Home Tour: Us the Duo's Carissa + Michael Alvarado's Modern Manhattan Beach Pad
Classic, modern, minimal and perfectly balanced—these are just some of the words to describe what happened when musical couple Carissa and Michael Alvarado (the talented pair behind Us the Duo) revamped their Manhattan Beach home with the help of Joss & Main. Read on for some of Carissa and Michael's thoughts on music and style, plus pics from their absolutely fab home.
Tell us about your respective styles. In what ways are they similar? And different?
"Carissa loves mixing vintage pieces with modern style and Michael appreciates minimal and clean decor. Our likes are very similar and the styles work perfectly together to create a balanced living space."
If you could use three words to describe each other's style, what would they be?
"Classic, Modern, Minimal."
You've said in the past you each have your own strengths when it comes to songwriting: Michael the lyrics, Carissa the melody. What was your dynamic like on this project?
"Just like songwriting, our styles truly complement each other. We disagree on some things, yet find compromise to create a masterpiece."
Walk us through your design process. Where did you start?
"We began working together by creating a Pinterest board to get our thought process going. After we agreed on the collective style that we wanted for our home, we brought on our very talented interior designer Keiko Harada to assist us on executing this project. While we were gone on tour, we told her what we wanted and she surprised us with a fully furnished home upon our return. She truly nailed it and we couldn't be happier with our new and improved living space! Now we never want to leave home."
Is the finished product similar to what you'd initially envisioned? Totally different?
"Honestly, we didn't know what to expect. It was pretty scary not knowing what was going on, but that made the whole process even more thrilling. Needless to say, we walked in and were very pleased. She gave us exactly what we wanted with every piece of furniture and even surprised us with things we would've never thought of on our own."
Was there anything your decor had to have?
"We HAD to have a bar cart! It's something we've been wanting for a long time as we love to entertain. This piece might be one of our favorites in the house."
If you had to pick a theme song for each room, what would it be and why?
"Most of the time, we are playing jazz music in our living room. The minimal vibe of the decor, and the neutral whites and grays with gold accents automatically transport us to an earlier time period. Most evenings, we play Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, or Duke Ellington on the record player. It instantly sets the tone of the space and takes us to the 1940s. Carissa spends the most time in our bedroom, doing her make-up. Her music of choice is usually Beyoncé, or something sassy and empowering. The studio room theme songs are constantly changing, as we are usually the ones making the music. The white walls and soft decor give us a clear head, easy for inspiration and creativity."
Let's talk greatest hits—tell us about your absolute favorite pieces.
"Some of our favorite pieces are the bar cart, the midcentury modern couch, the marble side table, and the white shag rug."
What's your favorite way to spend time at home?
"We love listening to records on the record player, drinking espresso on the back porch, filming cover videos on the couch, and writing new songs in the studio!"
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