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Throngs of design devotees descended upon La Cienega last week for the Design Quarter’s annual Legends celebration. Marking its sixth year on the boulevard, this year’s three-day event delivered on its promise to fete all things interior design, art and fashion, often with a Hollywood twist.
At Remains Lighting, author and interior designer Hutton Wilkinson captivated guests with a reading from his upcoming book, “The Walk to Elsie’s,” which delves into the last ten years of the late Elsie de Wolfe. Featuring stories told to Wilkinson and co-author Flynn Kuhnert by de Wolfe’s protégé, the late Tony Duquette, the book recounts the life of de Wolfe, who is widely credited with creating the profession of interior design, and counted Anne Vanderbilt and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor among her clients. The story focuses on the last ten years of the interior designer and society fixture’s storied life, largely spent in Los Angeles until her passing at age 85 in France in 1950.
Across the street at Stark Home, another panel sought to demystify the intersection of celebrity and design with a panel dedicated to the evolution of private and public spaces in Hollywood homes. Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter culture editor Degen Pener moderated the discussion between interior designers Trip Haenisch, Natasha Barandan and Scott Mitchell, who each offered insight on the separation between personal and work-related areas in residential spaces.
The three designers opened up on past and present projects that distinguish the two settings, providing examples of areas designated as residential versus work-oriented spaces, from separate entertaining structures to in-home corridors that separate residents from the house staff. “I think, increasingly, people want to separate their staff [in the home] from family. We have a lot of requests from clients to consider that as part of this privacy gradient, and preserve the sanctuary of the home for people that live there,” said Mitchell.
“I hate it when people spend a lot of money and then rooms never get used,” said Haenisch. “We work it backwards and we say to people, ‘how do you live, how do you want to live?’—and we make sure the house provides them with what their needs are.” These requests often include a desire for to create privacy for residents through the likes of separate entrances for spaces, or entirely separate but adjacent buildings to accommodate work-related activities, often times complete with separate addresses.
Barandan cited client and actress Kate Hudson’s Pacific Palisades home with fiancé Matt Bellamy of the band Muse as a perfect example to illustrate the concept. “They have a home where its family night, charades night things with the kids, a very personal kitchen and family room, and bedrooms,” she explained. “Then there is a separate structure that is a two-minute walk away that has the screening room, her office, his music recording studio, [and] a production office for people to work out of.”
Sometimes these separate structures will have their own private entrances, even from a different street. Baradaran quipped that if you get an invitation to one address and not the main one, you sometimes know your status in Hollywood.
Custom-built screening rooms also topped the list of amenities for many homeowners in the market for a division of public versus private space in their residences. “A lot of our clients with screening rooms have a separate entrance for work meetings or people that are coming just for a movie,” said Mitchell. “Because so many people in this town are in the entertainment and movie business, theatres really aren’t just a luxury.”
“This is the reality of one percent of the one percent,” added Pener.
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