A Creative Couple’s Spanish-style Apartment in Echo Park
Photography by Ryan James Caruthers
This week we’re back in Los Angeles visiting the beautifully curated home of photographer Ryan James Caruthers and designer Jon Anthony. The charming Spanish-style apartment sits atop a hill in Echo Park, and, over the past three years has become both an inspiration and a sanctuary for the couple's shared love of art, rare objects and design. We spoke to Ryan and Jon about the intuitive and rewarding process of infusing new life into the apartment and asked them to share some of the stories behind their most cherished vintage finds.
“The space holds a lot of charm and character, which is what drew us in when we were looking for our next home. The building has a very unusual castle-like ambiance with some incredible views of the city. The rooms feature vaulted ceilings with ornate linework, curious wooden built-ins, and white plaster walls decorated with original Spanish gothic sconces and motifs. We had originally intended to replace the fixtures to fit our aesthetic, but we eventually learned to lean in. Our goal is to retain the natural charm of the space while opening up a new dialogue with our curated additions.”
Ryan and Jon’s bed is dressed with an IN BED Heavy Linen Bed Cover in Natural with matching pillowslips.
“Our bedroom is currently very minimally styled with the aim of creating a space purely designed for sleep. On the right side of the bed, a wooden fish sculpture by Korean artist Minjae Kim is encased by a found ornamental carved frame. Beneath the sculpture is a crown-shaped elm chair attributed to Olavi Hanninen. There is also a vintage Akari-style lamp resting on top of an octagonal arts & crafts style side table on the other side.”
Our bedroom is currently very minimally styled with the aim of creating a space purely designed for sleep.
Ryan and Jon’s guest bed is dressed with IN BED 100% linen in Lake.
“Our spare bedroom serves as a guest room and workspace — Jon’s great-uncle had built a rotating side table for his grandmother, which now sits beside a vintage wooden bedframe with unique cutouts.”
“We are continuously collecting pieces that hold emotional resonance, and we tend to gravitate toward objects that have lived many lives. As we acquire different pieces, we tend to shift items from room to room — to the place where they fit our space best at that specific moment in time. Our taste in design is different enough that the crossover presents as a nice sweet spot — a balancing act between the beauty in craft and objects that tell stories. Jon is regularly seeking more intimate ceramics and tchotchkes, while Ryan is typically looking for larger statement pieces such as chairs and lamps.”
Jon is regularly seeking more intimate ceramics and tchotchkes, while Ryan is typically looking for larger statement pieces such as chairs and lamps.
On the sofa is a pair of IN BED Heavy Linen Cushions in Natural
“One highlight is the large-scale painting that sits in our living room. We found the framed mural buried behind stacks of chairs in a vintage store in Pasadena. The piece was a sketch of The Battle of Hastings, done in 1935 by Italian artist Pasquale Giovanni Napolitano as a commission for the Federal P.W.A. project. We originally had intended this piece for our bedroom, but upon getting it inside — we realized that at its height, it would only fit in the living room.”
“Another new favorite piece in our home is a handcrafted bent aluminum and walnut bookstand, designed by UK based artist Louie Isaaman-Jones. The bookstand utilizes vintage roman loom weights on string cords to weigh down the pages of a book. Our collection of art books has completely overflowed from the built-ins onto stacks on the floor throughout the rooms of our home. We will most likely eventually drown in them.”
Ryan and Jon’s table is set with an IN BED Table Cloth in khaki.
“We are large appreciators of craft, so we have a growing selection of ceramic work, mostly from Japanese artists and potters. A specific favorite is an 18th-century Kurawankazara plate — Japan’s first version of to-go plateware created with the rise of food stalls. It was apparently common for people to throw these take-away ceramic plates into rivers, where they were then found over a hundred years later.”
In the kitchen is an IN BED Napkin set in Pine Stripe.
“There are a lot of great pockets in LA — we are east-siders at heart, and we love supporting local businesses around our area. Bucatini is a women-owned Italian pantry store with a great assortment of authentic Italian ingredients, pasta, snacks, and more. Bacetti & Tilda are neighborhood go-to’s for classic roman-inspired Italian dishes and natural wine, and Jon worked on the interiors and branding for both spaces.”
“Elysian Park is just steps from our home, so we are spoiled with access to hikes at a moment’s notice. We are frequent attendees of exhibition openings at Marta, a gallery around the corner from our home that focuses on showcasing new artists working in art & design. The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena is one of our favorite art museums, they have an outstanding collection of European paintings and a superb outdoor area."
Ryan: “I’ve been working as a photographer for the past decade. My work tends to oscillate between various genres including portraiture, landscape, and fashion. My upbringing is rooted in fine art, so I am naturally drawn to emotive work and printed matter. I’ve always seen myself as somewhat of a collector, so I have become quite encyclopedic when it comes to photographs and visual references. I see photography as a method of visual communication — at least for those who wish to engage with a photograph.
Aside from photography, I have worked as an Art Director for various clients and recently co-founded an L.A.-based creative studio called TOAD. Regardless of the creative discipline I am working in, I aim for all of my projects to feel distinct and palpable.
I find myself returning to the same themes while creating — identity, queerness, and human emotion. I’ve recently been exploring my relationship with the environment and how that is reflected in the images that I am making. This search has taken form as a long-term landscape project, which will eventually be published as a book.”
Jon: “I was formally trained as an architectural designer, but I have always been more of a multi-hyphenate, working across different art disciplines. My former position at a boutique architecture firm granted me the chance to navigate various fields such as interiors, branding, and creative direction. Most recently, I’ve been working on an exciting mix of residential projects as a Designer at Studio Shamshiri, an LA-based interiors firm.
In addition to working in architecture and interiors, I also make ceramics and freelance as a Set Designer for both photoshoots and video campaigns. There is something nice about the mix between working on short-term projects versus the longevity of an architectural project.”
“At Shamshiri I have been working on a lot of kitchens, which prompted us to take a closer look at our own apartment’s kitchen — a room that didn’t hold the same weight as the rest of the home. We embarked on a kitchen update with the help of my brother, to bring new life to the old cabinets and backsplash. Since we are not the owners of the apartment, we had to come up with creative solutions to alter the space without a complete renovation. We added a new wood backsplash with a shelf to display objects, new wooden hardware, and repainted the cabinets. We’ve enjoyed styling the kitchen and adding unconventional pieces like freestanding lamps, artwork, vintage textiles, and found objects. Hopefully when we do leave one day our landlords like what we’ve done.”