Groovy 1970s Retro Pad at Los Angeles

“If my walls could talk, they’d say thank you,” says Lorena California. It was in total disrepair before this wardrobe artist, stylist and classic boutique owner renovated her Echo Park, California, home with her celebrity husband, Johnny Sleeper, she says. Now each corner welcomes 1960s and ’70s style, from high-pile orange shag carpets to lemon-colored modular vinyl cabinets that save eight-track tapes. Feeling groovy? Get ideas for your own mod pad out of this dream home that is exuberantly.

at a Glance
Who lives here: Lorena California and Johnny Sleeper
Location: Los Angeles
Size: 1,650 square feet; 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms
That’s interesting: The house is allegedly haunted by a kitty ghost termed Peachfuzz Kelli Pop.

Alex Amend Photography

Alex Amend: what’s your preferred furniture bit?
Lorena California: One of my favourite furniture pieces are these classic 1960s Broyhill modular vinyl cupboards. The lemon and lime colors I like even better than the Raymond Loewy bits they’re knockoffs of. We utilize the credenza to shop and play classic records and eight-tracks.

Carpet: Linoleum City; credenza: classic Broyhill; chair: classic

Alex Amend Photography

AA: What’s your latest splurge?
LC: This floating sofa is among my favorites and is something I have always dreamt of owning. In reupholstering the couch in that color I splurged. One of my best friends works for Kelly Wearstler and could not believe I had exactly the exact same sofa Kelly was now pricing out to go into production.

Design notice: The high-pile orange shag carpeting is really area rugs using the bindings cut off and laid as carpeting.

Carpet: Linoleum City; sofa: classic; shelving: classic Umbo

Alex Amend Photography

AA: Tell me about this particular space.
LC: I really like the yellow Umbo shelves, I have classic Barbie cases and other items on them, but I’m not sure any trinket or knickknack could outshine the shelves themselves. I also find the materials plastic and Lucite really appealing. They’re just so pretty and shiny.

Carpet: Linoleum City; shelving: Ikea and classic Umbo; chair: classic

Alex Amend Photography

California constructed a loft in one of the bedrooms to create a workspace to get her three-dimensional vintage-inspired collage art, which decorates many of the walls in her property. She says, “It is just a much better way to display amazing stuff than at a drawer. I always include one thing in each collage I truly don’t need to part with.” Many of the furnishings and collectables include Los Angeles flea markets, including eBay and Fourth Street in Long Beach, California, also called “Retro Row.”

Carpet: Linoleum City

Alex Amend Photography

AA: If you have four famous people over for dinner, who would you invite?
LC: John, Paul, George and Ringo.

AA: What would be in your soundtrack?
LC: The Monkees’ greatest hits.

Carpet: Linoleum City; table and seats: classic

Alex Amend Photography

Lorena reissued Formica counter tops and remodeled the kitchen with classic appliances. “The countertop is an original Formica pattern from the ’50s that was reissued a few years ago when Disneyland revived Tomorrowland,” she says. Working pinball machines light up the space beyond.

AA: What do you love most about your city?
LC: Los Angeles is my oyster. Though I’m pretty much a homebody, if I wished to go outside and do anything, I certainly have the alternative. When we are not playing at home, a favorite neighborhood spot is the local Pins and Needles pinball arcade.

Alex Amend Photography

AA: Was sourcing materials for your renovation a challenge?
LC: It’d have been a whole lot easier if granite, stainless steel and hardwoods didn’t make me gag!

Carpet: Linoleum City; shelving: classic; chair: classic Herman Miller

Alex Amend Photography

During the remodel, California place a window above the bathtub to gain access to the previously inaccessible roof space above the carport. That space now houses a hot tub and a sundeck. “We had to jump through a lot of hoops to get the permit to your window to go in,” she says.

AA: What advice would you offer other homeowners going through a renovation?
LC: You shouldn’t just double your worst-case-scenario estimate. You need to triple it.

Glass Floors: Modern Home

Alex Amend Photography

Many of the things in the home were found at flea markets rather than always in the best state, including the pendant lamps at the master bedroom. “They were gray with decades of filth and dust, but those spaghetti lamps always clean up if you soak them in the bathtub with dish soap to get a day or two,” California says. “Cut out the wiring, but it’s cheap to replace that and the swag chain at the hardware store.”

AA: Do you have some other home jobs in the works?
LC: We just did the master bath, but we’d like to update the fence in front yard so that it’s accessible from the living room.

Wallpaper:; carpet: Linoleum City; lamps: classic

Alex Amend Photography

Each surface in her home holds something dear to California.

AA: Tell me about your collections.
LC: ” I like to accumulate female fetish figures, Dolly Lollies and the like; bright colors; trippy designs; Lucite; ’70s maxi dresses that were weird rehash mashes of ’60s psychedelic themes. I’m ever refining and honing, upgrading and replacing.

Carpet: Linoleum City

Alex Amend Photography

AA: How can you select your color scheme?
LC: I really like the citrus palette for the downstairs, highlighted with java store turquoise to your kitchen. Pink and red for love in the bedroom, and I’m sure most folks would agree, however, lime green goes with whatever.

Carpet: Linoleum City; dresser: classic Broyhill; chair: classic

Alex Amend Photography

Johnny Sleeper and Lorena California, together with kitty Gingersnap Snickerdoodle.

AA: Can your home decor influence your fashion and work for a wardrobe stylist?
LC: It will. It need to live, if you love it.

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