James Franco Pop-Up House designed by Matthew Lanphier

Oh this guy?  Yeah, that’s Bearcats dad, being held by that guy, Sir. James Franco, one of the most popular and yet controversial actors in Hollywood. He, in conjunction with Matthew Lanphier, designed a popup house for Airbnb, which resided in the Hollywood Cemetery – one of the most beautiful and iconic places in Los Angeles. I oversaw it and therefor i’m blogging about it, but Matthew is the real designer here.


Also  in case you were confused, he’s a man – James, that is. A rugged, bear hunting man. Matthew wanted it to feel young yet sophisticated, vintage yet masculine and with a wink or two to represent Franco’s mischevious side.  Here’s his mood board:

james franco mood board

He fancies himself an artist, actor, intellectual, writer, philosopher, and a general bad ass (again, with the bear hunting), so Matthew tried to bring in all of those sides of his personality while at the same time making it appropriate for the cemetery – so there was kinda a Tim Burton bent to it.


Hollywood forever_revised R3

james franco rendering

And here he is in the flesh:

James Franco Pop-Up House Forever Cemetery Airbnb

On the back of the building there were 32 vases/plaques that had quotes from James Franco’s favorite writers – Alduous Huxley, Jack Keroac and … James Franco. Like a mausoleum …

James Franco Pop-Up House Forever Cemetery Airbnb

Inside we had this pretty awesome mix of ‘dude’ and ‘weird’, must like Mr. Franco himself. I love how eclectic and interesting it turned out, with enough ‘young hipster’ to not make it from feeling so grandpa. When James filled out my style questionaire he said that he loved the 70’s, Americana and italy so Matthew brought in some 70’s kitsch in the paint by number, (that also felt pretty Americana) and i lent him my hand chair which is both 70’s and Italian. The space was riddled with books that he loved and there was virtually nothing new, which was a request of Mr. Franco’s.

James Franco Pop-Up House Forever Cemetery Airbnb

Oh the painting? YOLO, get it? Obviously meant to be ironic since its in a cemetery and I think its hilarious. That piece was a custom paint by number painted by Orlando Soria and Matthew and its KILLER.

James Franco Pop-Up House Forever Cemetery Airbnb

James Franco Pop Up

Resources: Bookcase: Lawson-Fenning | Noir Lex Chandelier: Zinc Door | Raven: West Elm | Coverlet: West Elm | Rug: West Elm. Everything else is vintage.

Photo Credits: Matthew Lanphier


And there we are. The happy family. We had just met with our new doula, discussed our birth plan and are just oh so excited for the little one to arrive. And by ‘little one’ i do mean what looks to be a large bean burrito in my stomach. Please FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, remind me to wear the ‘pregnancy indicator’ belt (you know, that one right below your boobs that tells the world that you are pregnant?). He was friendly to me and as we were about to take the picture he said, ‘Oh are you pregnant’ and I said, ‘Yes. But don’t worry, its not yours,’ which wasn’t exactly comedy central material, but I thought wasn’t bad for the only sentence I ever got to speak to Sir. James Franco.  He laughed, we smiled and then made sweet love.

In case you missed the other Airbnb collaborations on the blog check out Moby’s, Molly Sims (designed by Bash, Please), Anjelica Huston (Designed by Orlando Soria), and Lake Bell (designed by Justina Blakeny).

  1. Jessi


  2. erin

    AHHH!! Matt was one of my best friends from grade school! I’m so glad you featured him. He’s so talented!! :o)

  3. Andrea Urbass

    The weakest of the bunch, but then again – so his is acting.

    • Rose

      Whut. o.O

  4. Color me super jealous that you met James Franco even for a minute. I love this space, but I guess “young hipster” is partly my style (as is Mr Franco). L O V E the copper planters! The vase/plaque/quote wall is also very witty.

  5. Jennifer Lynch

    The space is neat, the opportunity is neat . . . and I’m having a terrible/impossible time looking past the misspelling of “beatnik” all over the mood board.

  6. I’m LOVING the Yolo painting!!! Awesome!!

    I have been inside Jame’s New York apartment and I have to say, THIS is way cooler than his actual home! (Sorry James!)

    Great work guys!!!

  7. sbort

    this. is so. funny. he couldnt be more awkward in these photos :D hahahaha i love him. he ran into me like a bulldozer in a parking lot last year, and when i yelped and almost died, he grabbed my wrist and yelled “OH SORRY DUDE” into my eyebrow and then high fived slapped the crap outta my wrist before continuing to run away from whatever was(n’t) chasing him. he’s hilarious. so glad you made sweet love. hope you at least got a wrist-five after ;)

  8. stephieZ

    Of course he would put his own quotes in with famous writers.

  9. Your blog posts always crack me up and brighten my day – today with the “then made sweet love.” You’re hilarious, Emily. And the space looks great.

  10. Cynthia

    Okay, not following the same theme as the other posts. Emily, can you tell me if you use a mood board app? If so, which one? Thanks.

  11. Emily p

    I’m a little jealous if the awkward James Franco side hug.

  12. Missy

    He’s dreamy. I can’t figure out what these pop ups have to do with Airbnb? I went to ther website and its rental apartments. Most of them not half as cute as the pop ups.

    • a different missy

      your work is kick ass as always emily, but i agree, I dont really get the pop up bnb idea, is it only an art piece, do people sleep in a glass cube, idk

  13. Pearl

    The space turned out great. It’s always so interesting to see the transition from mood-board to reality. I especially love the lighting fixtures, so cool!

  14. Kristen

    Um your answer to his question made my LIFE. Ah-mazing. I can not stop laughing.

  15. Sarah

    Emily, is there a chance for a paint color exposé based on this gift from God?

  16. Sarah

    I love the YOLO per the setting!

    • Sarah

      Also the raven, the micheal Jackson print, and the thinker made me smile as they relate to the venue.

  17. Lauren

    i dont get the yolo thing. can someone enlighten me?

    • Sarah

      You Only Live Once

  18. Krista

    Miss Lauren, YOLO means You Only Live Once… I think.
    Miss Emily, I’m loving you, and thanks for introducing me to the talents of Mr. Lanphier.

  19. Marivi

    Lovely baby bump.. but you DO know “birth plan” is an oxymoron, right?

  20. Jackson

    Great space…but more importantly you met my favorite actor/crush!

  21. Carly

    “Yes. But don’t worry, its not yours.” Would have paid to witness this.

  22. You are hilarious Emily!!! I love your blog, keep writing and being your amazing self xx

  23. Megan Douglas

    I die

  24. Jessica

    what else do you say to james freaking franco?! seriously. brilliant. just brilliant. <3 you.

  25. jesus. That was a brilliant comment by you.

  26. Kyndell Walsh

    OMG! I have to comment ! Emily you are TOO funny!!!! So hysterical!! I just had a very much needed laugh!! Thank you for that!

  27. Nikki

    I burst out laughing and startled my husband reading your description of taking a pic with james franco. Thanks for all the laughs, i love your styling of writing as much as i love your design style.

  28. Julia @cuckoo4design

    Drool….I love him! What design did you talk about again? jk
    Love it all, I was paying attention, well kinda…cause I had to keep scrolling back to the first photo.

  29. flavia

    you make me laugh, Emily

  30. kd

    LOL. I hate YOLO but in this ironic scenario I couldn’t love it more. Also, your faux relationship with Mr. Franco makes me laugh. This whole thing made me laugh. Thank you for your sarcasm.

  31. Sarah

    Emily…despite your incredible taste and impeccable sense style, this is what makes me most jealous of you. I am pretty sure I had a James Franco poster on my wall back in the JTT and Devon Sawa days.

    • Rose

      I had the JTT one but James Franco is my man now (in my dreams only of course).

  32. Lindsay

    I kind of want to get pregnant now, just so I can use your “Don’t worry it’s not yours” line.

  33. Elise

    “made sweet love.” You crack me up so hard! Hope you enjoyed your time in Minneapolis (my town). The Franco cemetary space is awesome!!

  34. Jihane


    Sorry, I am not able to see if the design is good. I’m too busy lookin at Jaaaames with heart shaped eyes.

  35. Elizabeth

    Emily, do I sense just a touch of disdain in this post? I can’t tell if it’s for the room or El Franco, I’m getting the feeling you’re not as pumped as usual about one of them. Just me?

  36. Lauren

    James Franco literally has his hand in everything. He might be totally weird and/or crazy but he is a really hard worker.

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  39. Jamie

    I had been waiting to see this one since I definitely enjoy his acting work. I enjoyed the space but did not like the “YOLO” despite liking the painting itself. No big deal though; the rest of it definitely had a style that was very similar to what I imagined him having in this pop up :)

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  41. Z

    Love, love, love that you are having a doula! I am in the birth community and am sad that more people don’t take advantage of that amazing sidekick. Congrats to you, and good luck!

  42. Em

    oh. James.
    Good line, btw!! :-)

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