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A Los Angeles House That Channels the Magic of ‘Fantasia’

By her personal admission, the actor Anastasia Graff is a maximalist who loves “girlie issues,” so it’s not altogether stunning that she wished a periwinkle kitchen for her Thirties-era West Hollywood house. Nonetheless, such a daring alternative might ship some inside designers right into a tailspin. “It’s uncommon,” admits Frances Merrill, who Graff enlisted to refurbish the two,600-square-foot home, “that you’ve got a consumer pushing you to be extra colourful.” Since founding her agency, Reath Design, in 2009, she has change into identified for her elegant use of sudden palettes and patterns. And so, “when she mentioned purple,” Merrill continues, “I used to be like, ‘Hell yeah.’”

From the surface, the two-story three-bedroom home, set within the hills simply above Sundown Boulevard, is extra restrained than flamboyant. Clad in white-painted wooden siding with a large porch, it had appealed to Graff as a result of it reminded her of the standard picket houses on the East Coast, the place she grew up. But it surely didn’t damage that the place is a part of native lore: It as soon as belonged to the Russian-born composer and conductor Igor Stravinsky, who lived in Los Angeles from 1940 to 1969, whereas he performed the L.A. Philharmonic each downtown and on the Hollywood Bowl. Throughout that point, he additionally made inroads within the movie business, notably permitting his 1913 masterpiece, “The Ceremony of Spring,” for use within the 1940 animated Disney characteristic “Fantasia” — a historical past that impressed Merrill to brighten the house with alternating notes of gravitas and whimsy. “You notice in Los Angeles, there’s a narrative behind each home,” says Graff. “That’s how they promote you. They’re like, ‘Marilyn Monroe’s ghost walks the property!’”

Graff had lengthy been saving pictures with a view to in the future create her dream house and despatched them to Merrill for inspiration. There have been footage of traditional American diners and screenshots of Slim Aarons’s louche, glamorous images. She additionally cited the work of the print-loving American decorator Dorothy Draper and of the designer David Hicks, a grasp of British eclecticism. Graff wished to keep away from the austerity of the various white modernist bins that populate Los Angeles and as an alternative lean into the grandeur of outdated Hollywood design — a imaginative and prescient that naturally aligned with Merrill’s preferences for saturated colours and energetic juxtapositions. When the pair’s collaboration started, in the course of the early days of the pandemic, “it was like having a pen pal,” says Graff, to whom Merrill would ship packages of paint swatches within the mail.

Within the kitchen, Merrill manifested the purple Graff had requested within the type of mauve cupboards with softly rounded corners that counsel each the shiny futurism and laminated lunch counters of the Fifties — an impact heightened by a scalloped stainless-steel oven hood. Their shade is offset by a standard checkerboard linoleum ground and an orange leather-based banquette the place the household share their meals (Graff and her husband have two younger kids). Classic lights, one formed like an orange and one other like a lemon, add some California kitsch, and a Nineteen Seventies-era poster for the French launch of “Fantasia” is a tribute to Stravinsky.

Graff and Merrill additionally discovered widespread floor of their shared love of wallpaper, selecting a dense floral sample — pulled from the archives of the 226-year-old French firm Zuber — for the eating room, and a Pierre Frey panther print for the powder room. “However we wished the home to be coherent, and never go too loopy on the attention,” Graff says. So, within the former room, the busy motif is tempered by the streamlined silhouette of an oval lacquered wooden desk by the Swedish architect turned designer Gustaf Westman. That desk is, nevertheless, bubble gum pink — “like Barbie in area,” she says.

Jewel-box shades of purple and pink are one other by line. There’s the hyper-feminine, nearly camp, salmon pink closet and dressing room simply off the first bed room, the place a Murano glass pendant within the form of a coronary heart — a light-weight fixture match for a Disney princess — hangs above an island with a scarlet crystal quartzite countertop. Instantly adjoining is the first rest room, which incorporates a free-standing porcelain tub and a bathe lined with amethyst purple tiles. And downstairs, the primary lobby is a moody shade of rosé pink complemented by a banquette upholstered in a striped coral pink Dedar textile.

However Graff’s favourite area, the household room, is — at the least in distinction to the remainder of the home — comparatively subdued, a reprieve from all of the ebullience. A hand-painted silk de Gournay wallpaper in a tranquil shade of pistachio is illuminated by an Eos ceiling lamp that resembles a fluffy orb of exploding feathers. And whereas there are a couple of different florid gestures — together with a chair with a daisy-shaped again by the London- and Milan-based Artefatto Design Studio — the room was designed with leisure in thoughts, its structure centered on a pair of customized shell pink velvet couches, positioned again to again. “It’s only a soothing and delightful area,” Graff says.

For Merrill, although, an association of subtly contrasting items in the lounge greatest represents the luxurious, collagelike feeling of the home. Between two home windows stands a vibrantly colourful Fratelli Levaggi chair — a replica of a traditional Fifties turned-leg type that Merrill had repainted in vivid shades of cornflower blue, marigold and Kelly inexperienced — beneath an angular trendy darkish inexperienced glass sconce. Simply as Los Angeles’s mishmash of architectural eras ends in moments of sudden magnificence, the house’s conflict of durations and kinds is by some means harmonious — and, most of all, joyful. It’s a wide-ranging method to design that Hollywood has lengthy shared. Certainly, not lengthy after the home was completed, Merrill and Graff caught phrase of the touring exhibition “Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Ornamental Arts,” which charted the animator’s little-known obsession with Rococo French design and the way it influenced the look of every part from his cartoons to his theme parks. “After we noticed that,” she says, “we have been like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s what we have been doing!’”

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