Homepolish designer Jennifer Wallenstein created a relaxed, West Coast home for funnyman Jake Hurwitz and his fiancé.
Photos by Claire Esparros.
Los Angeles might be the land of $12 green juices and aspiring actors, but comedian Jake Hurwitz and his fiancé Jillian Vogel are much more the classic chill California vibe. Jake is a veteran comedian—he wrote and starred in the original CollegeHumor sketches and a host of other shows. These days, Jake is known for hilarious podcasts and videos produced with his longtime partner-in-crime, Amir Blumenfeld.
When Jake and Jillian found themselves in a uniquely-shaped space with little to no decor, they called up Homepolish designer to help them make their A-frame feel A-plus.
“Our house is a very specific shape—specifically, a triangle,” Jake explains. “Almost all the walls of the house are on a 60-degree angle. When we first walked through I couldn’t comprehend where anything should go; I didn’t know if we should have a TV downstairs or upstairs, if we should have a dining area or a large living room, and so on.”
When Jennifer stepped on the scene, she calmed the couple with her can-do attitude and ability to adapt to any space.
“I don’t know how many A-frames Jennifer has worked on, but she had a clear, cohesive vision for ours,” continues Jake. “The blueprint she laid out didn’t change from day one, so we ended up with an amazing living room, dining room, and den in a space where we thought we might have to choose only two out of those three.”
Because Jennifer started working with the laid back SoCal couple before they moved into the home, there was ample time to take care of structural changes and take care of the not-so-pretty aspects of interior design.
“We made good use of that early phase by getting all of the dirty work out of the way and placing orders so that the couple could be as comfortable as possible when it was actually time to make the move,” says Jennifer. “We had the existing floors refinished, stripped decades worth of paint away from the stairs and then stained them, repainted the interior, and replaced the tile underneath the fireplace. Also, we decided to forgo the staircase’s original red paint and a few electric blue accent walls.”
The space’s one-of-a-kind structure might have posed a challenge to Jake and Jillian initially, but Jennifer eased them into the idea of designing for it. “A-frame homes are stunning, but they pose some challenges when space planning. The goal for the overall look really seemed to click for them when we started looking at possible furniture layouts,” says the designer.
Ultimately, Jennifer landed on a layout that she says plays up the best parts of the space. “The corner sectional allowed us to put a sofa table near the front door, creating what feels like a proper entry,” she continues. “Additionally, it orients the living room toward the fireplace and the amazing windows. Even more than that, it frames the dining room and shapes a spacious room perfect for entertaining.”
The comedian and his TV-producing fiancé aren’t lacking in the personality department, so they wanted to ensure that their home wasn’t either. The duo opted to keep some of the original characteristics that were original to the space.
“I’ll be honest, my first instinct was to rip them out!” laughs Jennifer. “But Jake and Jillian had a fondness for them and didn’t want to undertake a kitchen remodel. They both love the quirks of the home—the lime green countertops, the parquet floors, the terrazzo-lined fireplace. They considered replacing all of those things out of fear of them being dated, but ultimately I think they wanted to make the space their own without stripping away its personality.”
To keep that personality, Jennifer leaned in to the limey shade for the home’s color scheme.
“The counters were the biggest factor in deciding our color palette. I wanted to make them feel cohesive with the overall design by introducing cooler hues of green and blue. It helped a lot that Jake and Jillian have pretty green thumbs, so we were also able to play off the outdoor elements by keeping some greenery indoors,” she adds.
When it came to adding in new decor, Jennifer chose to go with an aesthetic that mirrors the client’s lifestyles—relaxed, happy, and natural.
“I don’t think they would have ultimately been happy with something that felt over-designed,” explains Jennifer. “The color palette and textures feel appropriate for the home’s Mount Washington location and its inhabitants.”
The designer aimed to create a neutral, soft background with varying shades of whites, tans, blues, and greens. To add depth, she played around with patterns and contrasting accents. Jennifer especially loved the intricacy of the Citizenry pillows and the woven rugs, but still felt more could be done to make the highlight the home’s distinctive look.
“I ultimately felt like the space needed a bit of contrast to keep it interesting, so I added in some bold, black dining chairs, a black metal cross bar underneath the table, and a light grey dining bench with contrasting black legs,” Jennifer says.
Anyone who has had their home redesigned knows it can be a bit stressful, but the couple made it through unscathed. The project was only made easier by the affable approach everyone had with each other.
“Jake and Jillian have such a great energy, both individually and as a couple. They are so warm and inviting, they were excited about the process, and they took everything in stride over the course of the project, “Jennifer tells us. “I was always greeted by smiles and hugs, which was just one reason that working with them was a joy from start to finish.”
The feeling is mutual.
“Honestly, I used to think being an interior designer was more like ‘this pillow is nice and this sconce is good.’ But then Jennifer dove in and found the exact measurements for our unorthodox layout. She was much more technical and into the functional aesthetics than I had expected, which turned out to be what we needed the most help with,” says Jake. “In short, without Jennifer, we’d still be living in a cream colored house with a TV in the kitchen. We love her.”
And they also love each other—soon after their work with Jennifer was wrapped up, Jake made it official by proposing.
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