An Artist Couple Transformed Their Century-Old LA Home Into a Colorful Work of Art

If history is anything to go by, Devon Oder and Adam Miller redecorate best under pressure. The year 2015 was when the LA-based artist couple first put the theory to the test. As newly expectant parents and newly minted homeowners of a circa-1932 home in LA’s Eagle Rock neighborhood, they were determined to renovate and move in before the birth of their baby. But their son, River, had other plans. He arrived early, and Adam moved in by the skin of his teeth while his wife and son recouped in hospital. Then, a few years later, it happened again. The couple, who co-own The Pit, a contemporary art gallery, set their hearts on another remodel, working against the clock to finish before the arrival of their second son. (This time they succeeded.) “Both times were a true renovation story miracle!” Devon muses, “But truly, this home is so special to us because it is where we started our lives as parents and as a family.”

The living room is a time capsule that keeps on giving. The ceiling beams and hardwood floor are original to the home. The arched bay window is not, but it’s an addition that’s just as worthy, as evidenced by the sweeping view of the front garden. The Lulu and Georgia couch, the couple notes, is large enough for the whole family. “It’s where we watch movies, play card games, listen to records, relax, and hang together the most,” says Adam, who designed the ceramic side table by the fireplace himself (his fine art work is also currently part of a solo show at The Future Perfect). A chair by Michael Boyd sits to the left, playing host to a stack of books and a Jennifer King ceramic. Atop the Modernica coffee table rests an incense holder from Adam’s new ceramics line, Reaperware. The wooden side table is a Dan John Anderson design. The mantel is enlivened by a blue and white ceramic by Tony Marsh.
The staircase assumes a Bohemian quality, thanks to a wooden hand by Ryan Schneider, a neon-esque Keith Boadwee painting, and a vibrant vintage rug. The planter is a Reaperware design, while the yellow and white bookends are by Viola Frey. Jennifer Rochlin and Jonathan Casella are the respective artists behind the Wonder Woman ceramic and clock.

The ambitious timing was never part of the plan, but there was one thing that the couple wanted from the outset: a Spanish-style home with a history. “It was more for Devon than me,” says Adam of his wife, who grew up in California and for whom such a house was a long-held dream. So when they chanced upon this one, a Spanish-style home on a flat lot on a quiet street, online, they toured it the next day and made an offer within 24 hours. “We walked through the front door, saw the beautiful light flowing in through the arched window, proceeded to the backyard and pool, and were sold. There is something timeless about old Spanish architecture set among the hills,” he adds.

The dining room is a labor of love that Adam and Devon designed to “be comfortable for every meal and not feel too formal.” The walls are covered in artworks by friends of the couple. Chief among them are a pigment print by Heather Rasmussen (left), a painting by James Ulmer (center), and a pair of hanging stoneware objects by Jennie Jieun Lee. The artistic skills of the couple’s sons, River and Logan, are equally represented, in the way of paper ornaments strung to the chandelier and pinch pots perched on the credenza. Speaking of the credenza, it also plays host to ceramic novelties by Ruby Neri, Magdalena Suarez Frimkess, Emma Kohlmann, and Simone Bodmer Turner.
The sunlight never ends in the dining room, thanks to French doors that overlook the courtyard. Atop the dining table sit ceramics by Viola Frey, Emily Marchand, Masaomi Yasunaga, and Bzippy. Liz Marcus’s ceramic dinosaur plates, as well as paintings by Craig Kucia (center) and Bella Foster enliven the wall. The kilim is a vintage find. Modernica was the brand of choice for the planters.

For every upside, there were multiple downsides. Case in point: the kitchen and bathrooms, which looked like they’d been retiled sometime in the 1970s and never ever touched since. Adam and Devon didn’t necessarily see it as a bad thing. “We are both dreamers who love a good project. We couldn’t imagine moving into a home that was newly renovated by someone else. This home had all the character but needed to be brought back to life,” shares Devon, who roped in her sister, interior designer Chelsea Weeks, for the interior redesign, and general contractor Jason Houck of Landmark Building for the execution. She and Adam also sought the services of landscape designer Jessica Viola for the landscape replanning. That first remodel set the stage for the second a few years later. “Our tastes evolved over time, so it felt right to go back and redo a number of things,” avers Adam.

The kitchen is a vision in blue and brass, thanks to matte cabinetry and metallic fixtures that somehow seem to electrify each other. The dishware, cups, and mugs are all handmade by Adam for his new ceramics line, Reaperware. The apron is a work of art by Emily Marchand.

This time, they went bigger and bolder, dialing up the color and pattern with thoughtful artworks, books, and textiles. Some things that made the cut? An Erik Frydenborg artwork, gifted by the artist himself, in the primary bedroom; a print by Gary Panter, one of Adam’s personal heroes and whose work the couple once exhibited at their gallery, in Logan’s room; and bowls, platters, mugs, and vases handmade by Adam for his functional ceramics line, Reaperware. Yet most meaningful of all, the couple notes, is the Joey Ramone photograph on the bookshelf in the living room, a wedding gift from Devon to Adam the night of their wedding. “It was picked up at a gallery in Portland, a city that is significant to us. The first exhibitions of Devon’s work after graduate school were at a gallery there. “I grew up in the Pacific Northwest so our trips to the region for Devon’s shows as newlyweds were very special. Add to that the fact that both of us are lifelong fans of the Ramones,” enthuses Adam.

The primary suite—created by combining two neighboring bedrooms—is a kaleidoscope of color, thanks to a poodle painting titled Just Be Good to Me (2022) by Sophie Larrimore, a beige Erik Frydenborg abstraction, and a monkey artwork by Nikki Maloof. A Weave Hello stool by Agnes Lukacs adds texture to the setting, as does the vintage kilim rug underpinning Modernica’s Brasilia Chaise. The bookshelf is a custom design by Sven Barth. Face vases by Maryam Yousif rest on the credenza. The ceramics on the floor are by Simphiwe Mbunyuza.
Dark blue millwork injects a pop of color into the otherwise pared-back bathroom. A painting by Lisa Sanditz punctuates the wall. The rug, vase, and lights are from Block Shop, Heath Ceramics, and Rejuvenation respectively. The tile was sourced from Tulum.

What they didn’t need to change, they didn’t. Exhibit A: the walls, which they kept white and tamed with lime plaster to channel attention to the art on display. They took a similar approach with the floor, retaining the original hardwood in the living and dining areas, and the earthy Granada cement tiles in the kitchen and bathrooms and around the outdoor fireplace. “We wanted a place that felt warm and inviting, something that wasn’t too precious and where you could live with art and be creative, feel relaxed, and have spaces to unwind in with family and friends,” says Devon. They achieved what they set out to, although the couple admits that their home is always a work in progress. “We never feel like it’s done,” she adds. “We are always adding to our art collection, buying a piece of furniture by an exciting designer, and adding our own pieces to the home. We like to be surrounded by things that are meaningful, beautiful, have history, and a story.”

Cheerful prints dominate the playroom by way of a Katherine Bernhardt beanbag, a vintage kilim rug, and art by Takeshi Murata (left) and Brian Belott.
The couple’s older son, River, is as artistically inclined as his parents, it seems. Lego monuments, colorful skateboards, and art animate his bedroom. There is also an IKEA drawing table, complete with art supplies, and above it, a blank wall to display his creations. The photograph in the white frame is Nick Cave’s Soundsuit #2. The lamp is an IKEA design, while the Moroccan rug is vintage. The Keith Haring skateboard propped on the floor holds a mirror to River’s proclivity for the sport.
As the couple explains, their younger son, Logan, loves all things monsters, Godzilla, and King Kong, “so this wallpaper was perfect,” says Devon. A Gary Panter silk screen print takes pride of place by the bed. The print, and more specifically the artist, are special for Devon and Adam. “When we showed his work at our gallery, he traveled all the way across the country with his band to perform for us. It’s such a special memory.”
The backyard, the couple admits, is their second-favorite place to be (the first is their living room, watching movies or playing card games). “It is so relaxing to sit on the deck. During the summer, we’re able to barbecue while the kids swim, and spend time with friends by the fireplace. We can be here all day with the palm trees swaying over us,” says Devon, who tapped Viola Gardens for the landscape design.

Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest

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