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A Modern Elysian Heights Home for Two Creatives

by Grace Bonney

There are few things more terrifying at home than a fire. For the first six months after we bought our house, I spent every hour away from it worried that something would spontaneously combust or slowly burn inside the walls. I knew a few families that lost their homes to fires growing up, and I still find myself checking and rechecking for heat near sockets on a regular basis. Casey Caplowe knows firsthand how devastating flames can be — but he managed to find a silver lining when his home was devastated by a fire in 2012.

Casey, who is the co-founder and CCO of GOOD Magazine, discovered and became smitten with a 1912 California Bungalow-style house in the Elysian Heights neighborhood (in the hills of Echo Park) back in 2010. “It feels a bit like a little mountain village, right on the edge of a huge park,” he says. The first house Casey saw during his search turned out to be “the one,” and he made an offer on the spot. Two years later, the house was devastated by a fire and Casey had to tear down the original structure, a heartbreaking prospect. But with a fresh start comes new possibilities, and in the end, Casey relished the bittersweet opportunity to create the dream home he’d imagined. So he put his undergrad architecture studies into action and decided to try the design process on his own.

A year and a half into the design, permits and construction, Casey met and fell in love with Ellen Bennett of Hedley & Bennett. And what initially began as Casey’s solo dream-architectural project turned into a meaningful collaboration between the two incredibly talented creatives. Ellen and Casey chose every element and detail in the house, from the floors and window trim to the colorful kitchen stove. The result is a bright, airy space with the energy and excitement you’d expect from two people who have made creativity and happiness their life’s work so far.

Casey and Ellen said they were going for a “modern Japanese/Scandinavian/Californian” sensibility, combined with “strong pops of color.” Their goal was to create something that would feel, “really warm and cozy, but still generally minimal and modern,” and I think the final product is just that — a happy space full of playfulness, warmth and love. Thanks so much to Ellen and Casey for sharing their home with us. xo, grace

Photography by Chloe Berk

SOURCE LIST

Living room
Couch – Room & Board
Green Eames fiberglass rocker- Modernica
1960s vintage leather chairs by Sergio Rodrigues
Marble coffee table – HD Buttercup
Vintage bowl with orange interior- Krenit Bowl
Bookshelf – modernica
Vintage Marantz receiver
Vintage acoustic research speakers
Photo by Joaquin Trujillo
Planter by Modernica

Dining room
Copenhague table by Hay
Vintage school chairs from Amsterdam Modern
Light by Brendan Ravenhill
Vintage life preserver from the Rose Bowl Flea Market
Wooden bar cart from Crate & Barrel
Green bowl by Heath Ceramics

Guest Room/Den/Office
Yellow chair from Modernica
Vintage school desk (purchase location unknown)

Kitchen
Yellow Bertazzoni range
Potholders by Hedley & Bennett
Yellow stool from IKEA
Vintage science classroom stools from Cleveland Arts
Yellow The Dots wall hooks by Muuto from A+R
Aprons by Hedley & Bennett
Nest thermostat
Blue tiles from Heath Ceramics’ Dwell series
Red trashcan – Rubbermaid Commercial Defenders Step Trash Can
Ex.T Fuse Lamps

Bedroom
Case study alpine bed by Modernica
Photo by Gray Malin
Vintage Caucasian kilim rug purchased at the Rose Bowl Flea Market
Vintage boomerang side table
Lamp from Target
Blue planter from Modernica
Yellow Biobu cup
Vintage end table from a flea market
New lamp (unknown)
Turquoise cup by Biobu purchased at Canoe in Portland
Credenza from BluDot
Vintage chair from Rose Bowl Flea Market
Octagon mirror – custom made
Yellow The Dots wall hooks by Muuto from A+R

1/19
Ellen and Casey love that their living room is a great mix of old and new pieces. "Some things I've owned forever," Casey says, "and some brand new. I also love how it's so full of light. On a nice day we can pull open the big, 3-panel sliding door and the inside and outside all come together."
2/19
Ellen and Casey at home in the Elysian Heights neighborhood of Echo Park, California.
3/19
Ellen and Casey embrace color in their furniture and accessories. A bright turquoise lampshade joins orange, pink and yellow pillows and throws in the living room.
4/19
"I always love a nicely displayed collection of random things, and this spot in the house is a perfect jumble," Ellen says. "From books to rocks picked up from around the world, I don't really know how I get this stuff, but I seem to. And little kids always find something fun here to play with."
5/19
Casey and Ellen don't have TV at home, so they love listening to music through these speakers by their stairs.
6/19
Of the living room's natural light, Casey and Ellen say, "We're always amazed how the morning light cuts into the house through these corner windows. The way the light shifts and changes in the living room through the day makes it feel like a really dynamic space."
7/19
To create a flexible living space, Casey and Ellen installed two extra-large sliding barn doors to enclose the guest bedroom from the dining room and kitchen. "I was playing with a lot of different paint colors and options for these on Photoshop," Casey says, "and somewhere along the way the two-toned orange diagonal just emerged and seemed like way too much fun not to do."
8/19
"We bought this life preserver at the Rose Bowl Flea Market ages ago and never knew what to do with it," Casey and Ellen share. "It kicked around in the basement for a while, and then we hung it here, thinking it would be a temporary thing, but it's stuck around for months."
9/19
The guest bedroom is most frequently used as Casey and Ellen's study and den. "While most of the house feels big and airy, this can be a cozy little nook to get some work done."
10/19
"Inevitably, like in everyone's house, the kitchen seems to be where all the action is," Casey says. "We love what a fun and playful space it is - to cook, to eat, to hang out. We really wanted poured concrete counters, but it proved really hard to find someone who would or could install them. At the 11th hour we found this amazing grey limestone. It definitely shows some wear and tear, but we love the warmth it brings to the space."
11/19
"We were appliance shopping way before the house was done and planning on getting a regular stainless steel range," Casey says. "Then [we] saw this amazing, Ferrari-yellow one and knew we were screwed, we'd have to get it. This was the first of the many colorful moves to follow."
12/19
Two of Ellen's Hedley & Bennett aprons, ready for business.
13/19
This nook is right beside the door as you enter the house. "It's a fun mix of stuff," Casey says, "but I'm not sure if we really know what to do with this space quite yet."
14/19
Ellen and Casey's master bedroom upstairs is a calm but playful space. It's filled with south and west light, so it feels airy and has a huge sliding door that opens to the upper patio.
15/19
Colored pencils and wooden cube-bot add small bits of color to the bedroom.
16/19
A ceramic lamp and colorful books and flowers pop against the bedroom's rich blue walls.
17/19
"Throughout the house we did this flush trim on all the windows in white oak," Casey says. "I love the look of natural wood on white. It gives such a warmth to the space, that could otherwise feel more cold and harshly modern."
18/19
Ellen's "explosion of hats" is tucked behind the bedroom door.
19/19
A floor plan of Casey and Ellen's house.

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Comments

  • The master bedroom has such a fresh, yet relaxing vibe! What is the blue paint color on the walls?

  • Casey and Ellen,
    What a wonderful space! I loved reading the comments next to each photo, learning about your thoughtful design decisions.
    Chloe did a great job capturing your home.

  • The fire thing is huge – we heat our house and workshop with wood [we live on a farm with a wood lot]. Until recently my husband spent occassional nights leaping out of bed to check the soapstone woodstoves; one night he woke up, turned to me and said, ‘i’m getting those fancy Nest fire detectors’, and that next morning – out he went! So now he checks his phone to see if our house is burning.

    Very inspiring to see this house, and the drawing; I’m contemplating turning one of our farm buildings into another house, and I love the way this house uses it’s perimeters so effectively.

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