8 Things
Fashion Designer Kristen Lee of TenOverSix

Most people, if given the luxury of a third bedroom in a house they share only with a spouse, might choose to turn it into a guestroom, or a studio, or maybe a study. Kristen Lee, a stylist and co-owner of L.A.’s fashion and design emporium TenOverSix, turned hers into a walk-in closet. Step inside and you’ll discover rolling racks of designer and vintage, scarves tossed carelessly around a dress form, shoes lined up in neat little rows, a steamer in the corner, and accessories spilling out over the dresser. And yet for someone so clearly attuned to and obsessed with fashion, it’s not the clothes you first sense when you enter the Ed Fickett–designed, mid-century, Nichols Canyon home she bought last year with her husband and then “renovated the shit out of,” as she says. It’s the incredible proliferation of art. Stephen Shore, Banksy, Leopold Seyffert, Nan Goldin — and that’s just in the living room. “I’m kind of obsessed with art, and I try to collect it whenever I can,” Lee says. “I dream about going back to school to get my Master’s in it.”

In this context, the idea behind TenOverSix makes even more sense. Lee opened the shop in 2008 with her husband, Joe, and her friend and fellow fashion designer Brady Cunningham. When they decided the shop should be not just fashion but also lifestyle, Lee, who attended NYU and Parsons, brought in a 50-print Massimo Vitelli portfolio and turned to Dave Alhadeff, owner of New York’s directional design boutique The Future Perfect, to open up a permanent shop-in-shop with designs that fit the store’s independent-only premise. As for the interior of TenOverSix, the goal was to keep it as gallery-like as possible — all white, so that the product would speak louder than the design. “A lot of our displays are toned-down commercial versions of really crazy art installations we’ve seen,” Lee says. “The shoes all sit on chairs attached to the wall in a really messy configuration that comes from an assemblage sculpture I saw at the New Museum three years ago, and all of our bags hang from hands that extend from the wall — that came from a show at Deitch Projects.”

In other words, Lee is constantly on the hunt for inspiration — she designs the store’s in-house shoes and handbags while Cunningham does coats and ready-to-wear — and she’s collecting wherever she goes. “As a stylist, I go to costume houses, thrift stores, and flea markets all the time, and I’ve always accumulated things along the way,” Lee says. Most things end up in her impeccably decorated home, which I visited last month on the day it was taken over by a catalog shoot for the L.A.–based landscape company Woolly Pocket, and eight of them are shared here.

necklace

Vintage and hand-crafted jewelry: When I arrived, Lee was wearing an amazing, architectural, mixed-metal cuff, which turned out to be the work of Anndra Neen, the Mexico City–born, New York–based jewelry-making sisters who made their TenOverSix debut last month. (That’s their necklace above as well.) The sisters hand-craft pieces made from copper, brass, and nickel silver at their workshop in Mexico City. “We actually just did shoe collaboration with them, with all of these little metal pieces on the front of the shoe,” Lee says.

necklace2

Vintage and hand-crafted jewelry: The aforementioned cuff. Lee is obsessed with vintage jewelry as well; her engagement and wedding rings date back to the 1920s and “have amazing detail,” she says. She typically tends towards more sculptural items, like the Brutalist-inspired pieces sold by Nomade Exquis, a traveling jewelry line run by Lee’s friend Mo Clancy.

cindy sherman

Cindy Sherman: This limited-edition, silk-screened tea set, which depicts Sherman as Louis XV’s mistress Madame de Pompadour, represented a huge chunk of Lee’s wedding registry at Moss. “I love so many modern artists, but she really stands out to me,” says Lee. “She constantly reminds me how much fashion is a costume that we all wear everyday. The hyperbole of her art helps me not take fashion too seriously... which can happen.”

cindy sherman_back

Cindy Sherman: “I never use the set out of fear of ruining it, but if I did… Her tea set with some scones, that’s a good time.”

kingsley

Kingsley: If Lee has a muse, it’s Kingsley, her French Bulldog/ Boston Terrier mix, whose hunt for backyard bunnies was on when I visited. “My house is like a shrine to him. It’s kind of sick,” Lee says.

kingsley2

Kingsley: Much of the commissioned art in the house revolves around Kingsley. For her birthday, Lee’s husband Joe gifted her this portrait by Los Angeles–based pet photographers Furtographs.

kingsley3

Kingsley: “I got this stencil from a girl in Echo Park who was selling these as part of a silent auction for a friend of mine’s arts foundation for kids,” says Lee. “I kind of wanted to tag all of Los Angeles with his face.”

sculptor

Stan Bitters: “In New York, I really only appreciated refined old porcelain and fine china,” says Lee. “This earthy world of pottery was a great discovery upon moving out here.” Lee was turned on to Bitters — the California sculptor who recently created a textured fireplace wall at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs — by a landscape designer friend. “He’s having a bit of a resurgence because these people out in Silver Lake opened a gallery space for him.”

outside

Stan Bitters: “Since moving here," Lee says, "I’ve begun to appreciate more handmade, bohemian art and ceramics like his,” including the backyard pendant lights created by Heath Ceramics’ Los Angeles studio director Adam Silverman. “His newest collection is this lunar surface, crazy bubble stuff, so he made these for us with that same technique. They look beautiful at night when they’re on.”

tchotchkes2

Tchotchkes: “The best thing to pick up while traveling. I always seem to come back from a trip with some odd doll, miniature, postcard, snow globe, Japanese eraser, or other semi-useless thing,” says Lee. Some of them, like the shrunken novels in cigarette boxes at the bottom left, become stock for the store.

dayofthedeadbizman

Tchotchkes: “This is a Day of the Dead statue we got on our honeymoon in Mexico. It came with a bride, but I lost her.”

KL_bar

My Husband’s Bar “Our friends have a store in Silver Lake called Lawson Fenning,” says Lee. “It’s amazing mid-century, but all very warm and rustic. That’s where we got this. I’m pregnant so I can’t drink, but standing in front of this bar I can’t help but feel the desire for an old-fashioned or a gin martini. That’s a Slim Aarons photo that hangs above the bar. I like to imagine I look like her when pouring a drink.”

woollypocket

Florals: Coming from New York, where she used to live in the flora-free East Village, Lee is crazy about florals. (She kept many of the Woolly Pocket installations, one of which is shown above.)

justin beal

Florals: One of her obsessions: a pink floral chair by the Los Angeles artist Justin Beal. “There was this really beautiful floral pattern on an invitation to a Memphis Design showing from back in the day,” Lee explains. “He colored it pink, had it printed, cut out little pieces, and then pasted it on to the chair. Just too perfect to pass up.”

d4577b8d633f5fc90be0496978e65ba1_large

Florals: The flower-printed Susana bag from this season’s TenOverSix collection.

shoe

Shoes. Shoes. Shoes. An archival shoe made from a print Lee did off an old William Eggleston photograph. “I’ve been designing shoes for the past eight years,” says Lee. “Before TenOverSix, I had a shoe line called Kristen Lee. I just adore them.” (She points to being Pisces, known to be ruled by the feet.) “Roger Vivier, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Vivienne Westwood are my heroes.”

closet

Shoes. Shoes. Shoes. The third bedroom-turned-walk-in closet. Its primary occupant? Shoes.