When Sara and Trevor Smith began their quest to leave an apartment for bigger digs in 2012, they expected that their search would result in a speedy transition to Home Sweet Home. But the mission turned out to be more Let the Games Begin.
When the transaction on their new home was finalized, homeowners Sara and Trevor Smith realized they were far from the finish line. The house had undergone a series of piecemeal remodels and was in desperate need of a cohesive new one. While researching on Houzz, they discovered the work of famed Los Angeles architect William Hefner. Sara and Trevor assumed Hefner would not consider taking on a small-scale project such as theirs, but they called him anyway, hoping he might give them a solid recommendation for another talent. Lesson learned. Don’t assume.
The Smiths formed an instant connection with Hefner, who, coincidentally, once lived in the same apartment building where they were residing. And the house bought by this young family reminded Hefner of the first home he bought with his own wife. So he agreed to accept the renovation project.
For the decorative vibe, the Smiths turned to Michael Ostrow, Brentwood designer and co-founder of the interiors emporium Grace Home Furnishings. His challenge was to fashion a warm but neutral environment that would highlight the artwork Sara and Trevor planned to acquire.
"The living room has a good balance of interesting pieces,” says Ostrow. “But not everything in a room has to be important and play a starring role. The eye needs a rest, too, and we worked hard to create those calm moments in the room.”
Homeowners naturally use words such as “cozy” and “comfortable” when setting down their design aspirations. But Sara and Trevor emphasized that this before-and-after needed to achieve those goals while incorporating their penchant for simple style, free of overwhelming colors or decorative elements. A fresh white color scheme enhanced by the southern light that floods the home replaced the previously dark, heavy tones. With the neutral backdrop in place, Sara focused on artwork to dress up the clean palette. As a creative person with her own fine jewelry line, Smith+Mara, artwork was high on her list of priorities.
In the living room, random splashes of color in a painting by Secundino Hernández contrast with the geometric pattern on matching armchairs.
The largest addition to the house was the great room, an extension off the kitchen where the focal point is a large contemporary painting by German artist Max Frintrop. Shiny metal tables in the great room balance the khaki sofa and highlight the adjoining kitchen’s Calacatta marble.
A tufted banquette, designed by Ostrow for the Grace Home collection, was covered with a kid-friendly indigo-and-white striped vinyl fabric from Duralee.
A tufted pouf from Lee Industries and a shapely “Leon” side table from Made Goods sit between a pair of lounge chairs covered in “Nantucket Zig-Zag” by Mark Alexander through Romo. Drapes and sheers are from Grace Home Furnishings’ Grace Home collection. The polished nickel rod is from Houlès.
Architect: William Hefner, Studio William Hefner, 5820 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036; 323/931-1365, williamhefner.com.
Interior designer: Michael Ostrow, Grace Home Furnishings, 11632 Barrington court, Los Angeles, CA 90049; 310/476-7176, and 1001 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262; 760/904-6337, gracehomefurnishings.com.
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