Jewelry designer’s style adds sparkle to California home
A period gas range in Amanda Keidan's 1947 bungalow in Los Angeles, California's Venice Beach. (Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times/MCT)
A clear skylight helps fill a bathroom with daylight in Amanda Keidan's remodeled 1947 bungalow in Los Angeles, California's Venice Beach. (Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times/MCT)
Jewelry designer Amanda Keidan relaxes with her two dogs in the living room of her newly redone 1947 bungalow in Los Angeles, California's Venice Beach. The square panes in the custom made leaded glass window are recycled from a local commercial building. (Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times/MCT)
LOS ANGELES — As a designer of custom jewelry, Amanda Keidan sometimes takes delicate vintage pieces and reworks them into intricately sculptured, modern collections.
The same could be said of her sunny, art-filled Venice, Calif., home, where gold accents blend with sparkling glass and vintage barrel chairs share the living room with new Ikea ottomans and a cool lamp bought off the flash sales site Gilt.
“Everything is very specific,” Keidan said of her decorating style. “I want your eye to look at something. I like having things to look at — things that are pretty.”
In the otherwise all-white cottage kitchen, a startling blue contemporary triptych by Venice artist Melissa Harrington catches your eye. In an otherwise staid, traditional guest room? A red abstract painting.
“I enjoy those pieces every day,” she said, noting that the red painting was by her grandmother. “Those pieces make me happy.”
Keidan’s passion for art is not surprising given her background: Her great-grandfather was pianist Leopold Godowsky. Her grandparents were Leopold Godowsky Jr., a violinist and co-inventor of Kodachrome film, and Frances Gershwin Godowsky, sister to composers George and Ira. The multitude of artworks throughout Keidan’s house creates an ambience that is elegant yet whimsical — and deeply personal.
“I love that there is a story behind each artwork,” she said. “It’s as though my friends and family have left thumbprints on my home.”
She purchased the three-bedroom, two-bath house last year after looking at more than 100 properties in the last four years. She had, she said, given up when she visited the Venice house, where friends from London had been staying. “It was a little like the cliche you often hear about falling in love,” she said, laughing. “Stop looking and you will find it.”
After convincing the owner to sell, Keidan embarked on a four-month renovation to give the 1947 home a cleaner look.
“I wanted it to be light and airy and cheerful,” she said.
Mustard and red accent walls were painted museum white and soothing neutral tones. The exterior went from dark blue to more white. New windows were installed to bring in natural light, and new landscaping made the most of outdoor spaces too. Small fixes, such as smoothing the home’s warped walls, helped to achieve the clean-lined look Keidan wanted. And though much changed, Keidan was careful to keep what worked: the original floor plan and striking leaded glass windows that Keidan said were from the old Helms Bakery on the L.A.-Culver City border.
For Keidan, who grew up in New York, the result is much like the Venice community she has grown to love: an eclectic space that doesn’t conform to one particular style — just like her jewelry. “I tell my friends to start with pieces they love,” she said. “And go from there.”