It makes sense that a couple with so many artistic endeavors would live in a space as creative and always-evolving as they are. Today we’re taking an
updated peek inside the colorful Atwater Village, Los Angeles home of Caroline and Jayden Lee. Not only is this talented twosome well known for their photography, they also work in illustration, design, music and film composition, podcasting (as of this week!), rug importing, and are photo studio co-owners and print shop owners. Caroline and Jayden shared a peek inside the same rental home three years ago, and since then the space has gotten a total overhaul — thanks to some help from friends and a diverse mix of influences like India Mahdavi, the Happy Room for Fendi by Cristina Celestino, and a “general love of all things 80s.”
After 13 years together (five of those in Los Angeles), Caroline and Jayden have found a way to combine and honor each other’s unique styles. But expressing those styles in a
rental isn’t always an easy task. So they found clever ways to work around those restrictions (like wallpaper hung with double-sided tape) and create a space that reflects their current design obsessions.
Caroline explains, “We don’t have kids or pets, so this is a season of life where we can get weird and not have to be practical, so we really let ourselves go and have fun with this design.” With some help from their friend Jess of
Taylor & Taylor (who acted as a filter for almost every idea Caroline and Jayden came up with), this creative couple feels so grateful to have a beautiful — updated — space to call home. “It might sound very basic, but to have a home with running water and electricity in an incredible city like Los Angeles is all we could ever dream of,” Caroline shares. “We do a lot of [work] for amazing nonprofits in other parts of the world. This year, we went to the Democratic Republic of Congo for the second time with Justice Rising and when we come home, we’re always overwhelmed with how lucky we are to have resources that make our life so privileged. There isn’t another word for it. The only thing to do is stay grounded in gratitude.” — Grace
Photography by Jeff Mindell
Caroline and Jayden Lee have a hand in just about every part of the creative community. In addition to their work as photographers, they also
import carpets and are launching a podcast called Out of Line. Caroline also works as a producer and Jayden as a composer. They are also the co-owners of light lab, a photography studio in their Atwater Village neighborhood. (The gem wall hooks behind them are made by Kip&Co.)
The living room’s style inspiration comes from Caroline and Jayden’s love of
color, India Mahdavi and Milo Baughman. “We wanted to bring back the 80s: chrome, color-blocking, intense draperies, and create a ‘minimalist maximalist’ setting,” Caroline explains. “I think we have over 80 yards of velvet in our living room + dining room, and yet, our styling elements are quite basic.”
The living room’s funky green sofa (Verellen’s “Emile” sofa) is part of the couple’s desire to focus on chunky, low-to-the-ground furniture. “How low can you go?” jokes Caroline.
Jayden and Caroline designed the shapes of these mirror pieces and had a local mirror shop cut them out of bronze mirror. "The tinted mirror brings an extra pop of color and mood in our 80s music producer den of glory," Caroline says.
The living room's Milo Baughman credenza was one of the harder finds. "This specific piece was in our original pull photos for inspiration," Caroline says. "I got a bit attached to finding one. It became a weekly scour of Craigslist and flea markets, and finally, I found one that wasn’t going to break the bank! Burl wood for days."
Jayden’s brother, Adam Lee, is an Australian artist whose work is sought after at sold-out exhibitions across the globe. "We were speechless when Adam came to LA and brought this piece he’d made for us," Caroline shares. "We originally had it at Light Lab, but the more traffic the space got, the more we felt like it was a bit too special to keep in an event space, so this was a major cornerstone piece in our home makeover." The room's large custom rug was made by Alex of Studio Proba, who worked with Caroline and Jayden to fit their palette and specific sizing needs.
Caroline and Jayden wanted something simple to complement Adam's large-scale painting on the room's other wall when Caroline suggested, “What about a neon sign?!” Jayden drew a few different options and then worked with Brite Lite Tribe to make it out of "new neon," which is energy efficient and doesn’t use earth-harming gases.
Caroline and Jayden's India Mahdavi obsession expressed itself the most in the form of unexpected color-blocking in the living room. These Brooks chairs from Verellen are covered in JF x Crypton velvet. The Crypton treatment means the velvet will be easy to clean and high-traffic friendly, so it gave the couple the confidence to choose a light chartreuse color.
These Z-back dining chairs inspired the home's entire makeover. Caroline found them tossed by a warehouse space near Light Lab and had them recovered in JF Fabrics x Crypton velvet. She then worked with a local marble company to design the custom dining room table. "The space is super small, so we wanted to try a round table," she explains. "But we wanted to get a bit more 80s than most of the tulip tables could offer us. Sevak of Noy Enterprises was rad to work with in designing our strange little beauty, and we chose a quartz slab that has shards of lavender through it, so it looks especially stunning in the morning light."
The dining room's chandelier is a vintage Robert Sonneman that Caroline found. She was "super happy" to find something with mixed metals, since their home uses bronze, brass and chrome.
Caroline has always been madly in love with her friend Elsie Larson’s Insta-famous rainbow wall of colored glass goblets, so this is her gentle nod to her love for her friend and the couple's shared love of color. These were all found on Etsy and Caroline and Jayden love the colors they landed on! "The color blocking continues!"
Caroline and Jayden describe their kitchen as "small but mighty." "We spend a lot of time in it and we’re thinking about asking our landlord if she’d be okay with us renovating it. That might be our next Design*Sponge reveal next year… stay tuned."
The kitchen gets plenty of bright sunlight.
Since Caroline and Jayden's home only has two bedrooms, and because they often work from home, the second bedroom acts as a studio space, filled with recording gear and instruments. "We make sure to keep it easy to tear down so that we can transform the room into a guest room when we have visitors," Caroline says.
Since they're in a rental, the idea of wallpapering an entire room didn’t sound like a good plan. But Caroline and Jayden loved the "pop" and vibrant bit of fun that the flamingos bring, so Jayden wallpapered one feature wall and used double sided tape to hang it. "We’re ‘hoping’ it’ll be easy to remove when we leave," Caroline says. The zebra planter was a birthday gift to Caroline from Jayden’s mom.
Caroline and Jayden's home only has one bathroom that isn't super roomy, but they love using color in spaces like this that may not normally get a lot of love.
This vintage dresser (picked up at a flea market in Long Beach, CA) sits in one of the tiny nooks in the hallway and is shared by Caroline and Jayden.
Caroline and Jayden redid their bedroom last year with friend and business partner, Anne Sage, and they love the final result. “It feels intimate, yet quirky… like we are walking back into the 70s every time we head to bed,” Caroline says. Caroline shot the photo that hangs over the bed, which turned into opening a
print shop because other people wanted it, too!
Caroline snagged this chair for free off of Craigslist, and recovered it in rust-colored fabric. "Possibly the most magical color pairing on the planet is blush and rust, and if we didn’t already have a bedroom covered in these tones, we would have made them our living room, too. No more white walls!" she declares.
A close-up of the main bedroom’s blush colored walls.
Guest room/studio room (flamingo room):
Pink flamingo wallpaper from Wallpaper Direct
Painting by Adam Lee
Mirror from a West Elm x Commune collab
Polkadot sheets from Brooklinen
Side table from Target
Zebra planter from Anthropologie
Drapes made from JF Fabrics x Crypton velvet
Bronze mirror custom design by Caroline + Jayden
Sofa – Emile silhouette by Verellen, covered in JF Fabrics x Crypton velvet
Chairs – Brooks silhouette by Verellen, covered in JF Fabrics x Crypton velvet
Coffee table – vintage Milo Baughman, sourced by Jason Tauritz of American Garage
Rug – custom collab between Studio Proba x Caroline
Plant design – Danae of Folia Collective
Neon sign – custom design drawn by Jayden and made by Brite Lite Tribe
Wall + ceiling color – Creole Moon by Portola Paints
Painting – Adam Lee
Gem Wall Hooks – Kip&Co
Amethyst side table – Chairish
Plant hanger – Tribe Alive
Faux fur pillows – World Market
Quartz dining table – custom design fabricated by Noy Enterprises
Vintage Pierre Cardin Style Z-back chairs found + recovered with JFFabrics x Crypton velvet
Vintage Robert Sonneman chandelier
Colored glass goblets purchased on Etsy
Framed piece by Mercedes Helnwein
Shower curtain by Quiet Town
Caroline + Jayden’s bedroom
Rug – Coco Carpets
Bedspread – custom koala design by Jayden
Side tables – Target
Framed photo – by Caroline, available on her print shop TeamWoodnote.com
Paint – Sherwin Williams Romance (walls), Olympic Sweet Spiceberry (ceiling)
Pillows – BoConcept
Chair – Craiglist find (free!) and recovered in rust velvet
Drapes – made by Caroline out of Rebecca Atwood’s Marbled Stripe Fabric in Blush
Three postcard prints by Stephanie Vovas