Jewelry designer Maya Brenner has one of those dream backyards, with a large pool, a custom bar outfitted with graphic tile, and a quintessential Los Angeles view with palm trees dotting the horizon. But it wasn’t always the case at the Silverlake home she shares with boyfriend Dustin Lancaster, a restauranteur and hotelier. “The backyard was in ill repair and hadn’t been updated since the 70’s,” Maya recalls “The pool was original from the 60’s and was huge, like the size you see in a 200 unit apartment complex.” The plaster was cracking and there was no hot tub, a must for the couple. “In order to get what we wanted, we had to redo the whole thing which was no small undertaking,” she tells us.

First off, they replaced the tile, changed the plaster to a darker pebble, and added a hot tub along with a baja shelf that runs the entire length of the pool. Next up, they tackled the crumbing cabana, tearing out the wood bar. “Dustin has a lot of experience designing bars and wasn’t about to let our home bar not be special as well,” Maya says. “He got the tile from Kismet Tile, which is actually based right here in Silverlake. The tile pattern really pops while sticking to the color scheme overall.” They also added a TV and two Schoolhouse Electric sconces. As an added bonus, there’s a drink machine, a gift for Maya’s last birthday. “It happened to fall on Memorial Day, so naturally we had a big pool party and we made Frosé on one side for the adults and a Lemonade slushy for the kids on the other. They were a huge hit! It really elevates backyard entertaining as everyone eyes literally light up when they see it!”

At the other end of the yard, they had to pull out some bamboo, leaving a 10 foot gaping hole which the pair filled with their old above-ground trampoline and added fake turf around it. They also rescued chickens. Maya laughs, “Very LA, I know! I ordered a chicken coop online that my boyfriend and son put together and then eventually had a chicken run built around it.”

Overall, the space feels like a calming oasis, which was Maya’s goal with the outdoor decor. “We wanted something easy and durable and not overly designed,” she explains. “We worked with designer Katie Hodges to bring in some decor elements to add to what we already had going on.” The bench has a cushion covered in a striped Sunbrella fabric and Moroccan throw pillows found on Etsy. In the dining area is a custom table and woven Malawi chairs from CB2. The picnic table and benches are by Gloster — and items Maya already had. But the wooden slatted chairs were a new find, and a serendipitous one. “They are CB2 as well and are called the MAYA chair so you know we had to have them,” she laughs. “I threw in some non-matching side tables so it looked more eclectic and more colorful Moraccan throw pillows to pop with all the black and white.” With each piece, it was important that it not feel to precious. Maya explains, “We really went with affordable pieces that we didn’t have to worry about too much because ya know, it is a backyard!”
The backyard has become a gathering place for Maya’s family and their community. “We love hanging with the older kids and baby Otis in the pool. Friends and family are always invited over to eat, drink and swim,” she says. “The pool fits so many people so it never feels crowded and the more the merrier!”