Last week, I went to visit her in LA, where I lived for six years until 2005. She was kind enough to let me crash with her for five whole nights, and forgiving enough to allow me to poke around her spacious one-bedroom apartment and take lots of pictures: endless kitchen cupboards, the dining room (dining room!), her bathtub, lemon trees outside. Why did I ever leave LA?
So this first entry is a BIG ONE with a lot of text and images, because I had so much time to discover fun stuff and admire how her place looks during the day and at night. It marks the beginning of what I guess I'll call the LA Series, because when I told friends I was in town, almost everyone said, "just come over." Oh, LA! How I forgot that everyone is at home--"writing a screenplay" at home, part-timing from home, "on retainer" and at home, all with dining rooms and vegetation out back, because the abundance of space is just normal there. Over the course of six days, I was able to photograph 11 residences. On my vacation!
Back to the fabulous Shannon Kim (who can be found at Thomas Chase Hairdressing in Santa Monica when she's not styling celebrities). Entering her place from the driveway (where you must leave extra-extra-extra space when you parallel park so the neighbor girl doesn't tuck a curt note written in increasingly slanted writing under your windshield wiper and then deny it when confronted), the layout curves around in a U-shape and goes like this: Kitchen, dining room, living room; from there, a hallway to the bedroom and the bathroom. Roomy closets everywhere.
KitchenAn all-around happy place. Pretty ceramics, a bright blue crepe-paper flower wired onto the cupboard knob, smiling faces on the refrigerator. I always like to recognize mutual friends like Betsy and Bruce in pics I've never seen. She's had the colorful dish towel "forever. It's maybe from Japan." And despite evidence like wilted carrots and some random take-out salsa in the fridge, Shannon is a great cook, which explains why capers are one of the only condiments in the door. She recently turned me on to smoked Black Forest bacon.
The plaster walls are curved, and the space feels like an old parlor. I love the built-in shelves. The dining chairs don't match, but it's barely perceptible. Dark-stained wood and some kind of red upholstery on each one bring them together as a set, but their varying shapes make the collection interesting and feels more casual. One of them is from She Sells Seashells on nearby 3rd Street. I forgot to ask about the Styrofoam head, but Shannon is starting to make headpieces, too.
The huge L-shaped sofa is covered in microsuede and was custom made by a guy named Ritch--yes, with a T--in Marina del Rey for $1,000. He'll even deliver it on his back. During the day, lemon trees screen the view. At night, the room glows. She "couldn't figure out dimmers," so she used orange bulbs.
It brought me such joy that the soap in the shower is long and skinny and an unusual but perfect shape to fit the built-in holder. It's like the frustratingly narrow Spare Ribs piece in that Milton Bradley game Operation. But unlike Spare Ribs, you don't need tweezers to fetch it, and there's no rude BZZZZ!!! or blinking red-lit nose you when you go for it. Pretty rug. Essential oils like little soldiers.
This Robert Indiana Love-licensed doormat was a gift from me a few years ago, when Shannon lived at another residence. It's so welcoming, and I "love" the idea of scuffing your dirty soles on a powerful word so commercialized and styled that it loses its meaning (at least in this example). She ended up meeting a cute neighbor boy once who recognized her as "the girl with the Love doormat." I had one, too, but someone stole it from outside my NYC apartment. It's all about having lemon trees stand guard, I'm telling you.
I came home around 4 pm one day and saw this adorable bow peeking out from a chest of drawers. It was winking at me! I opened it up and discovered Shannon's amazing collection of colorful lingerie. Ooh-la-la! She's having way more fun that I am, I decided. When I closed the drawer and looked again, I felt like maybe it wasn't winking at me, it was flipping me off in mockery.