This Los Angeles house was originally built by the legendary Hollywood developer Charles E. Toberman for his daughter as a ‘country’ retreat. “At the time, the Valley was full of orange and walnut groves and the one story house served as a secluded English cottage, with notable architectural details,” interior designer Jennifer Culp shares. “With lofty exposed truss ceilings, a brick fireplace and leaded glass windows the house has an incredible warmth and charm. There are not many of these houses being built anymore, it is truly a unique property and a part of Hollywood history.”
Jennifer’s clients hoped to update the property and bring some personal style to it, while honoring the architectural integrity. Along with Senior Designer Angela Panozzo, she got to work transforming the historic home. The project took just 9 months to complete, which Jennifer says is “due in part to the clients great taste and quick decision making skills.” She tells us more:
We’d love to know a bit more about your clients!
The homeowners are a wonderful family we have worked with for many years. This is the second house we have collaborated on with them, so there is an ease and familiarity there. We understand their lifestyle and aesthetic, and there is level of trust that is established. The husband is the President of an international entertainment marketing agency and has a meticulous eye. And the wife is a Vice President for a commercial real estate developer in Los Angeles. They have two small children along with a dog, so they are the quintessential modern family… busy, busy, busy!
It was originally designed by Charles E. Toberman. What are some of the changes you made, and how did you keep the architectural charm while updating it for modern day?
Our challenge coming into this project was to keep the architectural integrity of the house while modernizing it a bit, and making it more personal. How do we create a space that reflects our client’s aesthetic, is kid friendly, but is consistent with the architecture? A tall order.
Since we have worked with this client before we know their style. Being in a visual field the husband has a knack for design, which makes the decision process easy. They either like it or they don’t. Our question starting was how to infuse this architectural gym with some personality. How can we funk it up a bit?
Tell us a bit about the design direction for the furnishings and decor.
Having two small children and a dog nothing could be too precious. We used durable fabrics, nothing too white, and mixed in some less expensive pieces along with custom and vintage finds. We wanted the space to feel welcoming, interesting and to serve multiple functions from kids birthday parties to work events.
Did you take any risks that had a great outcome?
We decided to push the envelope a little in the entry, since this is the first room you see when you walk in. We ordered two custom pieces from the extremely talented local artist and craftsman Jason Koharik. One a handmade arched console in Venetian Plaster, and a sculptural seeded glass flush mount light. These avant-garde pieces were risky but they gave the entry that wow factor. Blended with a vintage Soumak rug and dark navy walls the entry became the star of the show.
What are some of the design moments in the home that you’re extra proud of?
The husband requested he have an office space where he could retreat and get some work done. We wanted the space to feel sophisticated and offer an escape from daily life. His office is one of our favorite rooms. We decided to wallpaper the ceiling and add built in bookshelves. A more traditional desk paired with a yellow leather desk chair and a Turkish rug add layers of rich color. There is a classic nature to this office, but it is anything but stuffy.
We are also big fans of the Farrow and Ball green leaf wallpaper in the sunroom. The room overlooks the picturesque backyard complete with an outdoor fireplace and pool, and floods the room with happiness.
One last favorite is the Bzippy ceramic vase on the dining room table. This piece truly breaks all the rules, and is magnificent.