House of Who designer Rosa Hu’s home is a sparkling oasis hidden in the hills of Silver Lake. Brimming with greenery, crystals, orchids, skulls, incredible tapestries and other one-of-a-kind finds from her worldly travels, the space is bursting with color and texture but still manages to feel open and airy. What’s most impressive is that Rosa designed the house herself and put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into it.
It’s certainly paid off and now serves as the perfect backdrop for her elaborate, more-is-more jewelry creations.
We asked Rosa what her vision was, how it all came together, and why she chose Silver Lake. Take a tour and listen in.
I naturally have a tendency for a lot of color, texture, and sparkle.
You mentioned you essentially designed your entire home yourself. What was the inspiration behind it, and what was the process like?
Yes, I did not have an architect or interior designer and did design my house myself with the help of a structural engineer that could provide the parameters of what could realistically be built. I won’t lie, it was torture at times and I did feel as if I lost a part of my soul in the process, as well as my sanity and savings! But, I also did discover a lot about myself creatively and otherwise. I think every structure is first and foremost built to best enjoy/accentuate the environment it is in, so the inspiration for this particular space had to include a lot of outdoor space, decks, and glass to view the Silverlake hills and something that would fit a long skinny lot on a hill without being too obtrusive to the existing bungalows that had been here for 100 years. Also, I naturally have a tendency for a lot of color, texture, and sparkle so I needed to build a house that would be a suitable backdrop for all of my over-the-top decor and ended up choosing a sort of modern industrial stark museum space with lots of high ceiling wall space for my tchotchkes.
I couldn't help but notice tons of repeating motifs throughout your home: owls, orchids, skulls, and poufs. Are these all just things you gravitate toward aesthetically or is there deeper meaning behind any of these?
Well, I’m a bit of a hoarder when it comes to things I like because I do like repetition in visuals – it seems to tell a deeper story and make a bigger impact when there are multiples of things. Orchids remind me of my mother who passed away almost 10 years ago, and I’ve always loved flowers. Owls are just cute, fun, and kitschy. Skulls bring a dark edge that I’ve had an affinity for since my teenage goth years (haha), and crystals bring a multitude of enjoyment from their raw beauty to their energetic qualities...more on that later.
What part are you most proud of?
I would say the simple fact that I completed this home despite all the obstacles along the way is the thing I am most proud of! I had never attempted anything of this magnitude before, and I am very proud of myself for accomplishing it! I fired my contractor halfway through and completed it with many teams of subcontractors and my friend as foreman. I found myself doing things I’d never imagined, like leveling uneven foundation and other sorts of crazy construction! I have been a clothing designer by profession my entire adult life and had not the slightest experience in physical labor like this!
What was the biggest challenge?
OMG, everything! From moving out of my home of 15 years into a rental and then into a bedroom of my friend’s house with my 2 dogs + a suitcase because the project went over schedule, to the non-stop hemorrhaging of money, to the sexist demeanors of the city inspectors and contractors, the setbacks… But at the end of the day, I have learned so much and anything after this experience will be a cake walk!
You've been in Silver Lake since before it blew up. What made you decide to settle here then, and how has it evolved?
I’ve been here over 15 years and have always loved Silver Lake. I liked the architecture, the reservoir, the closeness to downtown (where I worked for many years), the diversity of people, and it used to be really affordable believe it or not! I had a lot of friends that lived here and it had a creative bohemian vibe where you can kind of just hide in a fairy tale, (especially on my street with all the big trees and stairs) but still be right in the middle of LA. It is very different nowadays with all the lofts going up, the gentrification, and the influx of conventional residents with normal jobs and strollers… It was more “colorful” before, but I still love it here.
If you only had one day to spend in Silver Lake, how would you spend it?
Before the remodel, I’d maybe take a long walk through the neighborhood to admire the architecture and then have dinner and a couple drinks at a local place… Now a perfect day would be spent at my home with Roxy, maybe a friend, and a bottle of wine and take-out. There really is no place like home.