Taylor Johnson is the kind of designer you want to be around. His home is filled with decades of inspiration. Stacks of books and records line the shelves and his collection of art and photographs tells his creative story. Moving from Atlanta, Taylor and his fiancé, April, packed up their life and drove cross-country in their 82’ Mercedes to the west coast. At first glance, it feels like they’ve lived there for years. We love when spaces ooze personality and this house is no different. Check out how this couple, their two kids and four animals make this space their home.
SWENYO: Tell us about yourselves.
Taylor: We’ve been together for about 8 years and we’ve been engaged for 8 months. I’m a designer, I worked at Adult Swim in Atlanta for about 3 years. I loved the job but just needed to be back here. I just recently started a video and design studio called Mortis Studio. We do animation, live action, design, and illustration, pretty much everything. I started it with my friend Dusty and Derek and we’ve been doing it for a few months now.
April: I do lots of things! I went to school for fashion and interned with my current boss for a year and a half and now Im a production manager for fashion show production. I also have my own business for event planning called A Ella Events and most recently started volunteering for my boss’s non-profit called New Path, which is parents for addiction treatment and healing.
So I do all of those 3 things but I’m most passionate about the non-profit. We also work towards policy change. We worked for Prop 47 and Prop 46, which support treatment instead of incarceration. We’re also working with the ACLU right now for legalizing adult use of marijuana in CA for this upcoming November ballot.
We’re also parents of two 10 year olds, Ava and Ethan. We actually met through playdates.
S: What’s the best part about working from home?
T: I can just walk to my studio in my underwear and I can play video games whenever I want. It’s pretty perfect,
I can’t imagine being in an office again. I loved working with the people I used to work with but there’s a certain freedom in it. I can work for a couple hours, but then I can go to the beach and eat some lunch, go surfing, come home and work and finish the day off.
S: So what’s the story behind your sweet bookshelf?
T: There were a few plywood shelves that I saw online that I thought were amazing but were insanely expensive. I figured I could probably build it. My dad has a bunch of woodworking stuff so I asked if he wanted to make these bookshelves for our new place. I drew up some plans, measured everything out, and made a lot of mistakes making them. We spent 3 weekends on it, that was the only time we could work on it. I love them though. They’re exactly what I was looking for so I’ll be keeping them forever.
"POOR STEEZY BOOKS"
S: Describe your home style in 3 words.
T: POOR. STEEZY. BOOKS.
S: Where did you get these dining chairs?
A: Not craigslist, I got them at an AmVets thrift store.
T: Yeah and she reupholstered them herself.
A: I’m a collector of chairs. At our last apartment we had about 50 chairs, all different.
So now I’ll take pictures of my home so I know where I can put a new chair before I bring it home unexpectantly. Chairs are my favorite thing.
That’s kind of how I brought Paloma, the puppy, home. I wasn’t going to tell him and the kids were in on it and I just wanted to walk in with it next to my face like “PUPPY!” but I figured I should tell him first. So finally I sat him down on the couch probably two weeks before we picked her up, and he looked at me like I cheated on him or something and I was like, “I have something I have to tell you, I got a dog, It’s not born yet.” And now she’s 9 weeks! All of our animals have hashtags. We have a corgi (Lolo) in the back and a cat (Dot) too.
S: What’s really special to you in your space?
T: Probably all of the books and then if I had to pick one thing, the picture of the kids.
A: Aw I can’t pick that? Okay, well in the corner is my parents record player. It was in their first house in the late 60’s, early 70’s and it’s still going. All we had to do was replace the needle. Oh and the mirror! So both the record player and the mirror are from their first apartment in Key West Florida. I had to steal the mirror from them because my mom changed her house to like straight up Pottery Barn cookie-cutter house, which is fine, that’s them.
S: How do kids shape your space?
T: Everything’s messy. They’re older now so they know not to grab my books because they can’t look at 50% of them. We let them pick their colors and what they wanted for their rooms but I feel like we definitely influence their style and what they do. Everything’s colorful. The house is so small so either they’re in their rooms, swimming in the pool, or sprawled out on the couch.
A: Ethan is particular about the things in his room, it’s funny how he’s starting to choose stuff. He’s probably going to start hating everything because they go through lots of phases. They’re so current with the internet. Taylor is the internet and I’m so far from removed that.
T: I’m really just 12 years old, I know all the things the kids are doing, all the gossip.