Name: Melissa Hon Tsai and Gary Tsai
Location: South Pasadena, California
Size: 3,101 square feet
Years Lived In: 1 year, owned
Melissa Hon Tsai is an interior designer and architect who favors a modern, minimal aesthetic. But when she designed and built her family’s three-bedroom home from the ground up, she had to marry her own modern taste with her neighborhood’s mid-century modern appeal. The result is a sleek, open-concept, two-story home with traditional mid-century lines and tons of natural light.
Melissa shares her home with her husband Gary and three boys (one five-year-old, and three-year-old twins). After reworking her original ultra-modern home design to satisfy the city’s requests to stay in line with the neighborhood’s historic mid-century modern architectural style, she landed on a compromise of both styles. The home’s clever architecture centers around floor-to-ceiling courtyard-facing windows that let in lots of natural light while still giving the family plenty of privacy.
Apartment Therapy House Tour Survey:
My Style: Modern clean lines and symmetry
Inspiration: Modern and mid-century modern homes in Southern California
Favorite Element: The custom staircase (if I had to pick one, but there are so many)
Biggest Challenge: Design review process with the city /neighbors and just in general building your own house from scratch is a challenge.
What Friends Say: They love it and never seen anything like it here in South Pasadena.
Biggest Embarrassment: TOYS! They’re everywhere. We tried to keep it in a few areas but somehow they make their way into every single room in the house.
Proudest DIY: Dying the Shibori pillowcases in the living room, framing the calligraphy pieces in the dining room, and installing all the built-in shelving in closets and mudroom.
Biggest Indulgence: Radiant-heated concrete floors, five-panel accordion La Cantina door
Best Advice: Whenever you get overstressed about a little detail, step back and think big picture. It’ll all workout.
Dream Sources: Danish Design Store, Heath Ceramics, HD Buttercup, ABC Carpet & Home, Bo Concept.
PAINT & COLORS
Benjamin Moore — Chantilly Lace (every where)
Benjamin Moore — Light Pewter (Guest Room, Laundry Room and 2nd Floor Hall Bathroom)
Benjamin Moore — Owl Gray (Kids Bedroom)
Benjamin Moore — Dolphin (Moving wall/door in Office)
Blue Moroccan Jute Boucle Amy Area Rug — World Market
Walnut Desk — Office Depot
Sheepskin Rug — Costco
Poufs — Target
Painting — Carrie Bobo
Fiber Art — Cindy Zell
Ceramic Bells — MQuan Studio
Round Mirror — HomeGoods
Chandelier — Light Up My Home
Pal Bar Stools — Hem