Three Years Later: A Los Angeles Rental’s Design Update — Side-by-Side Style

While updating the 800-square-foot L.A. rental home she shares with her partner Jake Martinez, designer Leslie Landis butted up against a design dilemma many of us are familiar with: Update one element in a room, and a domino effect is created. Leslie and Jake kept spilling coffee on the velvet dining chairs, so they reupholstered the with a more durable fabric. But that darker fabric didn’t work with the black table top, so they switched to a lighter table top…and so on. Read on to see all the changes in this rental, big and small, that have happened over the past three years.

We first saw Leslie and Jake’s rental home in 2014.

“The kind of decorating I do is less matching and more layering of elements. I think it’s the more interesting option, but when you switch out one thing the whole room is affected,” wrote Leslie in her most recent house tour. For instance, they switched out the chaise for a new green velvet sofa because Jake wasn’t a fan of the fact that there wasn’t a full back on the chaise. The ocher linen curtains that had looked great with the golden velvet of the chaise just didn’t work with the new green sofa. So they switched to a natural linen curtain with trim.


Perhaps one of the biggest changes is the living and dining room floor! Dark laminate floor was the material they worked with before. But Leslie decided to pull that up and paint the hardwood flooring she found underneath. This brings a ton of color into the space.


Another big change came when Leslie moved out of the shared home office space upstairs. “…[W]e no longer share an office. The hum of the computers drove me crazy, so I set up shop in the corner of the living room.” Her desk is now where the ship-shaped bar used to be.


As mentioned in the intro paragraph, the green chairs had to go due to coffee spillage! “Because the narrow dining area is the pass-through to the kitchen as well as the back door, we managed to spill an impressive amount of coffee on the beetle-green velvet dining chairs. Admitting who you are is half the battle in decorating so I recovered the chairs in a durable snakeskin vinyl.”

A super fun change comes in the form of a closet door DIY. “I always hated the louvered door that didn’t even cover the whole thing.” But, because the existing door was a really weird size (and would have required a pricey custom replacement), Leslie decided to get creative. She painted a piece of plywood black and then used a white paint marker to draw faux door panels. “I think it’s funny and it covers the whole closet. Win win!”


The master bedroom was painted a lighter, more cheery blue than the darker shade it had been before, and artwork was updated and rearranged. Overall the room became a more soothing space.


Because Leslie moved out of the upstairs office, they were able to really design the room to fit Jake’s work needs better. More storage was added, and there are now multiple work areas.

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