Category: Los Angeles

Daniel Cuevas

This month’s Belle magazine was a total treat. I especially loved the feature on the LA home by designer Daniel Cuevas. So nice to see more work from such a talented designer. I wrote about a project he worked on with designer Carol Katleman in London a while back here.  

I particularly loved this library….I dream about having a space like this one day…

California Dreamin’

Have you ever recognised someone, not from their face, or name, but by their apartment?….well, that’s exactly what happened to me last month when I picked up a copy of Elle Decor.

Hmmm…I thought to myself, Michael De Perno…that name kinda rings a bell, but I couldn’t place it. I don’t quite know what it was that jogged my memory – lord knows some days I have trouble remembering my own name…but for some reason I had an Aha! moment and pulled out my very first kept issue of Elle Decor from May 2001 (almost exactly ten years earlier), and there it was, on page 214, Michael De Perno’s classic 1920’s LA apartment.

At the time the article was published I was living in a tiny apartment in Tokyo and De Perno’s apartment was great daydreaming fodder. It was light, airy, full of real furniture (I barely owned any at that stage) and I loved the classic details of the house. I also loved the mix of furniture, we had barely begun to buy the Japanese antiques we now own (in storage in Australia nonetheless), and I was intrigued by how he had put it all together.

Fast forward ten years down the track (where the hell did all that time go?) and De Perno’s new abode is still providing me with daydream fodder, except that now I’m living in a tiny apartment in Hong Kong. His new house is much more modern, and it seems his style has evolved in a similar way that mine has. I’m glad to see he has retained much of his furniture….(I think thats partly what helped me recognise the house as his)…a Japanese tansu here, a chest of drawers there, its still a nice mix. While the architecture of the house has changed, the overal aesthetic has not. Its still light and airy and I think that – along with the fabulous sense of indoor-outdoor living – is what I’m day dreamin’ about most.

Michael De Perno’s previous home, photographed by Jeremy Samuelson for Elle Decor back in May 2001.

De Perno’s new abode, photographed by Laura Resen for Elle Decor June 2011.

Hotel Bel-Air

The Legendary Hotel Bel-Air is re-openining in October this year after 24 months of extensive redesign and refurbishment, and I am very excited to be able to share some images with you before it even opens!

The design of the hotel has been a collaborative effort between two design teams – Alexandra Champalimaud and Rockwell Group – both internationally renowned and responsible for some of the most amazing hospitality spaces.

Both firms have taken great care to keep much of the hotel’s originality, restoring the most beloved iconic elements while adding contemporary touches. The familiar Spanish Colonial architecture splashed in “Bel-Air Pink” is still present while a new Bel-Air aesthetic has been introduced in a fresh, youthful and elegant manner.

The Hotel will re-open with 12 new accomodations built into the hillside offering sweeping canyon views, expansive sliding glass walls, outdoor fireplaces and spacious decks with private infinity edge spa pools. The original 103 guest rooms will re-open with larger bathrooms and heated floors. In addition, seven specialty suites which have been individually designed – including the famous Grace Kelly suite and a new Presidential Suite compound with 6,775 square feet of indoor and outdoor living space. This suite will offer private dining for 10, a chef’s kitchen, a study, great room with grand piano, and a private pool located within a private Spanish courtyard. Sounds very Presidential indeed!
Lobby area

The Canyon-view Suite


Spa Loft

Relaxation Room


Presidential Suite


Presidential Suite Bathroom

In celebration of the opening, Hotel Bel-Air has launched a Facebook promotion and is giving away a three night stay, $500 dining credit, $500 La Prairie Spa credit AND an autographed Wolfgang Puck cookbook! All you have to do to enter the contest is become a fan of Hotel Bel-Air on Facebook before October 15th, 2011. Fingers crossed, and good luck to us all…(I wouldn’t mind a trip to LA!) 😉

All images care of Champalimaud Design

Mary McDonald…

It’s been a while since a magazine spread has made me gasp out loud. Am I alone in thinking that too many magazines are featuring boring, thoughtless, characterless, uniform apartments? the magazines in Hong Kong seem to only feature dreary white boxes…no sign of human life, (or of any taste for that matter…). I only read a few of the US design mags, one or two from the UK and 2 from Australia. Some of them (there are a few exceptions) are starting to look much of a muchness to me. This is a subject that I’ve spoken to friends about…but clearly not many of them seem to pay as much attention to this as I do. Lucky for them. Because I’m getting fed up! Does anyone else feel this way? Maybe the blogging community needs to circulate a list of recommended monthly reads…

Anyway, I do digress a little. The spread that made me gasp was from House Beautiful – an LA home by none other than Mary McDonald. She has an amazing eye for colour and a talent for mixing beautiful pieces – a combination that makes each of her interiors colourful, chic and livable – as well as looking like they have a history!

Perhaps I’m just fed up with the mostly Asian negative attitude towards vintage and antiques – or anything with history. Maybe I should just stop complaining and do something about it!

Sorry for the rant folks, but I feel better now. All images from House Beautiful Feb 08. More details about the feature here.


I have recently discovered, and fallen in love with, the work of a mid-century design firm from L.A. – Monteverdi-Young. I’ve never really been much of a fan of mid-century, I could never understand all the hooplah about it, much preferring design from a decade or two earlier. But the work of some American designers is making me understand why there are so many fans of that era. I didn’t like the Jetson’s- like futuristic looking style of some mid-century, and I still don’t really, but I’m realising that there were designers who still worked with classical lines, but in a more modern and refined way. 1st has been a great source of information for me, especially about less written about designers or firms, and I have learned a lot since I’ve started perusing their weekly updates. Monteverdi-Young is one of the firms I’ve discovered this way. I have not been able to find out much about them (so if anyone reading this has any please pass it on!), except that they were conducting business under another name until the 1950’s, they were quite a well respected producer of furniture, and they were Italian modernists – well, the Monteverdi part of the partnership was at least! I see some details that are reminiscent of Andre Arbus (see the legs on the red sofa and the mahogany buffet), but also a modernism that is quite unique. I’m noticing more and more of their work on 1st Dibs and other antique sites, and they are still quite reasonably priced. I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that perhaps those prices won’t last for long. Considering the prices ‘designer’ modern furniture can fetch these days, it’s only a matter of time that lesser known designer goods will be the next big thing. My favourites of this design house so far are:

This chair was designed for Monteverdi-Young by Maurice Bailey in the 50’s. Its very modern, but it’s uniqueness is what is so appealing to me. The ebonized wood legs with brass sabots are classic, and I love the faux-croc leather.

A mahogany coffee table from the 60’s is very mid-century modern, but very versatile. I especially love those highly polished brass legs.

Mahogany buffet from the 60’s (love those legs!), with leather-inlay handles. Stunning!

Button-tufted settee covered in mohair from the 50’s. Again, love those legs. Very sexy, and I think this could work is a lot of different interiors too.

Another sofa that I love, it has great lines, and I love that wooden base.
All images from 1st

Barbara Barry

Barbara Barry is one of my all time favorite designers, so it’s suprising how long it’s taken for me to post about her. To me, she has a innate sense of timeless style that exudes grace and femininity. I have loved almost everything she has designed, from her beautiful interiors, to the products she has designed for a multitude of companies.
This particular project is a 12,000 square foot home in Piedmont, California. It’s a french style mansion, built in 1922 and designed by architect Albert Farr. Barry says she was inspired by the work of Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann and Paul Dupre-Lafon when re-designing the entire interior of the house, right down to the wine cellar. The house is furnished with a mix of french antiques purchased on a trip to Paris, pieces from her furniture collections with Baker, lighting from her collection with Boyd, and some custom designed pieces.

The grand facade.
To me this room is so classic, and I can’t stop looking at it. I don’t know how servicable it would be with all those pale colours though (but I’m guessing with that kind of money you don’t need to worry about practicalities). Barry designed most of the pieces in the living room. Furniture from Baker, lighting from Boyd, and rug from Tufenkian. Fabrics from Cowtan & Tout.
Armchair is from Amy Perlin antiques in NY, fabric from Manuel Canovas.
I just adore this image, the room is just so beautiful. I love everything, from the drapes, to – well let’s just say I love it all. Details same as above.
A 1961 Richard Diebenkorn painting sits above the sofa.
I love the colours of this room, it’s very elegant, but also not too feminine. A 1940’s Bagues chandelier sits above a custom table and chairs in the dining room, fabric by Great Plains. Vintage french wallpaper panel hangs on rear wall.
I think this is definitely the prettiest sun room I’ve ever seen. The walls are covered in a chinoiserie silk wallpaper. Upholstered pieces are custom, fabric on side chair from Scalamandre, sofa and club chair fabric from Cowtan & Tout. The colours in here are just so easy on the eye which makes for a very relaxing retreat.

The master bedroom is a medley of lavender and misty-greys. It has a very 1940’s feel about it too, very chic. Furniture is from Barry’s collection for Baker.

The same colour palette was use throughout the master suite, into the adjoining powder room. Very pretty indeed.

Classic kitchen, made a little less formal looking with the straw blinds. I love the contrast between the black and the white, together with the wood floors and the sandy coloured straw blinds.

Mary McDonald’s office

I think two requests are enough to warrant me posting the images of Mary McDonald’s office that came from said ill-gotten magazine…

As I mentioned, this was the first I had ever seen the work of milliner, turned decorator, Mary Mc Donald. And that was enough to be hooked. It took me ages to track down her website to see more of her work. Once I had, I realised that I had actually seen a few homes she’d completed in magazines, and not realised. She’s a master at creating luxurious bedrooms, and incorporating subtle chinoiserie detailing. I think her offices are just as glamorous, and her signature style is evident here.
I think these images are actually the same as those on her webiste, and were previously published by Domino magazine.

I just adore this image (sorry for the crappy quality). The combination of the pale blue and all that white furniture is timeless, and so pretty. She’s used a wallpaper, or a painted mural, on the back wall and is not afraid to cover it up with black and white photos. Her desk and the chair behind it are stunning. And those lamps are amazing.

These curtains are fabulous, and the frog detailing on the soft pelmet is subtle but just enough to give a hint of the orient. The sofa, cushions, side chair and the porcelain stool are beautiful. I also love the casual feel of the sisal flooring.

I love this too. I have always been a fan of dark wooden floors with really pale walls and white trims, with silver details. So much so this is the look I went for when we renovated our house. I love the chandelier, its from Restoration Hardware. I also love the black details she’s used as a contrast, and especially like the idea of hanging art with ribbon.

Stunning combination of black, white and red. The horizontal stripes on the wall are very graphic, and again she’s used just a few chinoiserie pieces to give the room some interest.

These images are of a filing cabinet in her office, which I think was covered in a paper – possibly wallpaper or wrapping paper. But alas, I don’t read chinese so I may never know. If anyone can fill me in I’ll be rapt! (sorry, bad joke). This is a great idea though, I’ve done this before on bed side tables and it looked great.

I heart Kelly Wearstler!

I have been a big fan of Kelly Wearstler‘s work for a while now, but funnily enough had not got around to posting about her yet. I thought that for my first (of many, I’m sure) posts about her I’d share some images that are a little different from her usual colourful, ecelectic (yes, I think this word applies to her work) and seductive interiors. I love this home because it still displays some of her signature style, but its also a little of a departure from her well-known work because its a bit more restrained on the colour side, and mixes furniture and accessories from earlier in the century (1940’s), as opposed to a lot of the mid-century pieces she typically chooses. It still has a mix of periods and styles, but I think it has a very serene, sophisticated and glamorous look, as well as being sexy. I think its a testament to her skill as a designer.

This scan is pretty bad quality, sorry, but I love the colours in this room. She’s managed to make grey and yellow a very sexy colour combination (before anyone else, and its now a huge trend). I don’t know what the art on the wall is, but it looks like some sort of plaster relief. It’s beautiful. As are the lamps and that coffee table.

I j’adore this dining room. Proably because Kelly says she was inspired by the work of Andre Arbus. You can tell. I especially love those dining chairs, the side cabinets and the mermaid-like sconces.

This is such a masculine library, I love it. The red lacquered cabinets add a bit of a chinoiserie feel for me.

Images are all from House & Garden (US) September 2006.