Actress Kristen Gutoskie uses emblems and knickknacks from her travels to turn her eclectic Silver Lake living room into a “well-rounded and harmonious space,” and a theater to view the abundant flora and fauna surrounding her.
In particular, one “life-changing” trip to Peru left its mark on Gutoskie, and in turn her living room, in the form of musical instruments and spiritual artifacts — including a carved wooden head.
“We were staying in Sacred Valley at the bottom of this waterfall with mountains around, and there was almost a head carved out into the mountain. We felt like it was a symbol of protection,” said Gutoskie, 31, known for her work on Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” and NBC’s “Chicago Fire.”
“This man was selling crystals and paintings he made, and had this head. It’s made out of palo santo,” she said, referring to the Latin American rainforest tree related to frankincense and myrrh. “The hippie in me really enjoys the smell of it.”
A beige hide hand-drum was also a Peruvian market find, along with a percussion shaker and a flute that’s “impossible to play,” she said.
An array of succulents in woven yarn holders and a Navajo sand painting over the fireplace reveal her love of the desert and its influence on her. A “vintage desert color scheme” of pale green and other muted colors mixed with burnt orange — present in the salt lamp and throw pillows — creates a warm and cozy atmosphere, she said.
The living room has a large window overlooking the sunny backyard, surrounded by tall cypresses and a “magical lemon tree,” brimming with little visitors.
“There is always some butterfly or hummingbird just dipping in and out of the leaves. It makes you feel present. A little squirrel lives in those tall trees and a few times he peeked his head out,” she said. “It feels like a little oasis where animals get to frolic.”
Gutoskie has a hummingbird tattooed on her wrist and believes “they come at times to affirm.”
Why is this your favorite room?
Whenever I sit in this room I just feel at peace. It’s really calm and kind of magical. It’s also a place to get friends together and where my partner and I relax. I like to play music in here, so it’s got this creative, collaborative, yet calming vibe.
How would you describe your aesthetic style?
A mix of vintage, a little Midcentury Modern and minimal. I kind of like bohemian style and my partner is more minimal, so we tried to find a happy medium there. There are definitely desert influences. There’s something really relaxed about being in the desert, something really alchemizing.
This is an amazing dolphin coffee table.
This is a vintage coffee table I got at the Rose Bowl. The glass is scratched and it’s imperfect, but I kind of love that they’re a little worn down.
Love these framed photos.
I got them at the Melrose Trading Post; one represented a vintage California feel, and then the one on the right I felt like it was a really strong woman. I had actually just written a song called “I Am Woman,” and that picture kind of reminded me of the motivation behind that song. And my boyfriend took the photo in the middle; that was a little Polaroid of the first weekend we ever hung out in Palm Springs. We went bike riding and he framed it.
Favorite memory in here?
The first night we moved in. We were so excited to have a space that was ours with a yard, it felt like a home already — even though it was our first night. We set everything up in here, shoved all the boxes in the other rooms and at least made this room feel livable. We lit a fire and sat and had wine and were like, ”We’re here, in our dream place.”