Our Disney-Crazy House Is on Apartment Therapy!

After nearly five years of work on the place, our crazy Disney-filled apartment has finally been featured on Apartment Therapy! Getting it finished has been a labor of love and a labor of actual labor, and it’s the main reason I wasn’t updating this blog as much before our Disneyland Paris trip. But it was so worth it to finally have a place that perfectly suits our nutty taste!

Since Apartment Therapy wasn’t able to run all 74 photos and the ginormous captions I wrote for each, I’m putting them into this post for posterity. Or online time-wasting. Or both!

You can read the full tour here, which includes the whole backstory and a resource list of paint, wallpaper, fabrics, etc. If you’re in the market for some interior design services, contact our pal Leslie Landis, whose advice repeatedly saved me from making this place look like a Crayola box exploded.

All photos are by Apartment Therapy’s Bethany Nauert!

They aren’t kidding when they say to start decorating with the rug! I did the living room completely backward, starting with reupholstering a pair of Craigslist chairs in hot pink, and I spent years trying to figure out what kind of rug would look best. Finally, Leslie suggested looking for one with ALL the colors, and the room snapped together!

Patrick discovered original 1950 planters under some plywood in the foyer. He waterproofed them with pond liner and filled them with self-watering inserts to create an Enchanted Tiki Jungle.

The foyer was featured in Apartment Therapy’s Energize Your Entryway Contest.

We added colorful uplighting and a motion-activated speaker that plays Tiki tunes when guests arrive. The fountain and figures from Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room were created by Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily.

I spent years collecting the Disneyland attraction poster reproductions from eBay and the Disneyland Gallery’s Print-On-Demand system. I had custom mats cut and gathered frames during Aaron Brothers’ 1-Cent sales.

The gold plant stand was a housewarming gift from my aunt when I got my first apartment. The foyer’s three pendant lights are from West Elm.

The vintage slipper chair is the first piece of furniture I ever purchased.

The brass and malachite pulls are by jeweler Addison Weeks.

We weren’t crazy about the bifold doors at first, but we soon realized they are essential to keeping Nacho, The Cat With No Sense of Self-Preservation, from running down the stairs and gorging on all our plants!

I needed to find a place to use this impossibly impractical silk fabric I’d fallen in love with, so I opted for the least-used seat in the house: the piano stool!

Patrick was not a fan of the giant dance-studio-style mirror, so Leslie suggested toning it down with a console, lamp and stools.

I’m slightly embarrassed about not having a glamorous coffee table here. But the sole purpose of this room is putting up our feet and watching movies, so we had to go for comfort. Nacho doesn’t care either way!

We collect art prints every year at Comic Con, but none of the artists release large-scale prints. So we created a tryptic out of three smaller pieces by one of our favorites, Pascal Campion.

I found the ceramic whippet I call “Devo” at Circa Who in Palm Beach. Patrick has a side gig repairing Devo’s tail every time Nacho knocks over the fireplace screen.

The Martinique banana leaf wallpaper has been a Holy Grail item for me ever since I spotted it in the coffee shop of the historic Ambassador Hotel, which I got to tour right before it was torn down. You may also recognize the wallpaper from the Beverly Hills Hotel and the set of The Golden Girls.

I wish I could hide all four of the apartment’s hideous gas wall heaters behind folding screens like this one. At least we were able to refinish the worst offenders with high-heat engine paint.

I designed the media credenza to hold our home theater system and record collection, including cord cutouts in the back and a turquoise-lacquered interior. We had it built by a local craftsman for less than the price of a new credenza.

My biggest embarrassment is Joan Crawford-esque plastic on every part of our upholstered furniture that Nacho can get his jaws around. We spent hours pinning it to all the upholstered furniture in the house after the cat savaged our old couch.

We try to confine our Disney Crazy to this corner of the house… And the entryway… And the Haunted Bathroom

We weren’t sure what to do with this awkward corner of the living room until we hit on the idea of creating a reading nook. Don’t worry, earthquake watchers—Patrick’s collection of Muppet busts is secured with museum gel!

The figures of cast members from each land at Disneyland are by Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily. The colorful monsters are Beastlies by Leslie Levings. The “Rumba Pencils” animation cell was drawn by my dad for the Sesame Street short he directed in 1974. (That’s him in the photo on the shelf below with the half-shriveled Mickey balloon!)

I fell in love with these inexpensive curtains on Overstock.com, but they were too short. So I bought an extra set and had a seamstress use it to extend them to the correct length.

Nacho demonstrates the deterrent power of plastic furniture covers.

The original gato travieso.

The Heywood-Wakefield dining table and “dog biscuit” chairs were found on Craigslist. The walls are covered in Phillip Jeffries Manila Hemp grasscloth.

I designed the chandelier with help from Leslie’s styrofoam mockup and had it created by Lucent Lightshop on Etsy.

The candelabrum is a Florence Broadhurst design, and the monogrammed napkins are by Leontine Linens.

We spend most weekends hunting mealybugs and scale in our beleaguered Giant Bird of Paradise plants.

Some of the Jonathan Adler pieces we’ve collected via eBay can be seen on the dining room’s built-in shelves.

All of the art in the dining room is reproduction Mary Blair concept art for Disney rides and movies.

A trio of Mary Blair concepts for the never-built Western River Expedition attraction planned for Magic Kingdom.

All of the art in the breakfast nook is reproduction concept art for Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room and the never-built “Legends of the Enchanted Island” animatronic show for the Coca-Cola Pavilion at the 1964 World’s Fair.

I found the vintage barkcloth curtain panels being sold as yardage on Etsy and had them turned back into curtains.

I wanted to paint the lower kitchen cabinets navy or teal, but I thought black would hide the dishwasher and stove better. The blue ceiling makes up for it though! We also covered the peeling particle-board countertop next to the stove with a polished marble remnant.

I also wanted to paint the window muntins black. Instead, I applied removable black tape and replaced the silver window screens with black ones.

I asked our wallpaper hanger to apply remnants of the master bathroom’s Schumacher Chiang Mai Dragon wallpaper to the backs of the kitchen cupboards, and it makes me smile every time I open them.

My weaknesses are vases, light fixtures and wallpaper. When I fell in love with Cole & Son’s Aldwych Albemarle wallpaper, the laundry room was the last available place to put it!

Patrick covered half of one wall in the hallway with magnetic paint so we could use rare-earth magnets to display our extensive collection of art prints. It allows us to rotate the art frequently and eliminates the need for expensive framing or holes in the wall. I have a How-To guide here!

When we moved in, the landlords helped us remove approximately 85 bazillion sets of mismatched, ill-fitting louvred doors, including one that only partially covered these shelves and was the first thing you saw upon entering the bedroom. I designed the bi-fold doors and had them created by Mike Z Designs.

The oversized brass knobs from Liz’s Antique Hardware were a splurge I had been dreaming of for years.

I wanted a duvet cover we could flip over and launder regularly, so I had two of my favorite sheets sewn together, with hidden zippers extending up the two longer sides and ties on the inside to hold the comforter in place.

This room just wasn’t working until Leslie showed us how to rearrange the furniture. Simply rotating the bed 90 degrees magically created enough space to have the reading nook of my dreams!

The étagère is an heirloom from my family. When Patrick and I were first dating, I mentioned that movers had broken one of the decorative shelf supports. While I was out of town, Patrick secretly repaired the damage to surprise me—and did such a good job that he finally had to point out what he’d done!

Bamboo antiques are scarce in Mid-Century Modern-obsessed L.A., so I found this dresser and mirror at Palm Beach Regency in Florida.

The bed is upholstered in Beacon Hill Hidden Temple linen in Emerald, which was also used for the curtains. This is the first time I’ve ever had a “decorated” bedroom, so I wanted to go full matchy-matchy!

I wanted the bed to be high enough to store our art collection underneath in archival flat files, and I wanted a footboard to keep the covers from sliding off. Beds today are all really low, and you hardly see footboards anymore, so I designed it myself and had Leslie’s furniture guy build it.

I scored the matching set of Jonathan Adler bedside lamps on eBay.

In the windowless dressing room, I had mirrored panels installed on the closet and bathroom doors. Patrick painted the bamboo chandelier fire-engine red.

The dressing room is a passthrough to the master bath.

I have an embarrassing amount of makeup, which I organize by type in a tall, multi-drawer scrapbooking cart. I had Mike Z build this cabinet to conceal it.

The master bathroom’s original blue tile is what sold me on the apartment. I chose the Schumacher Chiang Mai Dragon wallpaper to complement it and designed the matching Roman shade. The hubcap sculpture by my dad, Charlie Hayward, is called “Caddy Daddy.”

The rug is only being used in photos to hide the ginormous floor crack we discovered after we moved in. I swear we do not actually keep a gross hair- and bacteria-collecting rug in our bathroom!

The art is by Los Angeles artist Chris Turnham.

We turned our other bathroom into a replica of the foyer of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion—or at least what the powder room off that foyer would look like if there were one! It was featured on Apartment Therapy here.

The wallpaper and sheer curtain fabric are the same ones used in Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion. The vintage 1920s chandelier is a smaller version of the one Disney Imagineers installed in the 1960s. I collected the lenticular changing portraits from eBay.

I designed the sink skirt in the same style as the curtains, which I matched to those in the Haunted Mansion’s foyer.

When real molding proved to be too expensive, Patrick hand-painted trompe l’oeil molding on the ceiling and added 3-D medallions to mimic those in the attraction.

The replica Stretching Room gargoyle is from eBay. You can see the full Haunted Bathroom Makeover here!

Patrick added brass hairpin legs to inexpensive computer desks with laptop compartments, integrated power strips and cord cutouts. Mike Z Designs created a custom wooden box to hide the ugly in-wall AC unit. The front panel slides out to allow the unit to operate.

I designed the hutch to conceal all the less glamorous functions of the office, including a drop-down work surface, slide-out printer and scanner trays, and two drawers for hanging files.

The interior work area lights up with LED strips and uses a mounted Elfa system to corral office supplies. (I inherited the massive Sharpie collection from mt cartoonist father and will never, ever run out.)

We chose this American Leather Comfort Sleeper sofa for its real queen-size mattress and no-bar-in-your-back bed mechanism. I had it re-covered in Lilly Pulitzer’s Besame Mucho fabric after Nacho finished destroying the original upholstery.

Patrick turned the pagoda lantern into a terrarium.

The “Retro Deck” sculpture is by Charlie Hayward. The neon Union Jack tea towel is a souvenir from our recent visit to Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh.

In its previous incarnation, the patio was featured on Apartment Therapy. We had to start from scratch when the management imposed a new weight limit for all items on the patio.

The sofa cushion is upholstered in Lilly Pulitzer for Lee Jofa Searchin Urchin in Lush/Conch.

The pendant light, found on Chairish, is a nod to the patio’s previous Moroccan incarnation. Patrick spruced up the vintage Cosco utility cart with spray paint in my favorite shades.

We struck gold when we discovered this Mid-Century fiberglass patio furniture by Russell Woodard. Each chair weighs less than 5 pounds, we replaced the glass tabletop with acrylic, and even the sofa weighs less than 20 pounds!

The plates and napkins are Lilly Pulitzer for Target. The napkin rings came from Parker Kennedy’s weekly Instagram sale. The cake and cupcakes are by my all-time favorite bakery, Susiecakes.

Enthusiasm for the patio’s new “Lilly Pulitzer Garden Party” theme helped me recover from the disappointment of losing the original Moroccan garden.

When I couldn’t find any wall fountains that met the weight limit and didn’t look like tombstones, Patrick created this corner fountain out of copper tubing and two faux clamshells that he coated in pool paint.

I designed the tiles for the shelf using Fireclay Tile’s Color-it! Custom Paint Tool online.

Good Nacho.

Bad Nacho!

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34 Responses
  • Victoria
    August 10, 2023

    What is the name of the turquoise paint color?

    • Carrie
      August 11, 2023

      OK, get ready — it’s pretty terrible: Baby Boy Blue!

  • Kristi
    April 26, 2023

    Love the rug! Where did you get it?

  • Ginny Knott
    January 20, 2023

    My gosh…this is eye popping fun! I see bright pink as your go to color. I also didn’t realize you could grow Birds of Paradise indoors! I thoroughly like how neat and tidy everything looks even though you have a lot of books, statues and fun collectibles. Your framed prints are stunning. It all flows! Nacho is the best……

    • Carrie
      January 23, 2023

      So glad you enjoyed the tour, Ginny!

  • Nicole
    February 10, 2022

    Love love LOVE! Totally giving me lots of inspiration for my newly renovated home – even found myself a simile Haywood Wakefield dining set! I’d love to know more about the drapes behind the fabulous magenta slipper chair. Can’t seem to find anything with those beautiful jewel tones

  • Suzanne
    January 8, 2020

    This is so much fun to look at – you are a real designer! Your use of color is so sophisticated.

    So much of what is featured on home interior sites is just a re-hash of whatever is most popular at that moment in the design world, instead of something original. I love to see someone taking some risks and following their heart. I love it, but even if I didn’t, I’d still say Brava!

    • Carrie
      January 8, 2020

      Golly! Thank you for your kind comments!

      • Leigh
        February 24, 2020

        I love your house too! I went to your designers website, but it doesn’t seem to be working- I can only see flamingos 🙁 . Did she stop doing interior design?

        • Carrie
          February 24, 2020

          Yes, unfortunately, she isn’t taking on new design work at the moment.

  • Caroline C
    August 20, 2019

    I love your home so much- it makes my heart sing!!! I’ve looked at the Apartment Therapy post multiple times and was excited to find your post with extra photos and captions. The color and patterns, furniture, linens, light fixtures, artwork, and the wallpaper- oh, the wallpaper! (Happy sigh). Thanks for the inspiration to keep working to make my space give me as much joy.

    • Carrie
      August 26, 2019

      Wow! Thanks so much for the kind words!

  • Kim
    July 13, 2018

    This blew me away! Such incredible use of color and infused with so much character and personality. Love it! I don’t have nearly as much in my collection, but I hope I can do half as good a job with decorating my future home with touches of Disney flair!

    • Carrie
      July 13, 2018

      Thanks for the kind words!

  • Erin
    July 7, 2018

    Your apartment is stunning! I absolutely love every room. As a Disney superfan and a fan of beautiful homes, I truly loved this post. Every room is unique, but it all flows together beautifully.
    We have a few Disney collections in our home, and sadly haven’t displayed any of it. I hope to use your apartment as inspiration to actually integrate our beloved collections into our home.

    • Carrie
      July 7, 2018

      That’s awesome! I’d love to see photos of what you decide to do!

  • Anna
    July 5, 2018

    I came over here from Apartment Therapy to see more photos and I’m just going wow, gorgeous, love it, oh mah gosh, over every photo and detail! I love your amazing home, it has so much individualism that’s so refreshing to see. You’ve officially inspired me to not be afraid of using my favorite color fuchsia, and sunflower yellow in my own rental, and to be as bold as I’ve always dreamed to be! The only thing better than the place is Nacho’s lively personality!

    • Carrie
      July 5, 2018

      Oh I’m so glad to hear you say that! I think we’ve all had this “neutral with only a pop of color” thing drilled into us for so long that we think it’s not good design to use lots of color. You are going to have so much fun splashing it around everywhere!

  • Christine
    July 3, 2018

    Oh my goodness! I ADORE your style! What a beautiful home!! All the colors and individual touches are just exquisite. You achieved a great balance between it being museum/magazine worthy but so welcoming and “homey” at the same time.

    • Carrie
      July 3, 2018

      That is so nice of you to say! Thank you!

  • Michelle
    July 3, 2018

    LOVE. EVERY. SINGLE. THING. It is gorgeous!! Well done!

    • Carrie
      July 3, 2018

      Thank you for the kind words!

  • ATG
    July 2, 2018

    I am itching to attack my tiki themed lounge now! NEED TO DO IT!

    Just a show-stopper of a place!

    • Carrie
      July 2, 2018

      Oh you should totally do it! It will make you smile every time you go in there! Here’s the motion-activated player we use for our Tiki Room music that triggers whenever we come home!

  • Nancie
    July 2, 2018

    WOW! I love your style, you’ve given me some ideas 🙂

    • Carrie
      July 2, 2018

      Thank you!

  • Jennifer
    July 2, 2018

    Holy Cow! I love it all. I’m inspired to get to work on my house now! You both are incredibly creative.

    • Carrie
      July 2, 2018

      So glad you are inspired! It can be a ton of fun to work on the house (unless you’re Patrick and I’m always giving you a list of things to fix…)

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