Interior designer Jennifer Riley can tell how she acquired nearly every item in her 1909 Craftsman’s house.
The ostrich egg that she nested in a glass bowl on her coffee table, for example, was something she coveted on Instagram. “I’m that designer, and she shared a story about an ostrich egg, and I was like, ‘I want an ostrich egg, ‘and I arrived on this one a few days later at a consignment store in Temecula, ”says Riley, owner of Hohm, a full-service interior design company and online store.
Another favorite: the Victorian silver tray with hunting scenes on the edges, which she keeps on her fireplace. She found it in an antique mall in a clipboard booth, where it was hidden under a pile of random items. I had never seen anything like it and I had to have it.
So that goes for almost everything in his three-bedroom home in Hillcrest. With the exception of some occasional furniture and decorative objects, everything is antique, vintage or a unique find from a consignment store, a thrift store, a flea market or a real estate sale.
“I’m drawn to the aesthetics of these pieces, but I also like the historical part, the durability and the price which is generally so affordable,” she says.
Riley grew up in a Victorian Queen Anne house, built in 1892 (it’s actually next to his current home). His parents, both antique lovers, filled the house with ornate period furniture and placed historic Bradbury & Bradbury wallpaper on every wall, including the ceilings.
“I have a natural affinity for old houses and historic things,” she says. “The craftsmanship and attention to detail are second to none. That’s all I’ve known.
It was an education that fueled his passion for treasure hunting and eventually his career.
In 1984, Riley’s parents bought the house next door to their Victorian home, where she now resides. They bought it for his grandparents, but didn’t start the slow 40-year restoration until after Riley’s oma and opa died. After that,
she spent her afternoons and weekends as a teenager working in the artisan house.
“At one point, a previous owner painted all the doors white,” she said, pulling back. The interior doors are all original – and redwood – so Riley and her mom spent long hours stripping and refinishing them. They also repaired the original slatted and plastered walls where necessary. Then, in the early 1990s, Riley’s parents had the Craftsman’s kitchen completely rebuilt, but all the cabinetry was made to mimic what it would have looked like in 1909. After this major overhaul, little was done. at home until she moved to, in 2003.
Returning from Los Angeles with a refocused desire to pursue something she loved (she had worked as a screenwriter), Riley opened an antique store on Adams Avenue. The brick-and-mortar location was short-lived, but she still maintained her antique business, renting stalls at local malls and selling at weekend flea markets in Southern California. . More recently, however, she has moved the business exclusively online. She regularly visits second-hand stores, antique shopping centers and exchange meetings, always in search of the unique, the signed or the total bargain. She will sell part of it; other items find the perfect place in her home.
“Hunting is like an aphrodisiac,” says Riley. “It takes patience, but the thrill of finding something that gives me a visceral reaction, something rare, beautiful and something I love, like $ 20 is such a rush.”
What she likes has changed over the years. She’s collected and exhibited Asian artifacts, done shabby-chic, and even tried on eclectic bohemian accessories. But through her phases, Riley has stayed true to her mantra, which just happens to be imprinted on the coconut mat right outside her front door. It reads as follows: “house: (hohm) n., The place where domestic affections are concentrated”.
To be sure, it is up to date. She and her father spent most of 2020 repainting everything, including the interior of the closets. They started with the walls. Riley selected Benjamin Moore’s Swiss coffee in a matte finish for every room except hers, where she used Sherwin-Willliams’ Jasper Stone. All toppings have been given a new coat of Swiss coffee in a semi-gloss finish. Then they hired someone to restore the original redwood and fir floors. Eventually, she and her dad ripped off and completely remodeled the full bathroom in the hallway.
“The floor was totally rotten,” she says, “so we had to rebuild it, putting new joists next to the rotten ones, and then putting a new sub-floor on top. “
The guilty? An original cast-iron tub with a leak that the pair smashed with a hammer, removed and replaced with a walk-in shower. The change is modern, yes, but Riley was considering the possibility that her parents would one day leave their three-story house across the yard to live on that one floor. To be fair, that doesn’t seem out of place in his 112-year-old home. She managed to get hold of a black and white braided marble tile for the floors and a black subway and nose tile for the baseboards. It’s almost identical to the tiling in his parents’ original Victorian bathroom next door.
“I would never drastically alter the footprint of an old house or tear down walls,” admits Riley. “I watch HGTV and see these shows where people save these old houses, but then they destroy them, and for me it’s a total disconnect. I want the interior architecture to shine.
In her living room, Riley’s furniture centers around the original fireplace, constructed of clinker bricks, which are denser, heavier, and more irregular than standard bricks. “They are uneven and imperfect but so beautiful,” she says.
She filled the rest of the room with second-hand treats, heirlooms and new items. She refers to her current direction of design as “antiques with a modern twist”. On either side of his orange sofa, a real estate sale score, sit round tables of Wayfair. The stools behind the sofa were from Target, and the gauzy linen curtains hanging above the windows were purchased from Ikea.
Art throughout the house comes in the form of landscape paintings, portraits, period photos of his family’s favorite places, transfer plates and memorabilia from his grandparents, like the collection of Her grandmother’s copper pans hung in the kitchen above the 1930s stove. And in every room there are always fresh flowers, which Riley considers “life givers.” She fills pretty vintage containers with anything blooming in her cutting garden or something from the flower market.
“In my bedroom, I opted for a very understated and eclectic European look,” says Riley. After repainting the room, she cut out some of the furniture and tchotchkes. “My hobby and my business allow me to redecorate my home when I feel like it, to modify often and resell what no longer works in my space. “
For example, she recently remodeled the room where her brother lived when he lived with her a few years ago. She turned it into a home office and in the closet, she first created a mini locker room, where she could sort mail, put away bags and put on her shoes. When not in use, she turned it into a place to display some of her finest vintage accessories and clothing.
“My design process is constantly evolving,” says Riley. “The way I approach design at home and with my clients makes each project unique and different from everyone else’s, and that’s what really enchants me about what I do.