Airbnb recruits James Franco, Lake Bell, for pop-up houses across L.A.


Silver Lake residents may wring their hands over neighbors renting out houses on the travelers website Airbnb, but some high-profile L.A. locations will be rolling out the welcome mat for the company next week. With the help of celebrities including James Franco, Lake Bell and Anjelica Huston, Airbnb is installing pop-up houses -- modern mini-studios from prefab manufacturer Kithaus -- at locations such as the Viper Room (Moby) and the Grove (Molly Sims) for four days starting Friday. Plans also call for entertainment and activities.

Spokeswoman Emily Joffrion said designer Emily Henderson was brought in to serve as chief liaison, translating celebrity questionnaires about style and inspirations into actual interiors with the help of additional designers.

“You think you know these people because they are in the public eye, but then you get their questionnaires back and you see these curveballs, in a good way,” Henderson said. Here’s a rundown of three pop-ups. More details and schedule at


James Franco
Designer: Matthew Lanphier
Location: Hollywood Forever Cemetery
The look: A custom paint-by-numbers artwork serves as a 1970s-flavored, bohemian backdrop to the giant “YOLO,” the acronym for “you only live once.” “It’s a trite hashtag right now, but we’re trying to use it ironically, since we’re at the cemetery,” Henderson said, laughing. “That was our wink at him to show his mischievous side.” Other elements: a hand chair based on the design of Pedro Freideberg and a headboard upholstered in vintage leather scraps stitched in a random pattern. Out of view: an exterior wall the design team is calling “the mausoleum,” with 32 placards printed with quotes from Franco’s favorite authors and equipped with miniature vases of fresh flowers, just like a real mausoleum. “It’s kind of creepy and totally awesome,” Henderson said.

Lake Bell
Designer: Justina Blakeney, with additional input from Bell’s mother, interior designer Robin Bell
Location: Traction Avenue at East 3rd Street in the downtown L.A. arts district
The look: Lake Bell wanted a layered look with elements of Moroccan and Turkish design, Henderson said. “We’re mixing a lot of pattern and a lot of color.” Textiles for the bed will push the eclecticism, and two artworks by Lake Bell’s husband, tattoo artist Scott Campbell, will hang on the walls. “It was tricky to figure out how all that Moroccan would not feel like a set in the middle of this industrial neighborhood,” Henderson said. Modern street art “will speak to the arts district location.”

Anjelica Huston
Designer: Orlando Soria
Location: The Cook’s Garden by HGEL, 1033 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice
The look: Huston’s design survey came back full of Baroque and Renaissance references, said Henderson, who translated the romance of period design for the coastal setting. Hand-painted floral and butterfly wallpaper provides the backdrop for beachy teal accents. Instead of a traditional bed, the room will have a daybed as a relaxed, informal alternative. Huston likes mixing casual and luxe, Henderson said, thus the abundance of cashmere in the pop-up. The chandelier is an Italian antique, she said, but the overall ambience is “casual and calm.” Finishing touch: sculpture by Huston’s late husband, Robert Graham, on the deck.


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