Interiorssneak peeks

sneak peek: jared + sam of topsy design

by Amy Azzarito

I must admit, I was a little surprised when I realized this home was in the hip Los Angeles neighborhood of Silverlake. It feels so old South to me, or maybe just my fantasy of an old Southern home. Jared Frank and Sam Jacober of Topsy Design are stylists, interior designers and art directors. Together, they discovered a shared love of vintage that was both a budget-driven necessity and a style choice. That passion for vintage grew into a carefully curated online shop and a home that feels like a step back in time. Thanks to Juco Photo for the lovely photographs. Amy A.

Sam and I discovered the apartment when we came here for an estate sale. The former resident, talented fresco artist Lance Klemm, had painted the walls, ceilings and floors in a whimsical profusion of styles. The entryway recalls a dark opium den. The dining room (now the study) is a perverse trompe l’oeil journey through Mediterranean styles with genie lamps bumping up against Roman urns. In his day-to-day work, Lance must have been somewhat hemmed in by his client’s expectations, but in his own home, he clearly followed his muse. Lance decorated the apartment with furniture that was as heavy, fey and audacious as his style. Sam and I decided to strike a lighter balance between our interests in the utilitarian and the natural, and the space Lance left us.

Image above: We have a tendency to use antique objects in untraditional ways. For example, we used a gothic bookcase as a shoe rack, an old painter’s step ladder as a side table, a light-up globe as a lamp, a steel library cart catalog as an office storage unit, a toolbox as a jewelry case and a portable folding army field table in our kitchen nook. We lit the living room with some of our collection of old ship lanterns. The bedside lamp is from a dentist’s office. The chandelier in the living room is an old gramophone horn.

The rest of Jared + Sam’s sneak peek continues after the jump . . .

Image above: In the kitchen there’s a traditional folk pillow that says something rather untraditional: “O Lord, Give me a Bastard with Talent.” And in the living room, I have a turn-of-the-century Native American pillow that reads “End all your troubles in smoke.” It’s this untraditional traditionalism that excites us, finding bits of folk, outsider, utilitarian objects and furniture that can speak across the years. So instead of using antiques to create a period setting, we recontextualize them to create something new.

Image above: Sam is also a master at working with bits of nature. She collected an assortment of branches during our hikes in Southern California and nailed them to the wall with old copper nails. She draped flowers over the mantelpiece and let them dry. In the living room, you can see black dots climbing up the wall. Those are actually locust shells. Creepy, but beautiful.

Image above: My favorite thing about the house is the thoroughness of vintage decoration. For me, it’s not just about having a few key pieces sandwiched in with all the other ugly, normal aspects of life. It’s about having a vintage stapler that I actually use sitting on top of the vintage desk I work on. Or having a vintage toaster on top of the kitchen’s vintage utility shelving. It’s not any single object but the profusion of them that I think creates a space that is truly magical. The only new things in the entire house are the electronics, like the desktop I’m writing on. (Needless to say, it sits on a vintage desk.)

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  • Wow, this is sooooo beautiful and magical. Totally breathtaking; it’s my favourite house tour for ages.

  • Cool house. I appreciate the simplicity of the placement of things on the dresser and mantle. I can’t get into that elephant foot and think it should be on an elephant somewhere, not being used to “add” something to someone’s interior design.

  • this was a great peek. it was nice to get a look into a more vintage-y house – i feel like it’s been a while. but then again i’m biased…i love old things. :) thanks for sharing!

  • Wow, very impressive!! Such simple and inexpensive ideas–that porch is just fantastic. I’m saving that idea. I have a shoe problem, and I love the idea of using a great old bookcase!
    Awesome find, thank you so much for sharing!

  • Very simple and artful. The shoe storage idea is inventive. This is a great sneak peak.

  • I love this–so inspired–but would love to know more about the painted walls–did Sam paint them? Which rooms? So magical!

  • I find the old vacuum in the corner incredibly creepy. I don’t know why. It just does. Otherwise lovely home.

  • This is my kind of place. ♥ All eras jumbled merrily together, and complimenting one another in strange & bohemian ways…..love it! Like a Gypsy caravan, but more functional.

    Thanks for another great peak into someone’s very personal style.


  • this place is unbelievable. like something out of a period film. i’d feel like i was living in a movie! love it.

  • Wow! What a find in LA. It is definitely like living in a work of art or a period film. I would say it is definitely magical and fun haven. One of my favorites!

  • This has to be one of my favourite Sneak Peeks, I love the complete dedication to vintage. I’ve always thought the mixture of eras looks messy, but this house pulls it all together really well.
    I’m liking the lack of kitsch too.

  • A very creative couple living here. Something so mystical and magical, one almost expects to meet up with the fortune teller. It is as if you could waft through this unique interior that speaks volumes about the owner, all of which leads to a Tuscan style balcony to catch your breath. Awesome.

  • I am Lance ‘ssister. I believe I met you at my brother’s estate sale. I remember you told him you wanted to leave his work intact. And you did. He was an extremely talented artist. Thank you so much for posting these pictures. My brother would so happy. Beautiful

  • Vera. Amazing to hear from you. Always interested in learning more about Lance. Email me, jared AT topsydesign DOT com, if you ever have any stories to share. Best, Jared

  • I love the foyer, murals and floors.Most remarkable house I have seen in a long time.I woukd love to hear more on Lance Klemm too.