to include fresh flowers. A fun touch for spring and summer.”

Design Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: “I purchased this piece about 10 years ago at a flea market. It must have had about five different coats of paint. It’s so versatile and has been everything from a case for the pantry to a display case for my paintings. It’s such a useful piece for the studio these days.”

Design Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: “For some of our gift boxes, we make custom leather tags. These are a few of my current favorites. Trust me, these tags just keep getting better with age.”

Design Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: “These are the tags that we use to tie on gifts – I love how special these finishing touches feel. I work with a local leather worker and embosser to fabricate them. Different foil colors work for different gifts, so I always make sure to have a selection on hand.”

Design Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: “That’s me, making floral gift finishings in the studio. I love being in that spot, creating.”

Source List

Dining Room
Paint: Farrow & Ball Porphyry Pink no. 49, estate emulsion
Dining table: 1920s California Spanish antique from One Kings Lane (Diane Keaton Sale)
Chairs: Vintage Moller from Denmark 50 
Brass dishes: Tom Dixon from Garde 
Artwork: Frohawk Two Feathers
Woven bowl: Antique Panamanian bowl from De Vera Objects 
Light: Lawson Fenning
Candlestick: Vintage from Nickey Kehoe
Rug: HD Buttercup

Living Room
Couch: Room & Board
Pillows: Morrocan Antique
Coffee table: The Knot, by McGuire Furniture Company
Drawing: Kyle Field
Painting: 1960s antique, from Ross’ Grandparents
Brass circle sculptures: antique, a wedding gift
Brass bowl: Tom Dixon from Garde
Fireplace screen: from Mosaik
Woven stool: Franco Albini, from a London antique shop
Leather pouf: Midcentury, from a London antique shop
Rocking chair: Adrian Pearsall Antique store in France
Yellow sitting chair: Vintage, we upholstered ourselves
Rug: Lawrence of La Brea
Record player: 1950s Zenith Cobramatic from a vintage dealer on Etsy

Kitchen
Paint: Farrow & Ball Pavilion Grey, estate emulsion
Vases: Heath, antiques
Ceramic tea carrier: Heath Ceramics
Molcajete: Williams Sonoma
Linens basket: Dosa
Etching: an antique, from Ross’ grandparents
Serving board: Europe 2 You
Nutcracker: Danish antique, from an estate sale
Bowl: from Materia Lumina
Trivet: Brass, Japanese from Lekker Home 

Dining Room
Photo: Danielle Nelson Mourning
Table and chairs: We reupholstered and stained them. Originally purchased at Amsterdam Modern

Studio
Table, shelf, wrapping paper rack: I designed, made custom
Leather chair: from a vintage store in Palm Springs
Apron: Fog Linen Work
Lights: Barn Lighting Electric 
Chipboard boxes and canvas containers: The Container Store
Basket: Swahili American Modern 
Gift boxes: my shop, Simone LeBlanc
Vintage shelving piece: Paint: Farrow & Ball Pavilion Grey, estate emulsion
Leather tags: custom gift tags from my shop, Simone LeBlanc 

Stephanie

This is a lovely house but if boutique gifting can now be a career, may I propose a sneak peeker grammar coach? We could all use some gentle editing.

Katie @ Red House West

Love it! I especially love the light, and that it’s filled with interesting things without being cluttered – a balance I’m always striving for in my own home. And those lashes and ballet feet are irresistible…

Grace Bonney

Stephanie

It’s not a grammar error, Simone runs a business where she finds the perfect gift for clients- and it’s a small boutique business.

Grace

Maria

Lovely home.
And little Higgins is beautiful, I’m so happy he found a loving home :)

Nina

I totally agree with Katie, that balance of showing pretty things yet not feeling cluttered is hard to come by. Simone pulled this off beautifully. She seems to have a few very precious, well thought out objects. Nothing is frivolous. I can’t imagine how she got that pitcher home from Mexico without her husband knowing. She must also be a great packer!

Rach

What a gorgeous space! And such a cool business and beautiful online shop. xx

Andrea Gutierrez

It’s so beautiful but I wish we could have seen her garden and patio too!

danette

Lovely, all of it and most especially the rescue of Higgins and Higgins’ cute lashes, soft eyes and sweet ballet feet!

claire m

great taste – this house has excellent bones! her gift baskets remind me or are “inspired by” Valleybrink Road – Barrett makes some of the most beautiful dreamy gift baskets.

kim

one of my favorites- that studio and little Higgins finished me off- LOVE!

Meg

I just love her logo…it’s geometric and sweet because it reminds me of a bow. I wonder what the inspiration was?
Also…her gift wrap is beautiful. Where is that from?

emily

that dining room glows! what a gorgeous paint color…perfect for the light in california.

M

The dog’s photo was so striking and I paused there. Then I read the caption – so sweet. Beautiful home, too.

Kerry

Flawlessly beautiful home, from the countertop vignettes to the exquisitely curated art juxtaposed with impeccably designed furniture. Higgins is a pure delight as are those enviable studio windows and the light flowing through the panes.

kathy

Is that Room and Boards Holden sofa? Do you mind sharing what fabric?

Pat R

More impressive than any one single item featured, is the presentation by Simone and Ross… So comfortable and tasteful. Good work.

Kate Sims

I’ve been digitally stalking* Simone for years and am always so inspired by her work and point of view. These photos are gorgeous and I love the way her love and dedication to her family, friends, and craft revealed itself in this photo commentary. So so pleased to see this shared here! <3

*In the most not creepy way possible. Promise.

Jen

Not to be nit picky, but those living room pillows are made of Hmong textiles, not Moroccan.

kymberly

Don’t like mauve wall color in dining room….and I don’t understand having two dining rooms.

dynamicshades

HDB windows could also be a preferred various for homeowners to manage the amount of daylight and star heat coming back into their homes.

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