Actors Bitsie and David have spent the bulk of the past few years filming the television show Grimm and living most of the year in woodsy, sometimes-foggy Portland, Oregon. With Grimm finished, the pair are happy to have a new sunny Hollywood Hills home to spend time in. They found this large house that had been sitting on the market for some time, and Bitsie theorizes it may have been because of poor paint and decor choices. She reports there were ugly light fixtures, rooms painted in shades of brown, and a once-lovely kitchen sporting yellow and green hues. “I think they were going for some French country vibe, but it’s a Spanish house and it didn’t work,” she writes. Undeterred, Bitsie was able to see the potential for their own design and color ideas.
Thankfully, bad paint colors aside, the house didn’t need any major renovations. So when Bitsie applied her and David’s style in the form of new paint and lighting, the house’s gorgeous Spanish architecture was able to shine.
The house is large, but still offers inspiration for homes of any size, thanks to the couple’s appreciation of budget finds and DIY ideas. Updating all the lighting for an entire house isn’t cheap, so the couple went for stylish fixtures at mid-range stores like West Elm and Pottery Barn. Bitsie’s a fan of reusing what you already have, so she spray painted the master bedroom’s existing curtain rods when they didn’t vibe with the room’s new wall paint color.
Complemented by the couple’s mix of mid-century modern furniture—and an impressive art collection—the house is quite a breezy, sunny oasis. Although, something outside the house might grab the most attention: Their home is surrounded by tall luscious greenery and their view of the Hollywood Hills is a great reminder of what they love about living in L.A.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Eclectic, but with many mid-century modern influences.
Inspiration: I love the clean shapes of MCM furniture and have found that between this 1920s Spanish house and the 1920s remodeled Dutch colonial we own in Portland, Oregon, MCM furniture works well in almost any setting. If the theme overall is somewhat eclectic then there’s definitely a way to make diverse pieces work in a way that feels coherent.
Favorite Element: I love the bright kitchen and dining room area, and the big windows in the living room.
Biggest Challenge: Probably the layout, which is strange. It’s technically a seven-bedroom house but we use two of the smaller bedrooms as our offices, and the largest “bedroom” is really a TV room. But in California you see a lot of open floor plans, and with the exception of the living/dining/kitchen, the floor plan is not “open,” which I don’t love.
What Friends Say: Our friends love our house so much that they come over to take pictures of the furniture, the light fixtures, or the paint colors. I love helping friends design their homes. I recently did David’s friend Flula Borg’s house, and am now working on helping Bree Turner finish her mid-century modern in the Hollywood Hills. It’s a fun hobby for me and they trust me to guide them in the right direction, without spending a fortune.
Biggest Embarrassment: This wasn’t me, but the people who sold us the house had installed ugly light fixtures, and painted some of the rooms bizarre colors. The TV room was shades of brown, and the gorgeous kitchen was yellow and green. I think they were going for some French country vibe, but it’s a Spanish house and it didn’t work. The first thing I did when we moved in was paint, and the next step was switching out light fixtures. Most of them are Cedar and Moss (a Portland-based company I love), West Elm, or Pottery Barn.
Proudest DIY: I switched out almost all the light fixtures in the house, and I installed these great West Elm sconces in the living room but when I turned them on, they were a bright blueish hue which I HATE. I want warm lighting everywhere. But because they were a strange LED, there wasn’t a traditional bulb. I’ve spent most of the last 10 years on TV and film sets and have watched the lighting department use heat-resistant “gels” to put over lights to get a specific color. I ordered a bunch of warm gels and experimented cutting out a piece about the size of a dime to layer over the microscopic LED bulb so that I could keep the sconces I loved so much. It worked!
Biggest Indulgence: My artwork is undoubtedly my biggest indulgence. And also the ivory velvet Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams chairs in the living room.
Best Advice: If there’s a way to re-purpose what you already have to work with, do it! For instance, in the master bedroom the previous owners had already installed curtain rods, but once that room was painted that emerald green, the black rods didn’t work. So I took them down and spray-painted them gold!
Dream Sources: For me, if I had unending resources, I would just keep buying art. And I would buy more gorgeous mid-century modern pieces. I love 1stdibs’ site. For people on a budget, I always direct them to West Elm, which makes quality, chic furniture at great prices. I would guess that our furniture overall is half mid-century modern/antique, and the other half from West Elm, Pottery Barn, and sometimes AllModern or Room & Board.
PAINT & COLORS
I don’t know the exact names off the top of my head but the paint is all either Farrow & Ball or Benjamin Moore.
Two white velvet chairs – Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
Navy blue velvet sofa – AllModern
Hutch beneath the Gregory Crewdson photo – G Plan, mid-century modern
Plastic chair beneath Kehinde Wiley artwork – Mid-century modern; vintage
The antique chair underneath the Picasso has been in my family and is over 100 years old. I don’t let anyone sit on it!
Armchair in the corner – Mid-century modern; I bought it at a thrift store in Portland, Oregon, and had new pillows made for it.
Bookshelves — West Elm
Dining room table and chairs — West Elm
All appliances are either Viking or Bertazzoni
Bed — custom from Pottery Barn
Side tables and dressers — West Elm. I particularly love the Roar + Rabbit collaboration at West Elm
The guest bedrooms are a mix of mid-century modern/antique pieces (the dressers and coffee tables), and West Elm beds and side tables.
Coffee table — Custom
Desk — Mid-century modern/antique
Couch — Custom from Thrive furniture
Bookshelf — Mid-century modern/antique
Has a Eames chair, MCM desk and bookshelf