In the house

Inside the Bright L.A. Bungalow of Two Candle Creatives

In 2015, Matthew Herman and David Kien, the couple behind the cool, minimalist line of home scents that is Boy Smells, were more than a little fatigued by their search for a new house in Los Angeles. So they expanded their search from the buzziest neighborhoods of Echo Park and Silverlake to Pico Union, which is wedged between Koreatown and Downtown L.A., and soon stumbled upon a 2,100-square-foot, lavender-colored cube with what David refers to as “Grey Gardens-esque” charm. Though the previous tenants had crammed the space full of detritus, with cartons lined up against the wall obscuring one of the two fireplaces, Matthew and David could tell that the place had great bones—not to mention a light pink kitchen that nearly matched their candle packaging. Here’s David on how they turned that kismet into a very ‘grammable live-work space.

“We work on the ground floor—hosting showroom meetings with vendors and suppliers and using it as an office space and for storage. Though the listing mentioned four bedrooms, one was absolutely tiny, so we removed all the doors and turned it into our development and smell station.”

“Our coffee table and little breakfast nook marble table are kind of a mix-and-match. We took the long, rectangular glass piece from this marble bottom and simply slipped it over cinder blocks for a low coffee table that fits perfectly in front of our green couch. To top the leftover marble base, we were looking to buy a round glass piece. One day, I was walking the dogs in the neighborhood, and someone had magically left behind a gigantic glass table top. I ran home, drove over, and shoved it in my car. I laid it on top of the marble, and it was another example of how this was meant to be.”

“Matthew and I both collect books about style—he used to be a designer, and I worked in fashion production.. Our candles started as an experiment that took off.”

“This is a CB2 couch we reupholstered and added new legs to after our dog ruined it. We have three dogs: Sally [pictured here], Mimi, and Hauke.”

“We love to collect anything that’s eye-catching or shiny! We store random, old pieces in the built-in bookcases, from Prada key fobs to dancing, robotic teddy bears.”

“Matthew hauled the chair all the way from Brooklyn. He’s obsessed with the eighties furniture aesthetic.”

“The house was originally from 1909, but it’s really an amalgamation of twenties, sixties, seventies, eighties, and nineties all rolled into one. The pink kitchen is definitely an eighties renovation, and we left it as it was. It’s pleasing to the eye, and since it’s the same general color palette as our branding, we had to keep it. The pink linoleum with black grout works really well together, and we offset it all with lots of plants, which we also keep tons of outside.”

“The eighties marble fireplace also came with the house.”

“When we first got this place, the walls were all lavender and blueish with an off-white trim. We ended up changing the walls to white and pale pink and adding a light white, slightly shiny color on the crown moldings.”