A Passion For Mod
Ken Jordan, of The Crystal Method, talks music, design and eco-friendly weddings.
Lounging at home with his beautiful bride-to-be, Ken Jordan is the picture of happy domestic bliss. The two-time Grammy nominee, who’s heart-pumping, adrenaline-filled music (as half the duo behind The Crystal Method) helped to define the electronica genre, was a far cry from the man I expected to meet. These days, Jordan’s life at The Strawberry House—the 3,600 square-foot manse that he shares with fiancée Janine Johnson—is more Rat Pack than Rave Scene.
Passionately meticulous about outfitting his dream home, Jordan’s love of fine art, music and design spill over, visibly, into every corner of his retro abode. Built in 1963 and nestled in Encino hills, the newly eco-friendly home is a stunning example of mid-century modern design. “I’m just nuts about flat roofs and classic, modern style homes,” he explains. “I don’t know what it is, something about straight lines, flat roofs and windows. It just gets me.”
“I got here, and they had Frank Sinatra playing, and all the windows were open. I was like, ‘oh man, I need to buy this house!”
The four-bedroom home features a study, dining room, living room, kitchen and a backyard pool, offering panoramic views of the San Fernando Valley. But what really caught Jordan’s attention was the unusually open floor plan and the amount of natural light that poured in. “There’s just something so pleasing about it,” he says. “I like all the openness, and I love all the windows. I’m just really drawn to natural light. I seek it out.” Originally in the market for a smaller home in the Hollywood Hills, he knew he was in trouble the moment he showed up for a tour of the home. “I got here, and they had Frank Sinatra playing, and all the windows were open. I was like, ‘oh man, I need to buy this house!”
From there, Jordan’s passion for mod touches inspired him to eschew the typical Hollywood process of hiring an interior designer, and to decorate the space himself, furnishing it with pieces that complimented the home’s epoch. With the help of a few friends, including Louis Yoh of LCY designs and Sharona Sabbag, a proprietor with Design Within Reach, Jordan worked to plan each room individually. “I didn’t want to over-modernize the house, with electronics and stuff like that,” he explains. “My vibe was just classic, modern pieces. You know—sixties, seventies, modern from that era. I wanted to keep it looking classic.”
He set about collecting both new and vintage pieces for each space, such as the timeless Eames recliner, which he managed to pick up somewhere in Venice Beach, and the original George Nelson marshmallow sofa that now adorns the master bedroom. As he assembled each room, he sought out unique art to complement the look. “I really love Kirtland Ash’s work,” he says. “I have a big piece of his in the living room and a few others throughout the house.” Utilizing the more discrete halls of the home, he showcased his personal collection of band memorabilia and gold records, adding a personal, yet private touch to the immaculately adorned home.
The end product is a cohesive and fun residence whose minimalist décor and bright, open spaces invite visitors to feel like dusting off the record player and having a cold G&T out by the pool. Jordan particularly loves relaxing in his living room. “I just love all the pieces in there,” he says. “And it’s the most open room that lets in the most light. Sometimes, I’ll wait, before going outside, and just look at the view. It’s by far the best room in the house.”
While the house is perfectly stylized to capture a bygone era, it’s technologically wired to be more Jetsons than Brady Bunch. Admittedly not an environmentalist initially, Jordan’s relationship with Johnson—an activist and founder of the non-profit Green Wave—inspired a recent conversion to a more earth-friendly lifestyle.
“She never really tried to talk me into anything,” he explains, “but I just started to realize, it doesn’t make a lot of sense not to be green. It’s not even that I’m so ‘green’, I just try to be less wasteful. And I’m very enthusiastic about it all now.”
So enthusiastic in fact, that he and Johnson recently installed 76 solar panels to the top of their home. “Flat houses are really good for it,” he explains to me in great detail. “They’re up and working great, and we don’t have any kind of backup plans. So at night, we’re running off the grid. I haven’t gotten an energy bill since we’ve had them up, which is going on a full two months now.”
In addition to their residential upgrades, Jordan and Johnson—whose custom-made engagement ring is crafted from 100% recycled platinum—are working with Green With Envy Events to plan an eco-friendly wedding for this fall. “We’re calling it ‘My Big Fat Green Wedding’, and we’re hoping to document it, to inspire other couples to do the same.”
Talking about Janine and her impact on his eco-consciousness, Jordan reveals a softer, more pensive side. “She’s really just wonderful. She teaches me so much and I just think I’ve become so much of a better person since meeting her.”
When I ask about the future, and the impact Johnson moving into the home a little over a year ago had on his design, he simply laughs. “I’m lucky,” he tells me. “We’re both on the same page. There’s just a lot more yoga mats, and candles everywhere.”
“I’m just nuts about flat roofs and classic, modern style homes.”