Cover Baltic grey and off-white tones on the walls and flooring provide an elegant backdrop for the family’s collection of artworks

Designed by Evens Architects and Windsor Smith, a striking azure dining room is among the highlights of this Los Angeles home, which pairs a classic look with plenty of eye-catching elements

With amenities that include a wine cellar, a games room, a stylish all-blue dining area and a luxurious pool, time spent at home is relaxing and enjoyable for this family of five, who reside in a two-storey home in the glamorous Bel-Air neighbourhood of Los Angeles.

The owners, who are parents of three teenagers, envisioned a dwelling with memorable details and interesting materials that would give it an unique identity of its own. Also key to their requirements were spaces for the family that incorporated elements of their hobbies as well as areas where they can entertain their guests and enjoy the outdoors.

To realise their vision of a liveable and lovable home, the owners enlisted architecture firm Evens Architects and interior designer Windsor Smith to help. “The building was initially a 1930s colonial-style house,” says Erik Evens, founder of Evens Architects. “We restored the exterior of the existing house, reinvented the interior and added a new wing for the lounge, wine room, master suite and gym.”

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Natural materials such as stone, brick and marble were selected to root the abode in classic design, while Smith’s interior scheme centred on elegant jewel tones and sumptuous fabrics. Custom millwork was specially designed by Evens and Smith for each part of the house.

The entryway, which used to be a small hallway, was transformed into an open-plan layout which leads directly to the dining room. Sporting cool tones of Baltic grey and white, the space was crafted to showcase the family’s art collection.

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“The owners collect modern art, so finding places to display it in a dramatic way was important; the contrast between the modern art and the traditional architecture creates an interesting tension in the design,” says Evens. It also evokes the feel of a boutique hotel lobby. “Perfect for pre-dinner cocktails or an after-dinner Scotch,” Smith quips.

The contrast between the modern art and the traditional architecture creates an interesting tension in the design
Erik Evens, founder of Evens Architects

The stunning blue hue of the dining room was specially chosen by Smith to match the eye colour of the lady of the house. “I knew this was the perfect place for her to reign over many dinner parties. The custom-made table features a pale Arabescato marble top, which we chose as it looks like a Michaelangelo pencil drawing of an extended arm,” says Smith. Schumacher silk velvet benches and a carpet from Jamal’s Rug Collection complete the space.

For more feasting and festivities, the wine room and cellar is the place to be. Instead of tucking the family’s impressive collection out of sight, a wine room was built to allow for a tipple and a bite in this atmospheric space. A custom brass and glass table and Opus by Windsor Smith chairs anchor the room, while a chandelier brings an ambient glow to the cosy space.

It opens out to the family games room for casual recreation. With oversized armchairs, a large bronze table and Urban Archeology lamps to illuminate the gallery wall, this is where intimate conversations and interactive games unfold over the course of an evening. 

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For the man of the house, an international financial whiz, a handsome study was exactly the refuge he sought. “Its proportions remind you that you are in the nostalgic part of Bel Air, with Hotel Bel Air a stone’s throw away. The bar and original brick fireplace feel (like) old Hollywood and being a financier, it seemed appropriate for him,” said Smith. 

A vintage bronze chandelier reclaimed from a turn of the century bank adds to the nostalgic atmosphere. “When it comes to provenance and a pièce de résistance with a past, these clients totally ‘get it’,” says Smith.

On the upper level of the new wing, the master bedroom features soothing grey hues and an airy terrace where the couple can spend time together. Smith quips: “Where better to have your morning’s first coffee?” It also opens out to the pool, an architectural feat that the team pulled off in spite of the sloping terrain of the site.

“One of the key design challenges of the project was to find ways to maximise the use of a steeply sloping rear yard,” says Evens. “We used retaining walls to create terraced levels to allow much of the slope to be used by the family for lounging, dining, sports and play.” At opposite ends of the pool are grand Corinthian columns and a pavilion that functions as a pool house. “The delicate nature of perennial plants was the perfect choice to showcase the beauty of the gardens,” says Smith.

After three years of hard work, the architects and designers were finally ready to hand over the home to the family. “They are people of terrific vision, so they knew (their home) would be fun to live in,” says Smith, of the owners’ reaction to their dwelling. “When we had a chance to walk through it together once the family was settled in, they greeted me with ‘Can you believe we actually live here?’ It was music to my ears!”

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