This Hollywood Hills residence is a quintessential post silent film era Hollywood Hills Mediterranean, a favorite Los Angeles architectural idiom. Anchored at the top of one of the eastern slopes of Outpost Canyon, the home is three levels of deep smooth stucco arches punctuated with graceful wrought iron details, and layered with chunky terra cotta. The main, central level is separated from the quiet, dead end street by a tall hedge that encloses a courtyard laden with enormous pots bursting with an exotic mixture of bougainvillea, palms, roses, and other beautiful, flowering things.
When I began this project, decoration had clearly been attempted by the homeowners, but became far too great a task for them to complete themselves. From some of the early choices, I could see that the decorative aim was pointed somewhere at the South of France, but an atypical Mediterranean style. These clients wanted to incorporate the right amount of exotic elements like antiques from China, India and Japan, juxtaposed with pieces from all over Europe to evoke a lifestyle rather than a theme. The look is relaxed, collected, unpretentious. There is a perfect blend of casual comfort with vestiges of formal elegance.
A layering of joyful, faded, patterned fabrics is one of the signature details in this home. Soft, hand screened linens, hemp, and cotton in mixed whimsical patterns dress down linen velvets, silk and wool solids. The patterns recall the exotic colonialism of the British in India or Hong Kong, or the Dutch in Indonesia. Raoul Textiles was a key fabric line that seemed to embody the feeling needed in this house, although many different fabric lines from Ralph Lauren to Gretchen Bellinger, Cowtan & Tout, Manuel Canovas, Osborne & Little, Henry Calvin, Coraggio, and more were drawn from. These textiles affect a look of rich subtlety and softness, and were intended to give the appearance of having been acquired over time. It is a look that is easy, unforced, and romantic.
Lighting was a priority from the beginning. The house was too dark at night. The clients were at a loss for how to resolve their lighting deficiencies. I relocated their existing antique Moroccan glass lantern to the home's dramatic semicircular stairwell. The fixture lent itself better for use over the stairs given its more vertical shape. A more horizontal fixture was selected to hang in the dining room to spread light out into the room, and down onto the large round dining table. I deployed a variegated indirect lighting plan all over the home using quirky, sculptural lamps with handmade lampshades for a variety of lighting effects. The eyes dance with the unique forms. Table lamps are positioned in front of a pair of mirrors mounted on either side of the fireplace in the living room. They reflect light back into the room day and night. In the evenings the house now glows with life, no longer the foreboding space it had been.
Comfort was very important to the clients. This kind of home has wonderful rooms. An abundance of interesting upholstered furniture, some of it specifically designed for the space, was positioned to serve the functions of the various rooms. Everywhere there is a comfortable place to relax and enjoy conversation, or read a good selection from the homeowner's extensive library of books.
The design for this home is beautifully suited to the warm, Southern California climate, which is similar in many ways to that of the Mediterranean. Large windows and doors open wide to allow for sunlight, fresh air, good circulation, but most importantly sweeping views of the virginal hillside across the canyon (part of the L.A. municipal park system) which gives way to an unadulterated view of the city below, seeing all the way to the Pacific Ocean on the clearest of days.