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The Room: The Dining Room with Jess Hannah

  • File Under: Life
  • Images: Jay Kim
  • Written by: Miles Griffis
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Off in the distance behind Jess Hannah’s Los Angeles home, the San Gabriel Mountains loom against a clear blue sky. The wind is high, offering a rare clarity usually confused by city smog. Here, thirty miles south of the mountain range, in the neighborhood of West Adams, the feather reed grass and lavender rustle as she trims a few choice sprigs to ornament her dining room table.

Entering her Spanish-style home, you are welcomed by toasted shades of ecru, accented with relaxed taupes. The living room flows through a large archway into a simple dining room, accented with tchotchkes and candle holders. Passing through a second archway leads you to the kitchen — light wood and handmade saltillo tile recall the shades of a painting in the entryway by Mattea Perotta — earthy browns and blushes. The long, continuous space concludes with French doors that open outward to a deck and well-kept yard.

 

 

 

 

“The house could have been politely described as a fixer-upper,” Jess says with a laugh. “The kitchen was totally closed off, the archways weren't there. Luckily, my fiancé Tyler is an architect. His goal was to open everything up so that you can see all the way to the backyard when the doors are open, so it feels more indoor/outdoor.”

In the kitchen, Jess assembles a late afternoon cheeseboard. As a host she is is spontaneous and causal, an enthusiast for etiquette, but smiling and open to all possibilities when it comes to entertaining. And like her DTLA-based jewelry line, everything she creates seems sumptuous. Her advice for a cheeseboard: “Keep it loose,” she says, “the key to good food is to go to the grocery store hungry! I think quality provisions speak very well for themselves”

 

 

 

 

Today’s hors d’oeuvres assortment boasts olives, burrata, hummus and mustard for the savory, and dates, sesame almonds and jam for the sweet-toothed. She lifts the large board and takes it a few steps to the dining room, where she sets it on the room’s centerpiece: a glass table for six. Two recesses in the wall are lit by a wide window. In their coves are an original Toyo Ikebana vase, kept company by a statuette from the Tucson Gem Show.

Surrounding the table are four Eames-style chairs from Modernica and two vintage rattan Cesca-style chairs. They're echoed by a shallow basket that reposes on a midcentury modern bookshelf in the corner. The bookshelf was a gift from her parents and holds most of her beloved tchotchkes: a wooden cat, a menorah, a crystal elephant, some porcelain herons.

Twist Blouse in White by NEED, Rings by J. Hannah

“I wouldn’t say the dining room is in it's final form, it’s always an ongoing process. One of my favorite pastimes is foraging on Craigslist and local flea markets. I consider my interiors to be a continuous, open project and that's how I like it.”

“I like tchotchkes that remind me of certain things. A lot of this reminds me of my parents or my grandparents. I’m more of a collector than Tyler,” Jess says as she pours orange wine into her grandfather’s crystal glasses — one slightly chipped — another small adornment that makes the space particularly personable beside the assortment of communal snacks.

Much like the cheeseboard that is transfigured as her friends sample bits of this and that, Jess is a fan of metamorphosis. “I wouldn’t say the dining room is in it's final form, it’s always an ongoing process. One of my favorite pastimes is foraging on Craigslist and local Flea markets. I consider my interiors to be a continuous, open project, and that's how I like it.”