This Apartment’s Art Deco Bathroom Color Combo Is Must-See — House Call

Name: Carolyn Seuthe
Location: Los Angeles, California
Size: 850 square feet
Years lived in: 1.5 years, renting

My apartment is a one-bedroom in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, an area with a lot of incredible, historical properties. When I was looking for this apartment, I had just moved back to my hometown after four years in Washington, D.C., where I lived in one of those really giant, sterile-seeming apartment complexes. I wanted a place with a lot of character and charm, and was delighted when I found this Spanish Art Deco house, constructed in the late 1930s. I was immediately smitten with the tiny and precious kitchen, colorful tiles, arched doorways, high ceilings, and carefully preserved vintage details. The apartment felt authentic to the history of L.A. without being dated.

I’m always running out of space to store books, so I have to get creative. The framed Los Angeles Times front page belonged to my grandfather. I bought the ‘I Was Young I Needed The Money’ print with a paycheck from my first political campaign, unaware that I would shortly be out of a job. When people ask who my decorator is, I say, ‘Irony.’

(Image credit: Carolyn Seuthe)

I’m a writer who mostly works from home so it was important for me to create a space that I would want to spend a lot of time in. That meant filling up the apartment with books and pottery and plants and crystals and overpriced candles that smell like burning protected redwoods as well as silly things I’ve made or collected. I don’t worry too much about things matching or fitting together. I think you can always find a home for something you love.

The reusable wallpaper in the dining room is from the Opalhouse collection at Target and it was nearly the death of me. I grossly underestimated how much paper I would need, so I had to rush all over Los Angeles to every Target that still had a roll in stock. And applying it (by myself!) was way harder than it looked on the tutorials online. I love the finished product but regret the years it shaved off of my life.

(Image credit: Carolyn Seuthe)

I also styled the place purposefully with a high-low mix. The blanket is Hermès and some of the blue and white ginger jars were splurges, but then the hot pink acrylic tray is from Party City and I drove to a warehouse in Gardena that sells giant, slightly-damaged clay pots at bargain prices to find something to house my fiddle leaf fig tree (affectionately named Christine Baranski).

I have to be honest and say I rented this apartment for the bathroom. I always wanted to live in one of these Art Deco apartments with a colorful tile bathroom. I lucked out here that the colors here are a dreamy combo of mint and lilac. The demure nude I found at an antique store in Ojai. It was curiously in a back room, inside a gigantic brass birdcage.

(Image credit: Carolyn Seuthe)

What is your favorite room and why? I love every room, but I pretty much decided I was getting this apartment when I saw the bathroom, which is decked out in mint and lilac diamond tile. It’s the exact color scheme of a Polly Pocket set I had when I was little. It also makes me feel like a femme fatale in a Raymond Chandler novel, getting ready to hit the town with her red lipstick and ivory-grip pistol.

My bedroom is pretty simple compared to the rest of my apartment, which is intentional. The linens are from Hill House Home and the cornflower blue bed is from Anthropologie. The hardwood floors are original, which I think is a cool detail that distracts from their creakiness.

(Image credit: Carolyn Seuthe)

If you could magically change something about your home, what would it be? Central air. And I wish all the curtains were about two inches longer. I learned too late that the standard curtain size I was buying was a hair too short.

The view of my tiny, precious kitchen from the dining room. It was renovated by my landlord to preserve the history and style of this building, which was built in 1939.

(Image credit: Carolyn Seuthe)

The open shelving in my kitchen allows me to display my favorite flea market finds (like that antique striped stoneware pitcher), as well as the dining sets I use regularly. The two plates I use interchangeably are the Royal Copenhagen Blue Fluted Half Lace and the Canvas Abbesses line. The powder blue bowls are from Target.

(Image credit: Carolyn Seuthe)

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? First edition Renata Adler books from the Iliad, my favorite used bookstore in L.A., and abstract prints made by my friend Bo Hesslegrave of the creative design studio Bad Mood.

The entryway features a gallery wall with a rotating display of my favorite things to look at, including: campaign buttons, taxidermy, diminutive oil paintings of the American Southwest, and an old New Deal employment poster. The geometric print is by my friend Bo Hesslegrave who runs a creative design studio in L.A. called Bad Mood.

(Image credit: Carolyn Seuthe)

Any advice for creating a home you love? Layer your light, make weird choices, and remember that books are cheap art. I look for editions of my favorite books with cool and unique cover designs and display them around the apartment. I don’t think there’s anything prettier than a beautiful, well-loved book.

Thanks, Carolyn!

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