The downtown L.A. loft Carlson Young shares with her fiancé, musician Isom Innis of Foster the People, is a mirror into the couple’s artful temperament and winsome Southern charm. Together, Young and Innis call their DTLA roost home between sporadic bouts of travel, with Young filming Scream in New Orleans for months at a time and Innis touring on the road with his band.
“It was the first time I had ever even had a roommate,” Young confides of moving into the loft space last November. “Everything has sentimental value,” she tells us of the décor. Young's imaginative mix of spirited vintage and modern details makes for an entirely grown-up and alluring abode. The charismatic, laid-back aesthetic proves a fitting echo of the dynamic couple's singular taste and distinctive personalities. He cooks. She Postmates. They’re keeping it real. Together, they’ve mastered color-blocking paint and gallery walls. Step inside.
“It’s not really that interesting of a story. We met through mutual friends,” Young says of her introduction to Innis, quickly adding the romance itself was more atypical. “The first night that we met, we fell in love. It was love at first sight. Literally, the next day we were planning our wedding and talking about what we were going to name our children. It was not one of those, texting for a week, then we go away, and now we’re dating sort of things. It wasn’t like that.”
Three years later, the pair is engaged and settled into their colorfully curated downtown digs. “Our place is relatively all stuff we acquired together. Most of it is vintage,” says Young.
Young designed the loft with a little help from her professional friends, hiring interior design tastemakers Joyce Pickens and Caroline Walkup to style the place out in a matter of months. “Caroline dates one of the band members. I’ve always been a huge fan of her work. She was a no-brainer. Joyce is one of my dearest friends from Texas,” says Young, a native of Fort Worth. “I’m the luckiest lady in the land to have had the help of these amazing friends.”
“We had about three months to get everything they way I wanted it before leaving to shoot Scream in New Orleans for six months,” she tells us of the impressive design timeline. “It was really important for me to get the loft in order. I wanted Isom to have this dream workspace while I was away. It was such a load off to get it all designed, then go to work and not have to worry about it from a distance.”
The space is peppered with bold modern art, collected antiques, and thoughtful personal accents from couple’s travels. “The color-blocking in the green was something we’d been playing around with,” she tells us. “We thought about a few different shades of green and ended up going with two. It’s so elegant, and I love the way both shades play off the Eastern Building out the window,” she says, pointing out the iconic skyline view.
“Isom is practically always in the studio,” says Young. Citing their home as their favorite place to work. “He is hyper-focused. He sits down at the computer and doesn't look up for eight hours. That leaves a lot of time for me in the apartment.”
“I usually just get my laptop and write next to him in the couch,” she adds. “I love the space because we can both work all day. It’s the greatest spot for that.”
“My decorators definitely pointed me in the right direction,” Young says of the design process. “They wanted the loft to feel grown-up. My last place was in West Hollywood and a completely different vibe. I moved in there when I was 18. It was sort of a mix of everything you love when you’re 18. I had a lot of Lucite.” she says. “When you’re growing up, you’re like, Lucite is the coolest thing ever! We were steering away from that more adolescent direction to create something elevated that still had my edge and our eclectic taste.”
Young opted for mostly vintage furnishings and accessories with a playful mix of modern art and clean contemporary accents. “There’s lots of good vintage around L.A. I love The Hunt and Sunbeam Vintage,” she says.
“All of the art in the house has kind of a weird story,” says Young, walking us through the impressive gallery wall.
“The painting above the piano is by Isom’s sister, Isabella Innis. We commissioned it. Isom wanted something black and white,” says Young. “It’s a little more bold than what she usually does. She works a lot with color.”
“The big white painting in our bedroom is something I made myself.” Young printed the lyrics of a favorite song on an oversize canvas, creating the subdued, stark white counterpoint to matte black walls and bold metallic hardware. “I kind of did my own thing on it and white-ed it out,” she says of the work. “I wanted it to have a lot of texture.”
“I love to read. I have a serious collection of coffee table books. I’ve been acquiring over years,” says Young.
The actress credits her designers with the adept blend of youthful exuberance and grounded soulful detail executed throughout the space.
“I loved working with them in tandem since they have such different points of view,” says Young. “Aesthetically, they were able to find a cohesion that I think is amazing. I love to look around and see both of their styles working together.”
When asked after her impressions of moving into the thick of downtown L.A.’s burgeoning art culture, Young says, “I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a shock at first. It’s super grimy, but it has the most creative vibrant energy. It’s beyond up-and-coming.”
“You walk out the door it’s full-on city living,” says the Texan. “I think that’s kind of hard to find in L.A. You go to New York for that lifestyle. I always thought I would be living in New York, yet I’m happily settled in L.A. I feel like downtown has kind of bridged the gap for me.”
At first glance, one wouldn’t guess the most challenging detail of the space is an innocuous suspended antique chair. “I think it looks pretty nice now, but putting up that hanging chair up was a beyotch!” laughs Young.
“It literally took five men and five days,” she says of the arduous process. “They had to drill into the ceiling of the Orpheum Theatre. I think it was 20 feet up or something insane like that. It’s a very heavy vintage chair that we painted. It was super old, and the whole process was vv expensive and vv time-consuming. I’m glad it looks good now.”
Dramatic, architectural statement lighting from Edison bulb sconces to exposed wire chandeliers pepper the space with sophisticated verve.
“Lighting is something I always notice in other peoples’ homes,” Young confesses. “We wanted to make bold statements with lighting.”
Young is unabashedly candid when we inquire after her favorite meals to cook at home. “It’s more of a Postmates situation downtown,” she laughs. "I would really love to say that I’m this amazing cook. Maybe one day I will be. As of now, I am absolutely worthless in the kitchen.”
“Luckily Isom is a fantastic cook,” she adds. “He makes me really delicious avocado toast on the regular.”
The crowning jewel of the kitchen space is a massive marble island ideal for entertaining.
“We chose the island before we had made any bigger decisions about the space,” says Young. “I couldn't find anything that was the right size. It’s such a generous amount of space. I eventually landed on an industrial, stainless steel restaurant island. We installed a slab of white marble on top and wallpapered the side of it,” she tells us of the striking DIY moment.
“You can’t always do much with wallpaper when you’re renting,” she adds. “Wallpaper is the greatest thing in the world!”
Young majored in creative writing and poetry at USC. Isom studied at Berkeley College of Music in Boston. Both landed in L.A. in pursuit of their perspective artistic careers. “Isom gave me a vintage typewriter for my birthday,” says Young. The antique is proudly displayed among art books and the lasting remnants of her aforementioned Lucite fixation. “I write a lot of poetry,” she says, “I love to write on a typewriter. The sound is so calming.”
Considering Innis’s musical prowess, we were keen to comb through the couple's vintage record collection.
“We listen to a lot of Prince, a lot of Radiohead,” offers Young. “We saw The Police the other night, so we’ve been on a big Police kick. We sort of go in and out of retro vibes at home and super-modern stuff like Panda Bear.”
Retro-meets-super-modern vibes appear to be the perfect frequency for the duo on the rise. Stay tuned.
Catch Young in episodes of Scream streaming this month on Netflix.
What do you think of the space?