Stylist Jessica de Ruiter’s chic mid-century sanctuary in Los Angeles lays bare her effortless elegance.
Stylist Jessica de Ruiter’s chic midcentury sanctuary in Los Angeles lays bare her effortless elegance.
Renovating a home is laborious at the best of times, let alone when you throw a child into the mix. “It was stressful, yes, and we had a daughter in the middle of it!” says Los Angeles-based stylist Jessica de Ruiter of the two years spent adding new doors, windows, finishes and a new kitchen and bathroom to her newly purchased property.
But decorating the home proved the opposite experience – a passion project that both she and her husband Jed Lind, an artist and interior designer, tackled with gusto.
The creative couple, who moved from their native Toronto to LA in 2002, had always gravitated to the city’s Eastside neighbourhoods before discovering their Gregory Ain-designed home in Silver Lake almost seven years ago.
The location suited them well: a creative hub close to Griffith Park attracting lots of young professionals and families. Architecturally, the home was equally appealing. “We liked the fact it was a mid-century house and quintessentially California,” says de Ruiter. “Being from Canada, it was very different from anything we have there and it’s always been an aspirational thing to live somewhere that’s so definitive of LA and California.”
As one of LA’s most respected stylists, the willowy blonde is known for a sartorial signature that is classic and sophisticated, relaxed and cool – an “easy elegance”, as she defines it, that also characterises her home. Her enviable instinct for what works means she doesn’t have a design philosophy per se. “It’s more of a gut feeling about what things are going to work, the same as with clothes; it comes naturally,” she explains.
While the house after years of neglect was “not in great shape” and required a complete revamp, renovations paid heed to the
“IT’S ALWAYS BEEN AN ASPIRATIONAL THING TO LIVE IN A HOUSE THAT’S SO DEFINITIVE OF LA”
site’s architectural significance. “We didn’t drastically change the house,” clarifies de Ruiter. “We wanted tot keep that integrity, keep it true to its intension and just basically redo everything in a more restorative way rather than give it a redesign.”
Now the open-plan interior, drenched in LA sunshine and with views out to the hills of Los Feliz, evokes a sense of serenity and timelessness, a feeling enhanced by couple’s shared decorative vision. “We wanted it to feel cosy and welcoming but not contrived,” notes de Ruiter. Douglas fir wood throughout brings warmth, while natural tones, fibres and textures provide a neutral backdrop for the skilfully curated collection of objects, furnishings and artworks. “We used lots of simple washed linens, cotton canvas, wool mixed with ethnic vintage patterned textiles. The hardware throughout is unlacquered brass, which patinas nicely with wear, and all the rugs are vintage,” says de Ruiter.
The kitchen is the stylist’s favourite space, where the family often gather and where she loves to cook for friends. “Simple, casual food, lots of it, nothing too precious, great music, and small, intimate groups of friends,” she says.
But it’s the living room with its generous views of Franklin Hills that guests gravitate to at sunset. And it’s here too – comfortable and cosy, surrounded by very beautiful yet unpretentious pieces – that de Ruiter’s gift for evoking such perfect harmony is as clear as the blue horizon beyond.
Restoration remained true to the original footprint of the house. Here in the living room, the original fireplace was left intact. Heirloom slipper chairs are covered in Libeco linen. An Alma Allen bronze bowl complements the custom unlacquered brass...
The office: the desk, made by Jed, faces out to the pool. Old photos show de Ruiter’s mother in her modelling days and de Ruiter as a child. The vintage Tizio lamp and vintage red lamp are from LA’s Rose Bowl flea market. De Ruiter and her daughter...
The kitchen’s floating shelves display pottery by Heath Ceramics, Akio Nukaga and Victoria Morris.
Jessica de Ruiter stands in her living room in front of a built-in couch and side table containing a wood box. Vintage fabric covers the cushions and a vintage kilim rug lies on the floor. On the shelf are Stan Bitters ceramics; a Victoria Morris...
Vintage safari chairs flank an Alma Allen walnut table. The bookshelf cleverly stores a wall bed that folds out for guests. John Divola’s photograph Dogs Chasing My Car in the Desert hangs on the wall.
Australian shepherd Blue follows his family around the pool. A Stan Bitters pot is planted with an olive tree while creeping fig vines climb the walls.
Six-year-old James’s bedroom, where a Tamar Mogendorff swan from her grandfather hangs above a vintage iron bed painted the palest of pinks.
A still life of vessels in various shapes perch on a floating marble shelf.