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Light and Lofted Above LA: Jenni Kayne President Julia Hunter at Home


Light and Lofted Above LA: Jenni Kayne President Julia Hunter at Home

December 9, 2017

We’ve long been fans of LA fashion designer Jenni Kayne; she was a Guest Judge in our 2014 Considered Design Awards contest and we’re followers of her lifestyle blog Rip & Tan (see The Healthful Apartment for a NYC home she shared with us earlier this year). So this past fall, on the occasion of the launch of her homewares brand—Jenni Kayne Home—we stopped in at the home of Jenni Kayne company president Julia Hunter to have a closer look at the new line and Hunter’s own 1959 remodel.

When Hunter and her husband, Ray, first toured their home-to-be back in 2015, it was love at first sight—despite some obvious problems. The style was a mashup: part midcentury modern (it has a pitched roof with beamed ceilings and an open floor plan) and part Art Deco (with teal-and-peach bathrooms and a too-fancy kitchen backsplash). So they made judicious upgrades as their budget allowed, tackling the bathrooms and outdoor space while making some simple—but impactful—updates in the kitchen.

The couple are big fans of the house’s open floor plan, which meets their dictate for “one central area for living, dining, and kitchen,” said Hunter. “We’re pretty casual at home, and like to talk and watch TV while we cook and eat together all in the same place.” They also like the atypical layout, which puts the master bedroom downstairs: “It’s unusual,” said Hunter, “but we love the configuration because the bedroom feels private and tucked away.”

Join us for a tour (and learn a few insider design tips Hunter has gleaned from Kayne herself over the years).

Photography by Lauren Moore for Remodelista.

white living room beamed ceiling julia hunter la
Above: Hunter’s French bulldog, Bebe, perched on Hunter’s white sofa from Restoration Hardware. New from Jenni Kayne Home: Alpaca Basketweave Pillows ($195) on the sofa in light gray, oatmeal, and ivory; two Linen Seam Square Pillows ($135) in white on the lounge chair; a Wide Mouth Vase by potter Victoria Morris ($335) and a Jenni Kayne Ash Ceramic Candle ($85) on the coffee table.

Both Hunter, who has a background in finance, and her husband work a lot, and wanted their home to feel like a respite from the city. “The house feels like a getaway, which is just what we wanted,” she says. Hunter credits Kayne as her aesthetic role model: “There are a few lessons from Jenni that have actually been quite transformative to the way I style my home and, ultimately, the way I live my life,” she says.

white living room dining julia hunter la
Above: Says Hunter of her white sofa: “I’m the person constantly trying to multitask, which often means I’m spilling beverages and making messes.” She took her cues from Jenni, who covers the seats of her white couch with “linen throw beds when risky guests are present (myself included), and takes them off when they’re not needed.”
dining table black pendant julia hunter la
Above: The wood dining table is from H. D. Buttercup.

Hunter takes informal lessons in the more creatives sides of life (such as entertaining, styling, and decorating) from her friend Kayne. “I used to order pizza when we had friends over and mix a bag of lettuce with the Caesar dressing packet it came with just to make part of the meal ‘homemade’,” she says. “Now I feel confident pulling together a nice, memorable dinner just by setting the table beautifully, incorporating some greens from the yard, and cooking a few simple dishes.”

light wood kitchen living julia hunter la
Above: The kitchen was in especially dire need of updating, says Hunter: It had granite countertops and an Art Deco–style backsplash, both of which made it look dated. “We focused on making easy, less-expensive upgrades that we thought would feel impactful, to freshen up the space.”
light wood kitchen julia hunter la 3
Above: The couple opted for soapstone countertops, inspired by Remodelista’s own Primer on the subject (“we love the gray color and the natural look,” says Hunter). The cabinets were preexisting, and only needed new knobs and pulls.
light wood kitchen julia hunter la 2
Above: They kept some block glass in one corner of the kitchen, but replaced the Art Deco backsplash with white subway tile and gray grout “to keep it classic and light.”
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Above: The brass kitchen cabinet knobs are from Schoolhouse Electric. The Oval Vase is by Victoria Morris ($350; currently sold out online).
dark wood bookcase jenni kayne julia hunter la
Above: Hunter and her husband have an admirable vinyl collection. The artwork hanging above the bookcase is by photographer Brian Merriam, sourced from online art dealer Tappan.

Another key lesson from Kayne: Turn to nature for styling inspiration. “Relying on nature-inspired design elements establishes a sense of calm and beauty” in the home, says Hunter, “but it is also timeless—so you don’t have to constantly reinvent.”

Hunter offers some examples: incorporating lavender or olive branches in your tablescape, using natural fibers such as linen or alpaca for all the bedding and blankets in your house, and hanging artwork of beautiful landscapes in your hallways.

white marble bathroom washstand julia hunter la
Above: Hunter used Remodelista as a guide when remodeling her bathrooms, including the upstairs powder room shown here. Our White Bathroom Roundup, she said, “showed us how much flexibility there was to work with using an all-white palette.”

To make her own powder room feel “luxe and special,” Hunter opted for Carrara marble tile, sconces from Schoolhouse Electric, and a chrome undermount sink with marble top from Signature Hardware.

wood floors artwork sconce julia hunter la
Above: The artwork in the stairwell is an Emma Wood Print by photographer Marc Gabor—a collaboration between Jenni Kayne and Tappan ($655, framed). Hunter found the sconce on Amazon. The floors throughout the house are brushed white oak.
bedroom white headboard ivory rug julia hunter la
Above: Hunter worked with interior designer Caroline Wolf on the master bedroom. The bedspread is from Matteo, and all the throw pillows are from Jenni Kayne Home: a Linen Seam Rectangle Pillow ($115) plus alpaca stripe pillows in Square and Rectangle ($195 each). On the bed is the Alpaca Basketweave Throw Blanket in oatmeal; $295. The Orb Vase on the nightstand is by Victoria Morris; $300.

“The master bedroom is, hands down, our favorite part of the house,” said Hunter. “It is spacious and has beautiful windows surrounded by trees with a gorgeous view. We love to spend weekend mornings reading in bed with the windows open, while Bebe watches squirrels in the trees.”

wood windows chairs leather basket julia hunter la
Above: A leather basket from Jenni Kayne stores more alpaca basketweave pillows. At the end of the bed is a vintage wood bench from Lawson-Fenning in LA, covered in blue linen with added leather straps.
vintage credenza bedroom palm julia hunter la
Above: The vintage credenza, used as a dresser, is from Chairish.
outdoor dining heath julia hunter la
Above: The house has dramatic views of the San Fernando Valley and the mountains, “which gives us a sense of natural respite,” said Hunter. Pictured here: a plate from Heath Ceramics and Oslo copper cutlery ($376 for a set of six) from Jenni Kayne Home.
outdoor cot jenni kayne home julia hunter la
Above: When they bought the house, says Hunter, the outdoor space “was filled with AstroTurf and bougainvillea.” Now, the yard has citrus trees and an informal patio of concrete pavers and gravel. On the daybed, with the alpaca pillows: A Striped Linen Duvet (a collaboration between Jenni Kayne and Parachute); $349 for full/queen duvet with two shams.

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