At Home with Paradise People Founder Elizabeth Kennedy
Welcome to Mama Cribs, an FM Journal series where we shine a light on the gorgeous homes inhabited by inspiring mothers.
Photos: Ryan Eng
When you combine one part down-to-earth with one part sunshine, then add in a vibe reminiscent of LeRoy Grannis’ photography with the Southern California defining cool of Dogtown and Z-boys, it’s likely you’ll find yourself hanging out at the home of Fashion Mamas LA member Elizabeth Kennedy. The home — a cool mid-century style bungalow — is located on a hard-to-score, generous-sized lot in the Westside's Del Rey neighborhood. It satisfies the active nature of two young boys, while also fulfilling Kennedy’s need for a peaceful retreat. Kennedy, owner and designer of Paradise People, has managed to pull off what many parents (including this author) find impossible: creating a modern family home where high energetic toddler life and tranquility can harmoniously coexist. Below, Kennedy shares her design secrets for creating this magic.
Who do you live with and how would you describe the vibe of your home?
I live with my husband Andres and my two sons Ollie (3 1/2 years old) and Otto (1 1/2 years old). Our home has positive, neighborhood-y vibes. It’s the kind of place where any friend or family could pop in anytime. We always have people coming by, whether it’s to eat a meal, buy a blanket, or skate the halfpipe — it’s an open-door policy.
What attracted you to your home?
We were initially drawn to our house because it was turnkey ready to move in and renovated by the Novogratz Family. When we purchased the home, my oldest son was one years old at the time and I knew I wanted another baby, so we wouldn’t have time for home improvements. With the Novogratz team we knew we were getting a creative, well-designed space.
What kinds of items do you love to surround yourself with?
I like to surround myself with clean, neutral items to counterbalance the craziness that inevitably ensues when you have two young boys. My Aleksandra Zee wooden wall hang I commissioned captures the vibe and color palette I'm into. I’m a huge fan of plants; they look so fresh in our space and also help to clean the air. Some of my favorite items, including beach glass mobiles and small pottery trinkets made by my mama, bring a smile to my face every time I see them in our home.
Where do you and your family spend the most time in the home and why?
Hands down, my family spends the most time in the kitchen. We even have a couch in there, because someone is always cooking, eating, or climbing on the counters.
What is your favorite place in your home?
My favorite place is my work-in-progress garden, which is situated next to the boys’ halfpipe. They can skate while I dig in the dirt.
It’s not every day that we see a halfpipe in someone’s yard! What inspired or prompted your family to add this fun element to your space?
We added a halfpipe to the yard because skate parks are so crowded and my kids are still so young. The kids really gravitated towards skating after they were exposed to the sport by Andres and my brother Cory, who is a professional skater. After a few (scary) trips to the skate park with my one year old, we decided that it was best for them to have a safe space to do what they love. So, we rallied together a bunch of my brother's friends to build our own halfpipe. Andres and Ollie love DIY projects, so it was fun for them to work together.
The half pipe gets a lot of use, not only from my own kids, but from friends and family — it's a cool activity that can connect a bunch of generations.
Describe the nursery.
The nursery is a mix of stuff we’re all into. For instance, there is an old surfboard of Andres’ hanging on the wall, that I think he hopes will work some voodoo magic and instill a love for surfing into his little guys. There is a fluffy rug in there for me, so I can lay comfortably while they play around me. Otto has his basketball hoop because he loves to dunk everything possible into it and Ollie has a train table.
What is your favorite thing about the nursery?
My favorite thing about the nursery is its size, because we can also utilize it as a playroom. We have a ton of cars and ramps, because that is what the boys tend to play with the most. I mean, I find and keep Hot Wheels in my purse! It’s such a classic toy, we even shared with the boys some vintage Hot Wheels from our very own childhood collections. I’m super into hand-me-downs or found objects. One of Ollie’s most beloved ramps is a large piece of plastic he found at the beach.
What is one of your favorite items in the nursery and why?
Some of my favorite items in the nursery are the books my mom kept from my childhood and passed onto us. It’s a bit magical to reread the stories you loved so much as a kid to your own children. One of my favorites is Miss Rumphius.
What are some of your favorite things to do with your children in your space?
We really love to dig in the dirt, make homemade pizza, turn the sprinkler on and run around the yard, cozy up and read books, take warm bubbly baths, turn the music up and dance, and have backyard movie nights with all our friends.
Where do you shop for home decor items?
Thank you Elizabeth for inviting us into your super rad home!