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Traditional and Kid-Friendly Design for Young Family
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Written by Candace Ord Manroe
Photographs by Tim Street-Porter
Produced by Laura Hull
For Fun’s Sake
If third time’s a charm, no wonder this home designed by Jeff Andrews sings. His first project was for the client when she was single; then came marriage; and now, the kids.
“As a family home, every room had to be good for the kids,” says Jeff. “They play everywhere, with no restrictions.”
In other words, the white shag rug in the living room isn’t there just to be edgy. It’s also a perfect play surface to crawl, stretch out, and even roll around on. “Of course it had to be beautiful,” says Andrews, “but it was just as important that it be fun and interesting.”
Because Andrews and his client knew each other well, they threw out the rulebook. “There were no formal presentations,” he explains. “Each room just started with a fabulous fabric she liked. I pulled all the colors out of that and ran with it.”
In the living room, it was the linen print fabricated into draperies that started the momentum. Yellow cotton velvet on a pair of low-slung tufted chairs came next, followed by a green velvet on the front of a ’50s-style wing chair duo pulled up to the fireplace. “Both my client and I are really into pairs. We do pairs of everything."
Jeff put funk above formality in the dining room, starting with the custom chandeliers he designed using vintage German pendants. Dark burgundy walls and ethnic print fabric add drama while the fun mix of styles assures casual living.
The client has deep pockets, but even deeper is her love of pieces that are pure fun, especially art and accessories. Investment for its own sake doesn’t interest her. So instead of collecting paintings with pedigree, Jeff and his client “would hit the antiques malls in Pasadena, looking for vintage landscapes. She loves them.”
In the same playful spirit, Jeff sprinkled brass starbursts across one of the living room’s longest walls. “Nothing here takes itself too seriously,” the designer insists. “These brass wall sculptures just add a touch of glam. We didn’t overthink it.”
The black-and-white marble floor in the entryway was pre-existing. Andrews energized the space with the addition of a pair of hanging retro globe lights.
“We wanted to maximize seating,” says Andrews, “so we started with this huge sectional. We also wanted to keep all the furniture low because the ceilings really aren’t high.” Retro lighting makes an appearance in the corner, where vintage-glass pendants cluster at varying heights.
Restored by previous owners, the house still sports its original fireplace. A fireside sitting area demonstrates Andrews's love of symmetry: “Everything in twos,” he says. Note the pair of wing chairs, the pair of topiaries, and the pair of sconces above a pair of demilune tables on either side of the fireplace.
Living Room Details
Andrews maintains symmetry around the fireside sitting area, down to the twin tufted throw pillows.
“I went against the grain of a formal dining room to create a more casual room with a lounge feel that works as well for a chic dinner party as it does for a summer brunch,” says Andrews. The oversized banquette and two tables pushed together make the long, narrow room seem more intimate and comfortable.
White marble and a silver backsplash keep the kitchen feeling bright and airy. The expansive kitchen island provides plenty of counter space and eases traffic flow between the entertainment and dining rooms.
Dusty lavender walls match the sofa’s hue. Sectionals set at right angles allow for intimate conversation as well as casual relaxation. An ottoman in the middle doubles as a table.
“She just let me do my thing here,” says Andrews of the guest room. “I wanted it to have a little bit of drama, so I designed the headboard much taller than I typically would.” The palette started with the window’s navy blue sheers. The headboard’s velvet paisley followed. Vintage chairs create symmetry at the window.
Details on the following slide.
Guest Bedroom Details
A pair of mercury-glass pendant lights on either side bring balance to the bed and “give a traditional room a little edge,” adds the designer. “It’s all about the unexpected.”
“I created his-and-her baths. This one is hers. We replaced tile walls with beadboard and topped the beadboard with a textured Maya Romanoff wallpaper that’s not quite a strié. The cabinets are painted a gray moiré by Benjamin Moore. Every girl has a dream bath in her head. We kept it neutral—but girlie and fun.”
Instead of a normal-size headboard for the master suite, Andrews thought big. He designed a tufted piece that attaches to the wall and spans not only the bed but also the nightstands. At the foot of the bed, he added a bench in dusty-lavender velvet and then upped the color volume with a pair (what else?) of chartreuse green chairs.
Details on the following slides.
Master Bedroom Details
Bedside tables on either end of the custom headboard provide a place for books and an extra blanket for a cozy night in.
Master Bedroom Details
Mocha grass cloth adds textural interest to the master suite’s entry. Note the pair of lamps; symmetry rules.
Master Bedroom Sitting Area
Twin chartreuse velvet chairs beneath a mod chandelier form a casual sitting space in the master suite. Decorative greenery complements the color and brings a dose of nature indoors.
“This is one of my favorite rooms,” says Andrews. “It’s fun, and not just for kids.” Overscaled pendant lighting adds edginess, flanking artwork by Los Angeles artist Matthew Heller. The painting is the lyrics to Madonna’s “Little Star.” The design began with the printed linen at the window. The sofa is covered in a gold chenille. The khaki-gold feel-good rug is forgiving.
Five Tips from Designer Jeff Andrews
- To make retro work, make the house breathe. Don’t do everything vintage—you’ll feel like you’re living in a set.
- L.A. is loaded with fabulous vintage shopping! One of my favorites is Retro Gallery.
- Also check out Blackman Cruz.
- Galerie Sommerlath is another must-visit for vintage.
- And finally, downtown.