When updating a home built by one of California’s most respected architects, the best tactic just might be to tread lightly. Perhaps that’s why, when approached by documentary film producer Cristan Reilly to design the 1950s Gerard Colcord home she purchased in 2012, designers Heidi Bonesteel and Michele Trout opted for the “less is more” tack.
Luckily, the country-style Colonial had been left in good hands for the past 30 years. Previous owner Harrison Ford made several additions to the original property, but wisely enlisted the expert eye of Colcord’s assistant, Liza Kent, who took over the first renovation in 1984 after Colcord’s death.
“The house had been perfectly maintained,” says Cristan. “The respect shown to Colcord’s work was of the highest level. It’s such an honor and a privilege to live in something like this. There’s an intimacy and connectedness that everyone feels as soon as they walk through the door.”
Subtle updates—a blue-gray wallcovering from Holland & Sherry and a jute rug from Merida—give the entry an on-trend textural appeal. “We used thick jute rugs throughout the house,” says Michele Trout, who undertook the redesign with business partner Heidi Bonesteel. “The added texture against the traditional bones makes the house feel current.”
In the living room, that meant adding a neutral, paper-backed linen wallcovering and equally uncomplicated furnishings to play off Colcord’s classic details. The subdued palette has an added bonus, acting as a foil for the room’s decorative exclamation point—a kinetic painting by Eric Zener.
“Art is so important to a house,” Cristan notes. “It’s the conversation piece in any room. And Eric’s piece starts a lot of conversations.”
The lounge chairs are from Formations.
On the other end of the living room, French doors with a view of Los Angeles make this seating area prime real estate. An Elizabeth Eakins rug and a lantern upholstered in Fortuny fabric play beautifully off the neutral paneled walls.
Yin to the living room’s yang, the dining room features walls stained a deep gray—a photographic negative of the living room’s pale scheme. Illuminated by a sculptural light fixture of rubbed bronze and polished brass and teardrop sconces with a feminine edge, the room becomes a showcase after dark.
The dining chairs are from Rose Tarlow. Teardrop sconces are from Bourgeois Bohème Atelier.
A plaid fabric from Rogers & Goffigon plays off the blue-gray hue of the built-in bookshelves. The wing chairs were custom- made by Bonesteel Trout Hall and upholstered in a houndstooth fabric from Holland & Sherry.