Kristen Pumphrey’s main decorating maxim reveals a healthy skepticism of the rules. “Every room has to have a weird thing so it doesn’t get too bad,” she says, adjusting an illuminated smiley face orb that sits in a corner of the Southern California home she shares with her husband, Thomas Neuberger, their five-year-old daughter, Poppy, and her dog, Roxy. The 1908 Craftsman style bungalow is nestled in a community known for its architectural heritage and where being true to the Arts and Crafts tradition can be a form of gospel.
Yes, the rooms are painted in period colors and retain their original details, but Kristen and Thomas, who founded and operate the brand of home fragrance products PF Candle Co., don’t let historical purity get in the way of self-expression. “It would never be what I would consider my style,” Kristen says, pointing out some of the “more old-fashioned things.” But when it came time to upgrade the elements of their home, Kristen and Thomas deftly navigated choosing materials, furniture and accessories that “feel right at home” and their own 70s aesthetic.
Luckily, they had an inspiring kismet shortly before the pandemic hit. The couple made a pilgrimage to the Eames House in the Pacific Palisades, which Kristen expected as a monument to minimalism and clean design. But in reality, she found the landmark of modernism fun, cluttered and interesting – the visit was surprisingly stimulating. “I am a collector. That’s how my mom is, that’s how my grandma was,” Kristen says. “I love going to people’s homes and looking at their quirky little vignettes.”
Just as the Eames House functioned as a living design lab, Kristen and Thomas also use their home as a proving ground for DIYers and professionals. These rooms served as a photo studio for their book, At Home with a Scent: Creating Modern Scents for Your Space. Kristen creates content for the brand’s social media (specifically popular on TikTok are videos of rolling beeswax candles through ASMR calling), enjoying corners when the light is most soothing, or when rainbows emanate from his collections of prisms and mini disco balls .