At Home With: Ashley Takacs
We chat with Commune's Ashley Takacs on a Friday evening
For our second edition of At Home With Commune, we spent some time with Commune Designer Ashley Takacs. We discuss summer rituals, hear about her prized possession — a 1970 Karmann Ghia — and look at what Commune Shop items shes is currently living with.
What can’t you leave your place without?
Sunglasses (plural) … I need options.
What’s in your tote?
My laptop, a paint deck from Portola Paints, and always a tape measure.
What do you collect?
Stories. I love to tell stories and will go to great lengths for a good one. It’s a major motivator for me when I travel. Even during moments when everything is going off the rails, I’m thinking “how will I retell this later?”
What object means the most to you?
My 1970 Karmann Ghia. I bought it when I was 15, from a farmhouse near Niagara Falls. It was bright pink and barely ran. My Dad restored it with me; we painted it black and gave it ridiculous white racing stripes (which we mocked up using toilet paper rolls). I later wrote my college admissions essay about the process. It was my daily driver when I first moved to LA, which as I look back, seems so dangerous and impractical. Keeping it running in traffic is an art form. Now, I only drive it when I’m in need of a thrill. It makes me indescribably happy.
What are you reading right now?
I recently went to a screening of the film, “Reyner Banham Loves LA.” It was such a joyful and irreverent portrait of this city, even though it was set in the early 70’s during a period of relative decline. Lately when I find myself on a sweeping freeway onramp or a drive-thru during sunset, I think “Reyner Banham would have loved this.” It has inspired me to re-visit his book “Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies.”
Do you have any rituals?
It’s still summer in LA, and I’m sure most apartment dwellers in the city have their own version of this ritual…There’s a point in the evening when the outside air is finally cooler than the air inside the house, so I go around and open all the doors and windows to purge the heat. I have a lot of windows, and they’re old with quirky bolts and sticky latches which makes the whole thing this long, deliberate, process. The windows swing out, so they can’t have proper screens; I dim the lights to keep from attracting bugs and settle into the evening.
If you could invite one person over for coffee, who would it be?
Lina Bo Bardi, or Taylor Swift. Maybe both!? We’d all have a great time.
Did you design or make anything here yourself?
My desk. It’s an homage to Donald Judd and was made by the wonderful Miguel Rojas.
What’s been the soundtrack lately?
My neighbor, who lives in the front house, is a musician and has been playing a steel slide guitar lately. It fills our communal yard with the most wistful Hawaiian music.
What would be included on a map of your neighborhood?
No maps, just wander. There are many incredible homes from the Victorian Era in Angelino Heights, and most residents are happy to tell you about them.
Are there spirits here?
I don’t really believe in ghosts, but there is a lot of history here… the architect Arthur Benton (he has a street named after him in Silverlake) designed many of the more elaborate houses in Angelino Heights around 1900, one of the first being the front house here. Amidst all the construction he built this back building as a carriage house, with a studio above for him to work. It’s a simpler, more bare bones, version of his architectural style, which I think makes it a bit more timeless. I’ve heard that he designed the famous Mission Inn in Riverside from this little house. If you go there, the top floor windows share a lot of the same proportions and details as my windows. It’s a connection that brings me a lot of joy.
Shoes on or off?
Always off. Please and thank you.
Incense or Candle?
Incense for everyday; but I love having taper candles on the table when friends come for dinner. Few things are more satisfying than the cascading wax sculptures left behind from a long evening of drinking and conversation.
Coffee or Tea?
Tea. But also…sangria?
— Photos by Preston Alba.