It is finally time for another home tour, and I am so trilled to show you the home of two very good friends of mine. First time I met Puno and Daniel was in LAX, I just landed and they were on their way to Copenhagen – we had swapped apartments for 3 weeks. Ever since we have stayed in contact, gone on trips to Cape Town, Palm Springs and Big Bear. Since I stayed in their apartment in the Art’s District, they have moved to an incredible loft in Fashion District, DTLA. Get to know Puno and Daniel in the interview below and enjoy the tour.
Please introduce you guys?
Hi, we’re Puno and Daniel. We’re the Founders of PeopleMap and live in downtown Los Angeles with our insta-famous cat that has… 3000 followers! Ayo! Daniel is a full stack programmer and I’m a web designer. We work from home and literally sit side by side building pixels on the internet.
When and why did you move here?
When we first moved to Los Angeles, we lived in Venice because I worked in advertising and most of the agencies are on the west side. We ended up being there for 8 years! The air is so nice and clean, you’re right by the beach, and it’s very ‘California’. After a while, we both quit our jobs and had newfound time for 2 hour leisurely lunches, but all of our friends were at work. It felt like my entire social circle had to change.
I started meeting new people through Instagram and I always ended up downtown. The more time I spent on the east side, the more I grew to love it and could see myself living here, but it wasn’t until I house sat a girlfriend’s house downtown that I was like, “Yes, I totally want to be here. There’s something happening in the city right now.” This was 2014, when downtown was on a cusp of a renaissance and there was this visceral feeling that things were picking up.
We moved to the Art’s District, which I consider to be the suburbs of downtown. It was our gateway to living in downtown. Two years later, we moved to the Fashion District and now, we’re right in the mix.
What is it about DTLA you love so much?
I love being here at a time when everything is growing and changing. In the past five years, downtown has grown its footprint from 54,000 residents to 75,000 residents. You feel it in the foot traffic, street traffic, in restaurants – and I love being a part of that. Daniel and I felt the same shift happen in Venice.
The other thing I love about downtown is its community. You’re constantly walking to the grocery store, gym, or going in and out of shops, so you see a lot of the same faces. It’s dope to have that sense of community, something I didn’t feel as much living in Venice. I love the types of people who live here too. Downtowners are usually cool and easy-going, not averse to risk and unbothered by the daily minutia of living in a part of LA that’s a bit rougher than other neighborhoods. I think downtown breeds good character.
What changes did you make before moving in?
Our Venice bungalow was 500 square feet and our loft now is 1,500 square feet, so figuring out how to fill the space was a big change. I also wanted to incorporate more color since the previous tenants were friends of ours who had a minimalistic, more subdued aesthetic – much different than my own. Apartments have a lot of default fixtures, it was important for us to make the place our own while not ruining anything. Gotta get that deposit back! One of the best things we did was building cabinet doors and painting them all white to make the space feel wider and brighter. It was such a dramatic change for the better!
What didn’t you want to change?
We didn’t want to change the white walls. I like white walls. The windows were also really nice. When we moved in, an architect friend of mine, Tyler, had already put in these floating cabinets from Ikea, which looked great and I’m grateful he added that.
What objects hold a special meaning for you?
My Angelica Houston poster is special because I made it myself. When I was an art director working in advertising I wanted to learn Illustrator, so I’d illustrate different celebrities every week. She was probably my 40th one and when I finished it I though, “Oh yeah, this is my style.” It’s one of the first things people see when they walk in and I think it sets the tone.
Another thing I love is a big canvas print of bread I have in the kitchen. The photo was taken by my friend Maria Troconis of Grafikisto and I thought it would be rad to blow it up. It ended up being super cheap — we printed on Canvas by Pictorem. I love bread, Daniel loves bread, so it just makes sense!
How do you choose which items enter your home?
That’s a great question. I used to be so strategic and careful, photoshopping thousands of chairs into my living room before making a purchase or shopping for hours to make sure I had chosen the right thing. Now I’m a bit more loose.
Ultimately, I want our space to look amazing. Some homes you walk into and you just feel so special. I wanted that feeling for myself. Daniel and I put a budget together that was going to go almost completely towards buying furniture, since we didn’t have any to sell first. Since Daniel and I rent, we don’t know how long we’ll stay here so we didn’t want to spend too much. I think we dropped around 10 grand. The most expensive thing was the sofa because we had that custom made. One of my friends, Ivan Navarro, is an interior designer and when he moved he got everything done quickly and I was like, “Yes. That is what I want to do.” Wee got it all done in about a month or two. It was tough and I didn’t work on much else aside from that during the time, but we made it happen.
How has your style evolved over the years?
Oh my gosh. My style used to be so bad. I remember using Pinterest as a source for inspo and I was just really basic. I didn’t think to search for furniture designers. Fortunately, I was later exposed to Danish furniture and Swedish design when I stayed at your place. That, plus traveling to design-forward destinations and staying in someone’s curated, personal home instead of a hotel impacted me a lot. The second turning point was having my friend Tyler Thomas, architect of Venn Studio, gave me a lot of furniture and interior design direction to help me figure out what my style was. Milo Baughman lead me to other similar designers. I finally had the right search terms like “retro futurism.” It helps to know how to verbalize what you like and what you’re looking for. Once you have a reference point, you can more easily educate yourself and dive down the rabbit hole of who’s creating what, what time era is your favorite, without having to rely on West Elm or Ikea catalogues. I still peruse those, but am grateful I have other references.
Which materials are important to you?
I don’t know if I’m answering this question correctly, but the glass windows are such an important part of the space. This building was built in the 1920s and still has all its original glass, so there’s this interesting warping effect that happens when light shines through them. It brings a lot of personality to the space. I love how they’re paneled, the color they give off, and how friggin’ tall they are!
When are you happy at home?
I’m always happy at home. My favorite times of the day are the mornings and evenings because that’s when the sun sets and sun rises. It’s a couple things: first, the transition between the start of the day and the end of the day is nice. Second, the mood in our home changes. There’s a beautiful glow in our home and I love visually feeling the transition from day to night.
What do you think makes a welcoming home?
Aesop soap. Haha, I don’t know why, but it just feels special being able to wash your hands with something fancy. Aside from that, an open kitchen plan is really welcoming. It instantly gives people a place to hang out. The couch we have is so, “wow” and “oh my gosh”, but I’ve noticed people feel like they can’t touch it – it’s weird. Typically everyone congregates around the island in the kitchen because you can stand and don’t necessarily have to sit down.
What’s your favorite oldest interior piece and what’s your favorite latest purchase?
My favorite oldest interior piece is the Milo Baughman table. I fucking love that table. First of all, it’s not a replica. I got it off Etsy for $800, which is crazy because it’s huge. I’m a messy person and the surface is easy to clean, too. The perfect table for me. Plus, the color and shape is so unique. When I first saw it, I showed Daniel and was like, “It’s done. Purchased.” I didn’t hesitate at all, whereas with most big purchases… I hesitate. With that table though, it was such an obvious choice – the price point and the style.
My favorite latest purchase is our Heath collection. We haven’t gone all out yet, but we’re adding to our collection bit by bit. Every time we do, it’s the best because they’re the best plates ever. My tip: invest in a few pieces, just get two at a time and slowly build from there.
Which interior piece are your dreaming about owning?
I’ve been wanting a Cold Picnic rug forever. It’s been on my list and honestly, anytime Daniel and I talk about going on a trip somewhere I think to myself, “Oh man. That trip’s going to cost $3,000-$4,000. I could buy a Cold Picnic rug for that price!” Ugh, I need a massive one – it has to be 10 x 12 ft, so it would have to be custom. I already know the price for it and I’m not sure I can do that right now, so yeah. I would love a gigantic Cold Picnic rug!
If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?
Anywhere by the beach, anywhere hot. I love laying out in the sun. Even though I live in Los Angeles, I still feel pale and my legs need more sun.
Next travel destination?
Favorite travel destination?
Palm Springs or Joshua Tree. They’re so close to LA so it doesn’t feel like a drag or a chore to get to. There are a lot of fun new things popping up and all the homes are beautiful. I love being able to relax and hang out in someone’s house versus having to actually travel. I guess I like vacations where you don’t have to do anything.
If someone is visiting DTLA for the first time, which places would you recommend?
It depends on who you are, but Grand Central Market is an easy go-to because it’s such a melting pot of cultures. You get both a diverse group of people and food. The food is really bomb. There’s a lot going on there. The second place would probably be Med Men. Haha, if you’re out of state or you’ve never been somewhere where marijuana is legal, I always say go to Med Men cause it’s fun to see the Apple Store version of marijuana. I also like taking people to the Los Angeles Athletic Club, my gym, because it’s a piece of history. It’s from the 1900s and looks like it’s straight out of a Wes Anderson movie where you go in there.
3 favorite Instagrammers?
My favorite right now is Donte Colley because he just blew up and is a great dancer with an amazing, positive vibe. I’m going to be that person and tell you I followed him before he blew up because I sure did. Maud’Dib the Cat is a great one. You should follow her. I’m kidding. I always see what Solange is up to, and… I really like Pilar Zeta. Not an Instagrammer, but I always look at #beychellachallenge. I love Beyonce’s fans that can dance
Photos by Allan Torp