Megan & Aaron’s tropical Los Angeles setup — nestled behind a porn shop

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me!The offbeat occupant: Megan Finley, Associate Publisher for the Offbeat Empire, and her husband Aaron, a sound engineer, plus two dogs and a cat.

Lives in: West Hollywood, CA, USA

What’s the ‘hood like? Weho is a strange place. In the really swanky part (West of Fairfax Blvd) it’s a glamorous gay mecca with hot clubs and restaurants and bars. In the not-so-swanky area (East of Fairfax, West of La Brea) it’s gays and old world Russians colliding in a peaceful harmony. I live in the less glamourous area… behind a porn shop.

What makes your home offbeat? My house, as it is now, combines not only my stuff and my husband’s stuff, but also the antiques I inherited from my parents. So it quickly went from a hodge podge of random shit to an amazingly decorated home quite recently.

Of course, even though we spruced it up a bit with the antiques and nice furniture, we still maintained our silly personalities with things like a giant shark head mounted to the wall, doors that go to nowhere, bright orange details (my favorite color), Hawaiian accents, and found and repurposed artwork.

The front door

My favorite recent repurposing project was the curtains in Aaron’s record room/guest room — we turned a piece of his Pollack-inspired artwork, on un-stretched canvas, into curtains and then made a make-shift headboard by pinning an extra canvas strip into the wall!

our guestroom

What also may set my situation apart from most apartment dwellers is that my parents own this building. So, when we moved into the unit we got to renovate a few things. We picked custom tile for the kitchen, and custom vanities in the bathroom.

the kitchen

What are the biggest home decor challenges you’ve faced, and how did you solve them?
My biggest challenge is my husband! Aaron and I have completely different ideas about decorating. We never fight more than when we do over decor. Crazy, right? I wish I could say that we’ve come up with a compromise or solution, but we haven’t yet. We both still hate certain things about our living space, but just deal with them because the fights are annoying.

our living room

We also have one of those horrible neighbor situations. I live above the guy who calls the cops on a Saturday night, while you have another couple over for dinner, because you’re laughing to loudly. And another neighbor who is the overly-friendly type. I don’t REALLY want to talk about how my folks are doing to a guy I barely know while I’m barefoot and braless because I’ve just popped outside to get the mail. I guess I deal with that by dreaming of the day that we will own our own home and say goodbye to these particularly annoying neighbors.

Our bathroom

What’s your favorite feature of your home? There are several awesome things about this apartment:

  • The high ceilings. It feels so spacious and we were able to do things like hang doors and funky shark heads on our walls.
The Pleasure Chest
  • The view from all our windows. In the kitchen and the office you can see out over our wonderful neighborhood porn shop, The Pleasure Chest (where, if you’re lucky, you get to see awesome things like this). From the guest room you can see the most gorgeous sunsets. And from our bedroom there’s an amazing view of the Hollywood Hills.

our bedroom

  • I absolutely LOVE how large our bedroom is. I’ve been able to fit book shelves, a dresser, storage benches and two bedside tables (and a fake tree) into the room and it doesn’t feel cramped at all. I think the mirrored closets really help. I highly recommend them.
  • I live in the same building with one of my very best friends from childhood.
  • I’ve turned the balcony into a little succulent garden. I never knew how much I loved plants until I started to display them on the balcony. I don’t have a backyard, probably won’t for a LONG time but that balcony is the closest thing I have to a peaceful outdoor space. A lot of Offbeat Bride posts get written on that balcony!

my balcony

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from this home? I learned, and am still learning, to live with someone else. I have never had a roommate or lived with a partner before Aaron came along and we moved into this apartment. It hasn’t been easy. Even though I grew up with two younger siblings, I’m still really bad at sharing.

Our living room


What’s your grandest plan for the space? Now that I finally have our living room furniture reupholstered, and our guest room/Aaron’s record room all organized we’re pretty much done with all of our big projects. I got the official “NO MORE DECORATING PROJECTS!” from the hubs. Though, I love to decorate, though, so… we’ll see. 😉

my office / bar

Sometimes I think that I’d like to make our dining room an actual dining room. But, we never eat proper meals at home, nor are we ever eating together. So, for now, it’s a second lounge area and also my office space. Maybe one day we’ll be big kids enough to have a dining room table. Who knows!?

my office

I’d also love to turn our en suite bathroom‘s stall shower into a laundry center. Enlarge the shower entry enough to fit a stackable washer and dryer inside. You know… REALLY piss off that downstairs neighbor.

But my even grander plan? … To move out of this apartment into our own single family home. It will be mine! Oh yes, it WILL be mine.

Enough talk! Show me the decor porn!

Comments on Megan & Aaron’s tropical Los Angeles setup — nestled behind a porn shop

  1. I’m in love with your balcony! We have a similar sized space in a rented flat that really needs some inspiration. At the moment it’s horrible and neglected. Not sure I can get away with outdoor succulents in the UK though….

    • Even before I started taking care of the plants, just that indoor/outdoor green carpeting and the bamboo wall covering made it look almost finished on it’s own.

  2. I love the door above the piano, which reminds me:

    Where do people find old doors?! I’ve seen DIYs for cool things (headboards, etc) that use old doors, and they always say: “old door — $0”.

    I’d have to go buy an old door …probably from an overpriced antique shop.

    I’d love some suggestions as to where I could scavenge one!

    • Both of those doors were found at garage sales by my husband. I included notes over on Flickr about where all the stuff was found if your still curious. But we’ve also found some other door-type things just sitting on curbs.

    • If you want free, it’s a lot of legwork and luck, finding old houses/buildings that are being torn down, a great piece on the curb, or knowing a collector. Another option is to look up Architectural Salvage shops. They’re not going to be free but they’re going to be a hell of a lot cheaper then the antique stores.

    • I don’t know if this is common but habitat for humanity operates what’s called a ‘Re-Store’ up here in my area. People donate old building supplies, furtniture, etc and they’re sold to make money to build houses. They even have HomeDepot floor model or returns sometimes. We’ve gotten a 70’s dresser we turned into a vanity ($40), a glass vessel sink ($80), an industrial floor polisher (husband has put wax finishes on all our floors- $100), and all of our light fixtures ($5-$15). They have a tonne of old door, mirrors etc.

    • The gay porn theater across the street from the porn shop used to have the names of the movies they were showing up on the marquee. Now THAT was always fun to come home to. I think “Rear Factor” was my favorite.

  3. Megan, your home is BEAUTIFUL. I love the owl rug and orange mac! I like you because you clearly love owls and orange which are my faves too! Made me smile to see the owls and orange in your home. <3

    • My husband found it at a strange thrift shop in Burbank I think. He was just driving by and it was sitting out front. Oddly enough, just two days before, a friend of his mentioned seeing this shark head as he was driving buy and thought about buying it for Aaron, but he couldn’t remember where it was. And then BOOM! Two days later Aaron drives by it as well. It was fate!

  4. No wonder the Offbeat Empire is overflowing with awesome: with creative souls such as Megan and her home…’s a guarantee! I love that we get to know each other through weddings and babies, but when you see a person’s home, you REALLY get a sense of the person.

    • Yeah, when Stephanie proposed the idea of doing staff tours for launch, my brain almost exploded! Since we all live in different cities, I’ve never seen my editors’ homes! It’s so awesome to get to peek in…

    • I totally agree Tina! You really get to know who someone is when you step into their own little section of the world. It’s so weird that I’ve been to Ariel’s home twice and she’s never been to mine. Well… until now… virtually. 😉

  5. So that candle holding coral seems vaguely familial to a Offbeat Bride post about non-floral center pieces I recall…
    Your place looks so nice and fresh, I’m kind of inspired to get our place jazzed up. 😀

    • Oh, my place will NEVER be “magazine-style tidy.” I’m the slobbiest slob that ever slobbed. This is actually the cleanest our apartment has EVER been. Which was why I was extra happy to take pics! HA! 🙂

  6. In my heart, I hope the porn store you live near is Pleasure Chest..just because I love it so 😉 Not asking for a reveal (you never know who’s out here in the wild wild ‘net), just giving a shout out to a great store!

    • Ahw, I’m dorktastic–just clicked through the morsels and saw that it is! Best nonjudgemental sex positive place!
      I hear you on the design clash between partners, but I think it’s exactly what makes your place have such an organic unique personality–plastic sharkhead over a vintage botanical print? High 5!

      • YES! The Pleasure Chest is amazing. We actually featured a bride on OBB who worked there (I won’t give away who it was bc she didn’t reveal WHICH porn shop she managed herself). But we’re like a little family. 🙂 Whenever you’re there next, look up from the parking lot and you’ll see Aaron’s curtains.

        And I’m so thrilled you “get” the whole funky shark head juxtaposed with the Audubon thing. Who woulda thunk it. 😉

  7. We just bought a house a few weeks ago and found a brand new door in the bedroom closet (weirdest place in the world to find a brand new door). We’re going to seal it, stain it, and replace the front door with the new one. You have inspired me to turn the old door into awesome recycled wall art. =)

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