Growing up in Los Feliz, Sam Leiaghat spent many weekends at the Rose Bowl Flea Market, tagging along with his parents, Reza and Hilde, as they shopped for vintage wares.
“They were really good at finding vintage pieces, or pieces that needed a little love and care, and adding to them,” Sam Leiaghat says. “There was always something interesting — and inexpensive — that we would get at the end of the day, like a vintage sailboat or an antique rocking horse.”
His father, who owned four home stores with Hilde, remembers their shopping excursions fondly. “We always had our eyes open for treasures,” he says.
She adds: “One time Reza came home with a huge airplane propeller from WWII. He likes unusual items. My design background is more classic and traditional.”
As the founder and chief executive of the direct-to-consumer bedding brand Loomstead, Sam Leiaghat’s passion for affordable luxury goods is a direct result of his parents’ influence.
So when he purchased a dated ranch home in Studio City in 2015, it was not surprising that he would transform the home using the “swap meet mentality” he learned from his trips to the Rose Bowl Flea Market.
“It wouldn’t make sense for me to buy a ready-made house,” says Leiaghat, 32. “Common sense would tell me to look for a home that was ‘done.’ But I don’t have common sense. I always look for things that need work. That’s how you put your personal touch on things. My family’s approach is to find the house that no one wants and make it feel like a home you built yourself.”
His parents were initially surprised by his choice. “The house needed a lot of work and sat on the market for six months,” his father says. “It was broken into a million rooms.” They quickly changed their minds, however, when they saw Sam’s vision for the house. “When he told me that he wanted to open it up, I could see where it was going.”
Despite an odd floor plan that transported guests through a narrow living room, dining room and kitchen to access the rest of the house, Leiaghat viewed the three-bedroom, two-bath home as an opportunity to put his stamp on a dwelling that, like his parents’ vintage treasures, “needed a little love.”
For Leiaghat, the ranch house was less a style than a challenge: How could he preserve its charm while making it his own?
The house may have been a challenge, but the result is everything Leiaghat had hoped for: an up-to-date, sleek and sunny bachelor pad that honors the 1941 home’s postwar roots.
He started by removing the wall between the living and family rooms to create an open living area. The simple move had an immediate effect, as the two rooms now are bathed in sunlight and blessed with an airy, welcoming flow.
Adding a modern influence to the traditional home was a bit trickier, but Leiaghat ultimately realized it could be done by covering the traditional red brick fireplace with a smooth, dark gray stucco.
This gave the rooms a modern feel, in contrast to the home’s storybook ranch exterior, which is highlighted by a front porch, swing, red-brick-lined pathway and diamond pane windows.
He also stripped the supporting beams and painted them white, redid the floors, and removed built-in bookcases and paneling in the den to add further light and breadth.
Furnishings are a mix of contemporary and vintage finds, including the signature piece in the living room: a 1960s Brunswick pool table that Leiaghat found on Craigslist.
“It is such a statement to have a vintage piece greet you when you walk in to the house,” he says. “I always wanted a pool table, but I wanted a unique one. I searched for five months until I found it.”
The living room features modern furnishings by Harbour Outdoor, vintage leather side chairs and a console from the Long Beach Antique Market, as well as a brass bar cart from CB2 and muted Moroccan-style rugs.
The rooms are decorated with colorful accessories and artworks as well as the quirky accessories Leiaghat’s father is known for: vintage arrows, an antique record player and mounted surfboards.
In an effort to keep the home’s original charm, Leiaghat preserved the molding in the dining room, painted the walls vibrant blue and white, and added a contemporary pendant he found at a sample sale. “I like that we made it modern but it’s still traditional,” he says.
In the galley kitchen, he preserved the windows and charming Spanish floor tile and removed and replaced the appliances and shelving. “I wanted to make it clean and easy and user-friendly,” Leiaghat says of the kitchen.
True to his love of vintage, he uses an upcycled table as a kitchen island. “I like having the island there,” he says. “You can take it out if you’re having a big party and you need more space to work.”
Outdoors, Leiaghat realized a dream when he installed a pool and created an outdoor dining room. Now the house connects to the outdoors and allows Leiaghat easy access for entertaining and recreation.
“It has the comfort of home with a touch of funkiness,” Hilde says. “Sam made it a little more sleek and to his taste.”
Coming full circle, Leiaghat now spends the second Sunday of every month at the Rose Bowl Flea Market, where he is hosting a Loomstead bedding pop-up through December.
“So often as a child he would roll his eyes as if to say ‘Do we really have to do this?’” Mom says of their flea market trips. “But now it’s a passion of his.”
Sam Leiaghat shares a few of his favorite shopping spots:
Rose Bowl Flea Market: This is a Los Angeles staple shopping destination. I have spent many Sundays searching for treasures and typically leaving with something I never knew I needed. They also have a great clothing section filled with vintage and used clothing. rosebowlstadium.com
Rolling Greens: This L.A. nursery inspires me every time I visit. They have very cool displays, and it’s fun to try to re-create some of their looks at my own home. rghomeandgarden.com
HD Buttercup: I have been shopping at HD Buttercup for years, and it was always somewhere I dreamed of having a shop. hdbuttercup.com
Loveseat Vintage Furniture: I found out about Loveseat about a year ago, and it has been such a fun destination. Filled with vintage furniture and tucked away in DTLA, you get the feeling of a flea market and trying to find that perfect piece for the home. loveseat.com/la/
Galerie Half: This is such a cool store and draws some of the biggest designers and coolest celebrities. Always bringing in the most amazing pieces, I think this store best describes what L.A. design is all about. galeriehalf.com