As with clothes, the way you decorate a room expresses your personality. In its most ideal form, it signals to guests how you interpret yourself. In this round of Real Cool People, Real Cool Apartments, we check out the Los Angeles home of Aza Ziegler, the designer behind Calle Del Mar. Our intentions behind the creeping: to learn what she’s all about.
Neighborhood, # of rooms:
Echo Park, Los Angeles, seven rooms total (living room, dining room, kitchen, studio, bathroom and two bedrooms)
How long have you lived here?
Almost two years!
What do you like about the neighborhood? Has it influenced the aesthetic of your home in any way?
Moving from New York to LA, I really wanted a walkable neighborhood with a sense of community. In Echo Park, I can walk to my favorite little grocery store, a obscure cacti shop, the farmers market, a yoga/pilates studio, plenty of cute cafes and the hiking trail behind my house. What else could I need? It has a mix of residential and local businesses and feels like a complete escape from the city, even though it’s less than a mile walk from busy Sunset Blvd.
In addition to wild plants and colorful homes, it also houses a small creative community of artists, designers and musicians. Everyone is friendly and a lot of people know each other by name. I think the easiness of California has always influenced my personal style, but the sun-bleached colors of Echo Park have definitely crept their way into my home in soft yellows and blues, and the climate has changed the way we live in our home. Our linen white sheets keep us cool in the desert air year-round. Our rooms are home to many terracotta-potted catci, local pottery and eucalyptus from our backyard. We’ve tried to make our house a cozy hangout spot that flows easily from indoor to out.
Who do you live with?
What did you think about when decorating?
I really came into my own decorating style when I moved into my second apartment in New York in my early 20s. My apartment was draped with colorful rugs and curtains, flea market finds and inspiring books. Candles lined the broken fireplace and fresh produce became my kitchen essential. I think this is when I really started to get into vintage furniture and rare finds. I moved to LA two years ago with a few rugs and some art. I purged my belongings, kept the necessities and left most of what I owned behind at my best friends apartment. I wanted my new LA home to feel spacious, simple and was excited by the idea of “starting over.” (Although I quickly realized that was a much more daunting and expensive task than I had realized.)
I don’t like to have a lot of extra things. I’m one of those people who actively cleans out her closet. I spend my time searching for just the right things, a few beautiful mugs and handmade plates, the perfect linen sheets. A comfortable, calm and cozy place to hang out and daydream in is all I need. I love to have wild, low maintenance plants, unique statement pieces of furniture and walls lined with art made by my family and friends. I love to rearrange the furniture every six months in search of a fresh perspective. The first thing we found upon landing in Los Angeles was our yellow velvet couch. Honestly, everything sort of fell into place around that.
What do you do for work?
I am a designer. I have a knitwear line called Calle Del Mar that is produced entirely in Los Angeles in a female owned factory. It’s inspired by vintage athletic wear and contagiously colorful! I am also a stylist. I’ve done a lot of catalog and commercial work but recently I’m mostly working with brands which is definitely more creative and fun.
If we were a fly on the wall of your home for a weekend, what would we typically see?
There is always music in our house, whether someone is playing guitar or a record is spinning. And home cooked food too. I love to cook; it’s probably my Italian blood, but I make everything from scratch. We also have a big garden (that is currently suffering from the heat) where we grow a lot of tomatoes, herbs, cucumbers and kale! I usually spend my weekends reading outside on our lounge chairs or working in my studio — which is in our garage. We usually end a Saturday night with a bonfire in our backyard with friends. And we live close to Dodger Stadium, which means summer fireworks on the regular.
Where is your favorite place in your home and why?
Probably my studio, because it’s my creative space that belongs only to my ideas and to me. Although, it’s a tough choice between that and lying under the palm tree on the front lawn because that’s where all the neighboring puppies come to hang out.
What are your favorite home “scores”?
My 10 foot-long yellow velvet couch from Craigslist! And our blue and white vintage Brown Jordan lounge chairs, which are also from Craigslist! I could write a book called Craigslist Diaries with all of my stories about scavenging.
What’s something about your home you want to change and why?
The kitchen floor. Right now it’s this linoleum burgundy floor that is very typical to an old LA home. I find it to be ugly and hard to clean. I want to replace it with something really fun like colored checkers or some Spanish tiles! I think either of those would complement our vintage white stove. That’s my next project once the weather cools down.
What’s something you’ve been looking for forever but still have yet to find?
The perfect dining room table! I’ve scoured flea markets and the internet for months now and can’t find something quite right. I’m talking to a friend about making a custom one for me.
Where do you look for decorating inspiration?
Books first and foremost. I love 70s interiors, southwest homes and vintage Scandinavian furniture designers. I’m also a total sucker for Pinterest, because who isn’t? It’s like a fun board game that should be called “what will my house look like when I grow up?” I dream of designing my own home from the ground up, and even some of the furniture in it.
What’s the best piece of decorating wisdom you’ve ever heard?
Bring your favorite memories home and let them live there. The house I grew up in was filled with photographs and artifacts from my parents’ travels, and the walls of the house were lined with those stories. In my home now, we have a wall of letters. My boyfriend is a touring musician and he sends me postcards from different cities. Those memories of us longing to reunite live on our wall and make it feel like home.
Photos by Bethany Nauert.