Interiorssneak peeks

sneak peek: lou mora and sarah yates

by Amy Azzarito

Photographers Lou Mora and Sarah Yates moved into this Los Angeles home with their two dogs, Ruca and Eleanor, just over a year ago. They’ve managed to create a little haven from the craziness of the city — at night they can even hear owls and coyotes. As photographers, their work takes them all over the world. Lou specializes in environmental portraits and lifestyle photography, while Sarah is a wedding photographer and founder of the wedding photography collective Birds of a Feather. But when they’re home, they love to walk the dogs, cook and entertain (all of which, Sarah writes about on her home blog, A House in the Hills) so it was important that their house feel cozy, warm and welcoming. Thanks, Lou & Sarah! — Amy Azzarito

Image above: The artwork that hangs in our entryway is our most favorite — it’s a piece by our friend Kevin Appel. I’ll never forget the day we hung it on that black chalkboard wall; we were like two giddy school kids all hopped up on candy. That was a big day for us. The bench is a Rosebowl Flea Market find, and the ampersand was a gift from Aileen Cheng, the graphic designer I worked with on Birds of a Feather. (Paint: Rust-Oleum Latex Chalkboard Paint)

Image above: We love entertaining and having friends over for dinner. The table is reclaimed wood on metal legs, the yellow Eames chairs were an eBay steal and the metal wire chairs are from CB2. The Patrick Townsend chandelier is a favorite, and the boucherouite rug-turned-wall hanging cozied it up for us. (Paint: Rust-Oleum Latex Chalkboard Paint)

See more of Lou & Sarah’s Los Angeles home after the jump . . .

Image above: Sarah coveted this womb chair for years before she scooped one up used at a vintage store in San Diego. The most important thing to us in a living room is the cozy factor. And when the fireplace is going and there’s a movie on, there’s no place in the world that’s more comforting to us than this room.

Image above: This Sanna Annukka print was a surprise for Lou and found a perfect home above our fireplace.

Image above: Our living room features a wall of shelves that holds our TV, record player, books, magazines we can’t bear to recycle and a whole lot of other fun things. It’s one of the first things people notice when they come over; it gets a lot of compliments. I like that there’s a lot to look at when you’re sitting on the couch.

Image above: This is where I spend a good chunk of my days. I chose things that were bright and colorful to keep me going when the to-do list seems never-ending! The desks are from Pottery Barn, the rug was a sale find at Anthropologie, the giant framed print is Shepard Fairey and a gift from a client.

Image above: We found these old wine boxes at a reclaimed wood store in LA and Lou nailed them into the wall to create a shelving unit. It’s the focal point of his office and displays lots of his favorite things.

Image above: We wanted our bedroom to feel like a boutique hotel, so we painted the walls a gold chevron, saved our pennies for a Moroccan wedding blanket and kept the bedding all white. The piece on the wall is a beloved wedding gift from Kevin. Our dog Ruca has a great view outside to make sure that nothing suspect is happening. (Paint: Modern Masters Olympic Gold Metallic, water based)

Image above: Our hallway is the perfect napping spot for a pup who can’t decide which office she’d rather be sleeping in. We found these rugs on a recent trip to Austin. The painting, photographs, light and peacock are all vintage. The monkey hanging on the door is a memory from a trip to Sayulita, Mexico.

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  • I honestly love every.single.thing about this home. And I mean ‘everything’! The mid-century mod accents, the pops of colour, the beautifully styled bookshelves, the art….oh I could go on and on!
    I spotted those lovely yellow rain boots…I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect pair. Any chance you know the manufacturer? ;)

  • I am so smitten with this home, as a fellow photographer and mid century lover ist speaks..no SHOUTS to me!! Lovely home great find!

  • Love, love, love and LOVE! You two are such talented photographers and designers, I’m green with envy!!

  • I love the tall, cylindrical lamp in the living room. Can you tell me where it is from?? Thanks for the great sneak peek!

  • These are beautiful pictures…I love that their dogs are in them and such a big part of the family. The house is so adorable, not overdone with stuff…I love seeing all the personal items, it’s what makes a home a home!

  • thanks so much for the kind words everyone! the metal legs on the dining room table were made by the guy who made the table (don’t have that info). the pink ampersand was made by aileen cheng (there’s a link in the post), the tall lamp in the living room is vintage (the base is cork!)… i hope that answers all the questions!

  • I love the multi colored rug and the shelving unit made from wine boxes. (my sister and her husband has one almost like it made out of vintage wooden boxes) And the bedroom wall, I love it. I like how you’ve brought in elements of bright color into your home:)

  • Super wow! Love pretty much every square inch!

    I kind of had a suspicion that your names were familiar to me… and when I saw Ruca I knew for sure I had been on your blog. Ruca is the most expressive/pensive looking pup I have ever seen :) Love her!

  • i follow Sarah at her blog and I follow yours…and it is nice that twoof my favourites bloggers met! Thank you for sharing this lovely home!

  • I love that table! I’ve been looking for one it. I know she doesn’t have the info on it, but does anyone know where to begin looking for this kind of thing?

  • I love you Sarah. I need to find out about the reclaimed wine boxes and how you did the chevron paint because I am definitely steeling those from you. What A GREAT HOUSE and so filled with love. XOXO Reyna

  • this is my dream home and I have proof – look at my blog http://nunette.wordpress.com – I have blogged about the pink thonet chair, the knitted furniture, the shelves made of wine boxes, the Eames Rocker….. :) Funny, I have some of the furniture myself, but it is always interesting how different homes can look! and: love the dogs!!

  • Beautiful home? Wondering what the reclaimed wood shop was called in LA? Thanks!

  • I adore Sarah’s blog and have a major girl crush on her (and a pet-crush on the 2 most adorable doggies ever!) But this house is mind-blowing. I want to spend every day hanging out in that amazing living room!

  • Love your place! Please tell me the name of the store in LA where you found those crates… I am looking for reclaimed wood for a project and don’t know where to go…I’m in LA as well. Thank You!

  • i love the chairs and the couch and the artwork and the table and the bookcase and the hallway rugs and the dogs and the stackable crates.

  • Love this home! The charcoal walls, the pops of colour, especially love the Sanna Annukka print above the fireplace. I could live here… yes I could.

  • LOVE this home so much! Where did you find the metallic coffee table for your living room? I’ve been on a coffee table hunt and that one is perfect!

  • Love it- I am an avid subscriber to the Sneak Peak section of Design Sponge!

    The nature of the Sneak Peak post seems to be showcasing the homes of couples- in this vein, can you start to feature more queer couples in this section?

    I loved the NY Times article about the studio and home of Elizabeth Streb and Laura Flanders, if you need an example: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/15/garden/elizabeth-streb-and-laura-flanders-at-home-with.html?pagewanted=all


  • What a beautiful, welcoming home! I wonder if we could have more info about the “Hope” print atop the reclaimed wine box shelves?

  • What an amazing home – Thank you so much for this lovely sneak peek! One question though: Where did the gold penguin come from? :)

  • wow, we’re so happy at the amazing response and thankful for all the kind words!

    to answer a few questions- the wood crates were not something that were stocked, they just happened to be there a day we popped in and when we went back a couple months later to grab more for another space they were long gone. croft house in la has beautiful reclaimed wood pieces and may be able to help make something similar: http://crofthouse.com/

    the coffee table is vintage. i did see a similar one at a store in san diego a couple years ago at this store (they may still sell them) http://holdithome.com/areas/live/ it’s not quite as low profile and a little different base but overall pretty similar!

    the gold penguin was a gift from our friend jean ( http://www.notcot.org/ ) it was originally a puma penguin used in store displays. lou sanded and refinished it.

    i think that answers all the questions, but i’ll check back if there are any more later!
    thanks again everyone!!!

  • Loooove your home! I envy the fireplace, and completely identify with the cozy factor. I’m longing for a fireplace again someday. I have the same desk but wish I had gotten it in white. Also love the wine boxes as shelving and the way you displayed the art in them! And your bookcases are beautiful. Drool, swoon…

  • Hello Sarah and Lou,
    You have created a home that exudes love, warmth and comfort – and tons of amazing design sense of course! :) I’d love to know where you got the hanging bulb garland in the living room (or the manufacturer maybe?). Thank you for letting us into your home!

  • The boucherouite rug hanging really intrigues me…and has me wondering if this is something that could be achieved with leftover scraps of yarn from various knitting projects. I think yarns of different weights – from lace to aran to roving – could be pulled through a burlap backing from a very cool conversation piece. Since I’ve done my share of Pearl McGown (Google her…she’s like the designer doyenne of 1940s rug-hooking) patterns, I’d have the hook and some rug-hooking knowledge to pull this off. Hmm. It’s just a matter of time and priorities!

  • Hello, your home is achingly beautiful, gorgeous in every way. What makes it so great is how personal you have made it!

  • I want to live in this home! Great inspiration to give my own place a little more love.

  • The pink chair from the study is lovely! I also love how she took it easy on the windows and the use of sheer white curtains which complemented the simplicity of the walls. I would like to advise that she can go bold on that (curtains) too, maybe put in a luxurious curtain ensemble once in a while for a real visual treat!

  • Hello,

    I’m also interested in knowing the reclaimed wood store in LA. We’d love to know! Thank you.

  • wait a sec…..YOU contacted ME because you liked the style of my Palm Springs place? My Gosh. Sarah this is beautiful and peaceful and warm but clean. Now move it all to the desert!

  • Random – but what width are your chevron stripes? I didn’t realize how hard it would be to decide what width to do and I think I’m loving yours!!

  • love the shelving unit made from old wine boxes and would like to replicate this in my home. Can you provide the total overall dimensions (total height, width & depth).
    thank you for your time.

  • Love the photos of your home. I actually just moved out of that same house and recognized the chevron stripes from my bedroom! We loved that home and it is nice to see how your family enjoyed it before us. Ps-thank you for the string lights in the backyard. It made it that much more special!