Diana Ryu reflects on the beauty of her 3-bed bungalow

Place where I live

Tour the homes and stylish residences of the women we admire to discover their approach to design – and how they have created a sanctuary at home that nourishes their souls every day. day. See all

Home is not only a place to live but also a journey into yourself. Our whereabouts became a series of vivid moments about what we’ve learned, how we’ve grown, and who we’ve become. In many cases, the places we spend our lives become entwined with our dreams and values. This is evident in the Los Angeles home of Namu Home Goods founder Diana Ryu and her husband, Joseph Lee.

Ryu’s first encounter with her house is kismet. She and Lee spent about six months “going to the grand opening every weekend,” fighting the sadness of being overpaid many times over. When they came across this three-bedroom 1927 bungalow along a tree-lined street in LA’s El Sereno neighborhood, the things they were looking for lined up: There’s a backyard art studio, complete perfect for Lee, an artist and actor, to create. Magnificent 100 year old oak tree. And the views and lighting that Ryu says are “unbelievable”.

All is well – except for the obstacles that come with buying a home. The house needs serious work. “Everything had to be replaced after we moved in,” said Ryu. The couple, once again, are worried about their offer (third backup bid for this home). As things progressed, Ryu turned to energy healer Caitlin Marino for guidance. When Marino drew the word “harvest” from her deck, Ryu took it as a sign.

Below, Diana Ryu reflects the organic beauty and calming presence of her Los Angeles home.

“She said there would be a lot of fun and harvest in this house, so we felt confident to move forward,” recalled Ryu, who said she and Lee named the house. Theirs is The Harvest House.

That sense of growth permeates the overall character of the home. A range of creamy whites and minimalist décor, accented with vintage artwork and artwork, the house is fixed by layers of wood, a material dear to Ryu. It was at Harvest House that she founded Namu, a heritage collection of homewares with roots in Korea.

When Ryu, a longtime editor and writer, looked at a 100-year-old tree in her backyard, she accumulated the strength to proliferate her business. “The tree has spent countless winters and catastrophically sheds its leaves every year,” she said. “But no matter how cold the winter, it knows spring will come.”

We visited Ryu to see how she weaves that perseverance into their home. Her design wisdom is a lesson in choosing pieces that speak to the soul. After all, we design our homes for the same reason we travel and read: to remind ourselves of the possibility of existence both in ourselves and in the world.

Michelle Nash’s photo.

What is your goal when decorating your home?

We want you to feel like you’re exhaling when you walk in. We use a variety of wood or wood tones to warm our white house. There was a study done in Japan on materials used for houses. Wood is the only material that helps lower blood pressure, so we try to process a lot of it. The goal is – and is – to have a space that feels peaceful. We both spend a lot of time working and living at The Harvest House, and it’s been a nice and steady constant even as our lives have changed dramatically.

How do you describe the aesthetic of your home?

There are many Asian influences. Most of the artwork in our house is by Asian or Asian artists, including my husband, my aunt and our friends. We are fortunate to have very creative people in our lives. We like to think that our home is conducive to creativity and that it feels inviting and calming.

What decorative wisdom has helped you along the way?

Can shop anywhere you have access. Our homes — and our lives — don’t have to be perfect. Homes should be functional for us and our families. The ethos of Namu Home Goods is based on the search for value and the beauty of imperfection. Our home isn’t perfect, and it probably never will be. We want to see our friends and family comfortable and feeling relaxed enough on the couch.

“I have always been attracted to wood as a home decor — I think because I am a very sensitive person and my surroundings affect my mood.”

How has building Namu Home Goods influenced your approach to design and life?

We try to live simply. We have adopted this philosophy from our Namu artists in Korea. I remember in one meeting we met a woodworker from Namu Home Goods who gave us each a walnut with some coffee. My American mind is so used to excess and excess that I’ve been like that, haven’t I? But, it did for me, so enjoy and enjoy a walnut I’ve got. It was an extreme example (I could have eaten a whole bag, they were delicious), but it taught me something about enjoying what’s in front of me.

What role did color play in your decorating process?

These days, I’m really obsessed with Namu Home Goods Umber, one of our brand colors. I purchased these wonderful vintage Italian barrel-backed chairs by Giancarlo Piretti and our Nordic Knots rug also in Umber. Now, I have become an extension of the Namu Home Goods brand. I’m living it in every respect! Much of the color comes from our art and books. We are not against color at all, but just happen to feel close to wood and nature and that happens to be reflected in our home.

Do you have a favorite room or design feature?

We spend the most time in the living room, dining nook, art studio, and backyard. Based on that alone, I’d say those are our favorite spaces.

The art studio has great energy. Joe will draw or work on the lines and I will work or read in our daybed and we will absorb all the wisdom of our oaks. We like our living room because it gets great light and we don’t have a TV in the house; we use projectors and subscribe to our streaming sites, we don’t operate out of the system. During the day our house is quiet. We play music and listen to birdsong.

Our dining corner is special because the Cy Twombly paintings are a gift. I bought one for Joe and he bought one for me and we exchanged them without knowing the other person got the same thing. It’s very funny and I’m glad we at least have different ones.

Our backyard had the most amazing views of the hills and we got a beautiful hilltop breeze. I think our home has to be the only home in our neighborhood for decades. Our house was built in 1927, but every other house on our block was built in the 80s and 90s.

It must have existed quietly for a long time.

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