In Mexico City, in the garden of the world-famous Casa Azul (or Blue House) stands an unmissable four-tiered pyramid structure. It was built for the soulful Mexican painter Frida Kahlo by Diego Rivera, her husband and a fellow artist. The intention was to house the couple’s pre-Hispanic artifacts and folk art collection. Yet, the unique structure became so beloved that replicas have been built in the Botanical Gardens of San Antonio and New York City. It also inspired a custom-built media console in the sunny Los Angeles home of graphic designer Jessica Marak and her husband, Garrett Fuselier.
“We had always been attracted to fun and playful furniture, but that slowly went away in New York because things just had to be so functional,” says Marak. In 2020, the couple moved out west, upgrading from a 400-square-foot apartment (mostly furnished with essentials from Ikea) into a spacious Spanish-style house in Los Angeles. Piece by piece, they slowly started to color their home in a bolder and more eclectic style. For them, it was a return to form. At one point, they were living in Kansas City, Missouri, where more space had allowed them to indulge their eccentric decor tendencies.
Currently, a meandering kelly-green sculpture from local studio Sing-Sing sits in their living room, waiting to be hung on the wall. Elsewhere in the room is a lemonade-shaded accent chair from Target and a swirling marble-top coffee table from Industry West. The focal point of the dining room is the cobalt-blue chairs that tightly hug a geometric wood table made of mango wood. Piece by piece, Marak and Fuselier filled their home with eye-poppers and head-turners. However, when the house was close to being fully furnished there was one piece of the puzzle missing: a media console.
Marak took the lead but just couldn’t find anything they liked enough to actually buy. The couple had set aside a budget of around $1,000, and for that price, they wanted to be absolutely in love with a piece, not feel like they were settling. Fuselier, an experiential creative director well-versed in 3D modeling programs, put together a quick digital sketch of an idea he had. The design was a staircase-inspired console with simplistic steps leading to nowhere. It looked unique and vaguely familiar at once. Then it hit them: it was like what they saw in the Casa Azul courtyard.
Together, they ironed out some details and landed on a concept inspired by Rivera’s design but steered towards something a little more practical for a living room. It was fun to collaborate on but felt like a pipe dream. “I thought it was going to be like $5,000,” Marak says. It was Fuselier who pushed her to look into getting it made. From there, Marak asked a few friends who worked in film production if they had any recommendations and found a match in two local set designers, Heather Stewart and Tobias Levene. Much to her surprise, the construction bid was $900 all-in—construction, materials, delivery, the whole lot.
The duo they hired was used to building things quickly and ever-mindful of tight budgets. They went with plywood, included one functioning drawer, and gave it a base coat of white paint before finishing the piece with a particularly warm shade of terracotta. (A nod to the original.) “If we went to a furniture designer, it probably would have been way more expensive,” notes Marak. The original plan was to decorate it with plants, but they’ve discovered that the sunlight in their living room makes having thriving greenery tricky. These days, funky ceramics and geometric vases populate the steps—a much better look than half-dead foliage.
Last month, when Marak posted a video on TikTok showing off her collection of vintage and thrifted decor, eagle-eyed design fans spotted the unique-looking console in the corner. Before she knew it, comments were piling in, asking to see more of the piece. (She delivered a follow-up including a closer look, along with the caption “two designers + two set designers = a Frida worthy TV console.”) It’s easy to see why the console has this scroll-stopping effect; it is striking and unusual in a way that stands out from much of TikTok’s homogeneous decor.
The experience has changed how they will decorate in the future. “Now that we’ve done it once, we’re absolutely hooked,” says Marak, wishing that she had more tools and construction knowledge herself. “If you’re willing to put in the work and the hours, it will be cheaper, and you will get exactly what you want.” For many, turning an inspired whim into a constructed reality is daunting. But as Marak sees it, the risk is worth the reward—and she has the media console to prove it.