Artist Emily Green’s playful L.A. home
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Emily Green’s Los Angeles home is all about art and childhood. “It’s a house where you can play with everything,” Green said. “I want kids to feel like they can be themselves here.”
The playful interior of her small apartment is filled with handmade objects. A puppet hanging in the kitchen has coffee cup lids for eyes, a Gatorade cap nose and forks for legs and hands. In the bedroom of daughter Daisy, 10, tooth fairy boxes have been crafted from tinfoil, bright paper scraps and other throwaway items, pictured below. In Green’s bedroom, a portrait of her was painted by a former student on the back of a ukulele.
“My house is filled with things that inspire me,” said Green (not to be confused with L.A. at Home’s gardening columnist of the same name). “These are my resources. I want to make heirlooms using things that are simple to have around.”
That also means pieces of nostalgia as decoration. A bookcase in the living room is stacked with relics from Green’s childhood — “Madeline” books, a cash register, board games and Richard Scarry titles. There is no TV set, only her “imagination bucket” filled with scraps of fabric, toilet paper rolls, pipe cleaners — you name it.
Upstairs, a basket of Madame Alexander dolls rests in the hallway. Letterpress keys in a bowl await use in some future project. In the bathroom, vintage alphabet blocks from a Michigan flea market sit atop the medicine cabinet, while another set of miniature colored blocks in the hallway looks like an abstract artwork. The living room triples as an office and artist studio for Green, whose children’s line includes melamine dinnerware, place mats and wooden puzzles sold in boutiques nationwide. Tools of her trade — paint, pens and paper — sit on an enormous white laminate desk that’s used as a buffet for parties.
Green started her business six years ago, making place mats for friends out of her artworks. “I laminated them myself at Kinko’s,” she said. Soon, she was selling pieces at school bazaars and cold-calling businesses on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica (“Like a peddler,” she says, laughing).
Green’s mantra is that you don’t need money to be creative. “I want to live simply,” she says, so she edits carefully, keeping only what is important and deploying those personal belongings as mini installations. Daisy’s little cowboy boots were important, so Green didn’t throw them out. Instead, she accumulated the ever-growing sizes on a bookshelf.
“I’ve worked really hard to make it a house of love and spirit and creativity. It’s OK to make a mess,” Green said before adding slyly, “but I wouldn’t mind a dishwasher one day.”
-- Lisa Boone
Photo credits from top: Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times; Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times