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Before and After: Polished, Approachable Mediterranean Home

A record exec and his wife put a traditional spin on a contemporary California gem  

Written by Jenny Bradley Pfeffer
  • Michael Garland

    It really comes down to semantics for Nancy Barnett. “You could call it a major renovation, but I prefer to call it a rehabilitation—a nine-month rehabilitation,” she laughs.

    She’s referring to the rather invasive revamp of the contemporary Mediterranean-style home she and husband Steve took on after relocating from Connecticut to Los Angeles for Steve’s new position as CEO of Capitol Music Group.

    “The house had been neglected for years, but it had great bones, was beautifully sited on a promontory, and had these extraordinary windows,” remembers Nancy. “We may have been naive, but we thought we were just going to do some painting before moving in. Then we met [architect] William Hefner and his wife, designer Kazuko Hoshino. The first time William walked through the house, you could see the wheels turning. He had a vision and saw things that we would never have imagined.”

    Photography: Michael Garland  
    Produced by Darra Baker

    Architect: William Hefner, interior designer: Kazuko Hoshino, Studio William Hefner, 5820 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 500, Los Angeles, CA 90036; 323/931-1365,

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    Adult Appearance

    The rest, as they say, is history.

    Shunning the traditional style they had so loved in Connecticut, the couple embraced the quintessential California style of their new house but didn’t balk at updating the home’s outdated elements.

    The goal was simplicity—a conservatively glamorous house that lives comfortably. The recent empty nesters (they have four sons, ages 21–29) also craved a home whose primary focus was adult-oriented. “We’ve lived in many houses over the years, but this is the first time we were able to have a house that wasn’t completely kid-friendly,” says Nancy. “I didn’t have to worry about indestructible furniture and spill-proof fabrics. It is just a very comfortable, adult house where dogs are allowed on the sofa and nothing is considered too precious.”

    Paint (custom): Benjamin Moore,
    Trunk (Louis Vuitton): vintage.
    Art above trunk (The Drawn Blank Series, by Bob Dylan): owner’s collection.

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    Bright Entry

    That’s apparent the moment you set foot inside. In the foyer, Balzac limestone replaced walnut floors—immediately lightening the home’s mood. An iron pendant light with gold detailing and hand-blown glass offers a hint of the home’s polished demeanor.

    “We addressed all the hardware, moldings, trims, and lighting in order to focus on simple, elegant details,” says Hoshino.

    Balzac limestone floors and light walls allow vintage furnishings and architectural elements to shine. 

    Wall paint (custom): Benjamin Moore,
    Flooring: Balzac limestone.
    Hanging light in foreground (“Carlyle Pendant” #4094): Paul Ferrante,
    Pair of hanging lights (“Cuadro Lantern” #F-LN20): Formations,
    Console table: antique.
    Mirror above console (vintage, from France, c. 1940): Blend Interiors,
    Stools under console (“Bone Stool” #BJ-N295A): Hollyhock,
    Landscape painting on console; silver bowl on console; candlesticks: owner’s collection.

  • Living Room Before

    In the living room, that meant letting design elements take a backseat to the home’s most dramatic feature—its view. 

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    Room with a View

    Generously scaled steel-frame windows displaying hilltop views from the Pacific Ocean to downtown Los Angeles were left virtually untouched and were highlighted with creamy-white walls, subtle window treatments, and bleached walnut floors. Custom walnut-and-metal bookshelves, a large-scale sisal rug, and a painted iron chandelier add architectural and textural interest to the grand room.

    “It was important for this room to feel comfortable,” Hoshino says. “Mixing new materials and vintage pieces added contrast, and the use of color and texture created an eased elegance.”

    Custom sofas in a neutral herringbone pattern and a pair of chairs from Nancy Corzine create a handsome sitting area around the Formations coffee table. The chandelier is by Paul Ferrante.

    Wall paint (custom); ceiling paint (“Gray Mirage” #2142-50): Benjamin Moore,
    Window shades (“Tranquility Birch” #9838): Horizons Natural Woven Shades,
    Drapery (“Coptic”/Taupe #1018-03): Kerry Joyce Textiles,
    Chandelier (“Darren” #2107, custom size and finish): Paul Ferrante,
    Bookshelves (custom); sofas (custom): Studio William Hefner,
    Sofa fabric (“Vance Herringbone” ‘Greige #66460): Schumacher,
    Pillows at ends of sofas (“Keshte Potpourri” #HB5/04): Le Gracieux,
    Fabric on gold pillows (“Herb”/Peapod #910096-08, discontinued): Rogers & Goffigon,
    Trim on small gold pillows (“3-inch Espadrille Woven Border”/Cemento #977-42670-25); trim on center pillow (“2.5-inch Kensington Braid”/Aqua Gray #977-56157-23): Samuel & Sons,
    Tiered end table (“Tripoli Side Table” #4055): Reborn Antiques,
    Sofa end table in foreground (“Small Elm Coffer with One Drawer” #HW 17): Charles Jacobsen,
    Coffee table (“Tavolino Wood & Iron Coffee Table” #F-TB04): Formations,
    Pair of lounge chairs (“Barsanti Lounge Chair” #2181): Nancy Corzine,
    Lounge-chair fabric (“Atlas” #46421, discontinued): Nobilis,
    Pillows on lounge chairs (“Marmari”/Walnut #32129.6): Kravet,
    Table between lounge chairs (#PW25, similar available): Dao,
    Chair behind sofa, at window (custom): Jen Bel, 323/935-4888.
    Striped fabric on chair back (“Sana”/Bleu #4782-05, by Manuel Canovas): Cowtan & Tout,  

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    Gather Round

    An inlay pedestal table from Charles Jacob and custom chairs take full advantage of the view. 

    Table (“Wood and Bone Inlay Pedestal Table #IK 100): Charles Jacobsen,
    Dining chairs (custom): Jen Bel, 323/935-4888.
    Striped fabric on chair backs (“Sana”/Bleu #4782-05, by Manuel Canovas): Cowtan & Tout,
    Fabric on chair front (“Skye”/Teal #750002-12): Rogers & Goffigon,
    Coral specimen on table: Dao,
    Flooring: 5-inch plank walnut, custom finish. 

  • Dining Room Before

    The dining room had good bones but needed to be softened up.

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    Inviting Dining Room

    That elegant ease carries over into the dining room, where a custom-colored, hand-textured strié wallcovering cocoons the room from floor to ceiling—disguising the existing soffits and tray ceiling and acting as the perfect backdrop for the vintage, gold-flecked Murano glass chandelier.

    Wall-to-wall draperies from Kravet blend seamlessly with a custom wallcovering from Surfaces by David Bonk. 

    Gray wallcovering (“Santorini,” custom): Surfaces by David Bonk, through Thomas Lavin,
    Gray trim paint (“Gray Owl” #OC-52); beige ceiling paint (custom): Benjamin Moore,
    Drapery (“Windswept Linen”/Mineral #9725.52): Kravet,
    Area rug (“Arching Lattice”/Smokey Topaz, by Barbara Barry): Tufenkian,
    Chandelier (Murano Glass “Polvera D’Oro” Chandelier): Jean-Marc Fray French Antiques,
    Dining tableside chairs and fabriccrystal goblets on tablesilver traytea servicedecanters on bar cart; crystal and silver in china cabinet: owner’s collection. 
    Host chairs (“Garbo Tufted Dining Arm Chair” #1918-T): Jessica Charles,
    Host-chair fabric (“Taos”/Baltic #AB 0381 4920, velvet, by Old World Weavers, colorway discontinued): Stark,
    Bar cart (“Oval Two-Tier Bar Cart”): Modern One, 323/651-5082.  

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    Spacious Kitchen

    The kitchen is a departure from Nancy and Steve’s more traditional space in Connecticut, and is blessed with tall ceilings that accommodate large-scale pieces and a mix of materials.

    “As pretty as our Connecticut kitchen was, I wanted something different,” says Nancy. “I didn’t want white on white on white. We ended up with this pretty, warm white set off by dark woods. I love it, and everyone just gravitates here.”

    To contrast floor-to-ceiling cream-colored cabinets, Hoshino and Hefner incorporated darker, more masculine features. A custom oxidized-bronze hood commandeers one wall, balanced by a large center island with a Sea Pearl quartzite countertop. A walnut and oxidized-bronze glass-front cabinet—both handsome and practical—takes the place of a traditional butler’s pantry while balancing the built-ins with a more furniture-like aesthetic.

    Wall paint (custom); white cabinet paint (custom); dark finish on cabinetry (custom): Benjamin Moore,
    Windows and doors: existing.
    Flooring: walnut, 5-inch plank, custom finish.
    White built-in cabinets by window: Charles Geminer, Hanover Builders,
    Cabinetry and island (custom); counter stools (custom): Studio William Hefner,
    Countertopbacksplash: Sea Pearl quartzite.
    Cabinetry hardware: Valli & Valli,
    Faucets (“Henry”): Waterworks,
    Island sink: Rohl,
    Pendant lights (“Small Gaslight Hanging Lantern” #4024-S): Paul Ferrante,
    Sconces at window (custom design by Studio William Hefner): Reborn Antiques & Reproductions,
    Range: Viking,
    Range hood (custom): Studio William Hefner,
    Art to right of range: owner’s collection.

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    Indoor-Outdoor Flow

    “Our goal was to make the space feel as if we had adopted another room in the house for kitchen use,” says Hoshino. “Elements have a furniture-like feel and intentionally don’t fill the space so as to create a more open environment.”

  • Terrace Before

    The gracious terrace was perfectly inviting and ready to become an outdoor living space.

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    Outdoor Living

    Frequented more often than the formal dining room, vast outdoor spaces—including the well-used outdoor kitchen dining area with creamy travertine floors—were enhanced to encourage entertaining, from intimate dinners and business breakfasts to post-Grammy parties for 200.

    A chandelier from Ironware International and a concrete and teak dining table from RH create a cozy environment for entertaining and outdoor dining. 

    Landscape designer: Studio William Hefner,
    Dining table (“Belgian Trestle Concrete & Teak Rectangular Dining Table”); dining chairs (“Saltram”); seat cushions; chaise lounges: Restoration Hardware,
    Striped pillows (“Tatton Stripe”/Pumice #860-208): Perennials,
    Chandelier (“Ione 6-Light Chandelier” #8028B): Ironware International,
    Garden stools beside chaise lounges (“Green Glazed Ceramic Garden Stools from Beijing, China” #HZ 607): Charles Jacobsen,

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    Architect William Hefner and designer Kazuko Hoshino were “inspired by quintessential California living with vast porches and large-scale windows,” says Hoshino. 

    Paint (“White Dove”): Benjamin Moore,
    Wall lanterns (custom design by Studio William Hefner): fabricated by ADG Lighting, Architectural Detail Group,

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    Home Office

    Autographed guitars, books about music, and yes, even Grammys are right at home in this record exec's office. Texture on the drapery panels, lounge chairs, and rug add a coziness to the soaring space. 

    Wallcovering (“Madison Wall”/Taupe #4333LWC/03): Rose Tarlow-Melrose House,
    Flooring: 5-inch plank walnut, custom bleached finish.
    Drapery (“Jako”/Mole #955N28): Raoul Textiles,
    Desk (custom); sofa (custom): Studio William Hefner,
    Desk lamp; desk chair: vintage. Art above desk (by Gray Malin); acoustic guitar (by Takamine signed by The Eagles); guitar to right of desk (Guyatone guitar signed by Bob Dylan); guitar to left of desk (Gibson guitar signed by Angus Young of AC/DC): owner’s collection.
    Area rug (“Calliope”/Gold, Group 27): Patterson, Flynn & Martin,
    Sofa fabric (“Lush Plush”/Tidal #5041/03): Pollack,
    Photograph behind sofa (by LeRoy Grannis): owner’s collection.
    Sofa end table (“Kratos Side Table” #KD 04): Kimberly Denman,
    Lamp on end table (Reggiani Cylindrical Steel, Italian, 1960s): Eccola Inc.
    Coffee table (antique, Chinese, c. 1840): Lief,
    Pair of lounge chairs: owner’s collection.
    Lounge-chair fabric (“Linen Horsehair”/Mist #DE12182): Holland & Sherry,
    Garden stool between lounge chairs (“Black Lacquer Stool” vintage, from China): Charles Jacobsen,

  • Master Bedroom Before

    In the home’s arcadian personal zone, calmness presides. A pretty blue-and-cream palette (replacing the previous red-and-charcoal scheme). 

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    Elegant and Ethereal

    A pretty palette and ethereal elements—wall-to-wall linen draperies, a soft blue upholstered headboard, patterned folding screen, and subtly patterned seating—play off those ubiquitous views.

    “I knew I wanted the bedroom to be serene—pale and tranquil,” Nancy notes. “It turned out even better than I’d hoped. It’s so pretty and natural.”

    Designer Hoshino called upon rich fabrics and subtle patterns and textures to bring the large master suite down to scale. A folding screen in an ebullient pattern adds a touch of movement to window shades and draperies from Cowtan & Tout and a neutral wallcovering by Surfaces by David Bonk.

    Wall covering (“Santorini”/custom color): Surfaces by David Bonk, through Thoman Lavin,
    Ceiling paint (‘Smoke” #2122-40); trim paint (custom color from Studio William Hefner): Benjamin Moore,
    Drapery and window shades (“Marina”/Ecru #11116-01): Cowtan & Tout, Fabrication: Santa Cruz Designs,
    Area rug (“Suburban”/Bisque #47198-03, Group 27): Patterson Flynn & Martin,
    Folding screen behind bed (#663510, discontinued): Schumacher,
    Bedside chests (vintage); lamps (Murano glass): owner’s collection. 
    Bed (custom): Studio William Hefner,
    Bed fabric (“Makeda Plains”/Sky #6240, by Harlequin): Zoffany,
    Quilted bed cover (“Komodo Silk”/Ivory, by Home Treasures): International Down and Linen,
    Pillows with botanical pattern (“Davina”/Iced Aqua #1044050693, by Travers): Zimmer + Rohde,
    Striped pillows (“Broken Stripe”/Robin Egg #NC0588-294): Nancy Corzine,
    Center pillow (discontinued): Schumacher,
    Bench: owner’s collection.
    Bench fabric (“Matchsticks”/Taupe #2062/06): Rose Tarlow-Melrose House,
    Lounge chair and ottoman (custom): Studio William Hefner,
    Chair-and-ottoman fabric (“Paisley”/Goa #890007-01): Rogers & Goffigon,
    Table beside lounge chairbowl on table: owner’s collection.
    Table in foreground (“Rhett Coffee Table”): Egg and Dart Ltd.,
    Bowl on table “White Ceramic Sea Flower Bowl” #TW604): Charles Jacobsen,

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    Spa-Like Space

    The same could be said for the master bath, with its silver travertine flooring, white onyx countertops, and vanity detailing with a touch of Hollywood glamour. Spa-like and tranquil. The ideal location for these empty nesters to put their feet up and kick back.

    Custom vanities with white onyx countertops, silver travertine floors, and a cast-iron tub from Drummonds add a glamorous edge to this luxurious space. 

    Wall and trim paint (custom colors, from Studio William Hefner): Benjamin Moore,
    Flooring: silver Travertine.
    Window shades (“Thirassia”/Creme #2869001): Pierre Frey,
    Bathtub (cast iron): Drummonds,
    Bath fixtures: Waterworks,
    Vanity tables (custom); mirrors (custom): Studio William Hefner,
    Vanity countertop: white onyx.
    Sinks (“Kathryn”): Kohler,
    Sconces (“Garrison” #MA-9120WR): Urban Electric Co.,
    Makeup mirror: Nameeks,
    Stool under window (“Bone Stool” #BJ-N295A): Hollyhock,

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    Homeowner Portrait

    “It’s certainly been a journey,” says Nancy. “It was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up. And it’s all been an adventure.”

    Nancy and Steve Barnett with their poodle-mix, Lucy. 

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