Tour French Fashion Influencer and Creative Jen Azoulay’s LA Home

Jen Azoulay, founder of Jen Wonders Studio, had previously lived in a Haussmann-style apartment with elaborate moldings in Paris’ 9th arrondissement, and was ecstatic to tap into her true style when she and her husband, Arnaud, and their two sons (14 and 8) moved to Los Angeles in July 2021. “I’ve always been drawn to mid-century furniture and aesthetics, so for me it was a real criterion when buying,” recalls Jen.

yellow cabinets

woman in chair

After months of house hunting, the couple came across a 1,800-square-foot single-story home on a palm-lined street in the San Fernando Valley, and Jen immediately fell in love with its circa 1956 beamed ceilings, even though it was considerably smaller than theirs. rent and was in urgent need of refurbishment. “The pandemic and the challenges we faced during that time made it clear that buying a home for our family was a necessity,” she explains. “I wanted to invest and be smarter with my finances.”

large dining table

It took six months to renovate the house, and the family lived in the space for four of those houses. “Which was a challenge, having the kids around with the dust and the workers [going] back and forth,” says Jen. While hiring two different contractors (one for the inside, the other for the outside) to do the big job, Jen and Arnaud were on site every day, paying attention to the smallest details, right down to the light switches. Arnaud, who is adept at Photoshop, initially made mockups of the rooms to help them visualize everything, while Jen put together mood boards and tackled a few DIYs, such as painting the living room shelves.

yellow bed

modern lounge black chair

open closet doors

The biggest obstacle was redesigning the main bathroom from scratch. (When the couple bought the house, the space was a converted garage, so it had no windows or proper plumbing). With the help of their contractor, they built new dividing walls and installed new plumbing, opening up the concrete driveway. In the guest area, however, it didn’t have to be so carefully thought out. “Just got a green sink that I loved and went with it as the statement piece and worked around it,” shares Jen.

green bathroom sink

The oak hardwood floors and crisp white walls and ceilings (Jen chose Behr’s tried-and-true Ultra Pure White paint color) visually open up the space, while sparse furnishings add some character to the living room. She scooped up the pink velvet couch before even moving in after seeing it in Pop Up Home (she wasn’t even in the market for new chairs at the time).

u-shaped pink sofa

marble desk

pink couch

“I started FaceTiming my husband and wondered if he would get mad at me for buying a big pink couch,” she says. While she was waiting for him to answer, another customer walked in and tried to buy it. Jen immediately jumped on the purchase. “Now I can say it was the best decision I made!” she adds. The vintage marble desk, with its declination of pink and terracotta hues, plays nicely with the nearby U-shaped cross section, but so does the emerald stone pedestal. “Green and pink mixed together is one of my favorite color combinations,” she notes.

yellow kitchen cabinets

After spending a good chunk of their budget on sleek windows, with skinny coated walls and the oak floors, the couple decided to save on their kitchen cabinets and master bedroom wardrobes by going with IKEA cabinets. Jen had them painted and fitted to perfection by adding pieces of wood to the top, bottom and sides to create a built-in effect, before swapping out the hardware for a truly custom look. “Designing the open kitchen was no easy task – everything was measured down to the last centimeter,” she recalls. But the transformation was not flawless. They didn’t think to map out where all the new electric would go until they made some of these major upgrades. “Switches, outlets, sconces… once you start using drywall, it’s too late to go back and change your mind,” she says regretfully.

yellow kitchen

Even though it was Jen’s lifelong dream to own a mid-century home, renovating a home over 60 years old is no small feat. Along the way, she discovered that the roof was never insulated, and they spent a small fortune having several HVAC technicians figure out why the new air conditioner wasn’t cooling the house. “In the end, I learned the hard way that I couldn’t leave the contractor working alone,” she says. “Every small decision was crucial.”

ourdoor dining table

The goods

My favorite local home furnishings store: Motti Casa

Where I buy garden supplies: Mickey Hargitay Plants

The most used object in my house: My Nespresso machine.

My biggest splurge: The authentic Le Corbusier chair in my bedroom.

Who to know?

I liked working with…my husband. I made the mood boards while he spent hours making renderings for me.

The nicest contractor I’ve ever met: Eric Paseghian

Other highly recommended professionals: I loved working with KNR Sliding Doors. They have placed the glass divider in the kitchen and have done a very professional job.

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