In the most traditional of houses, a Los Angeles designer embraces a new attitude.
Written and produced by Krissa Rossbund
Photography by Luca Travato
Toss the visual clutter to achieve a simplified, more peaceful life. That’s the advice often recommended to clients by experts in the field of interior design.
Why? Because the concept does, in fact, work. Just ask Janis and Jeffrey Susskind. In their traditional Brentwood, California, home they started with formal rooms full of saturated palettes and pretty floral and toile fabrics that offered a mass of visual treats. It was a picture of loveliness—but not a simple canvas. Years of art collecting directed the couple toward a new and updated aesthetic: a neutral palette and contemporary furnishings that would flatter the Susskinds’ assemblage of fine art.
Enter Beverly Hills interior designer Natasha Baradaran. Her well-curated selections made the interior scheme fall into place. A simple ivory base provides a classic backdrop for a roster of interesting textures and shapely furniture that matches the artistic qualities of the artwork on the walls.
“Their style has evolved into a transitional look,” says Baradaran. “They wanted to balance the architecture with clean-lined pieces to create spaces that appeared collected instead of over-designed.
In the living room, Baradaran applied a gray-green hemp material to the walls, enhancing the light that gleams through the windows. Other textural fabrics—chenille on the sofa, mohair on the ottoman, and silk-linen on the armchairs—add to the interplay of light and shadow. Architecturally, the fireplace is the room’s focal point, but a vignette in the back of the room impresses with a David Hockney lithograph and a faceted object by sculptor Ken Price.
On the other hand, the dining room was a lesson in tension established by existing antique pieces and new contemporary forms. An antique Georgian dining table and sideboard, both purchased in New Orleans, are anchored by a Persian rug. The modern silhouette of new dining chairs and a cloisonné bowl by Robert Kuo offer interesting contrasts.
In the kitchen, the Susskinds ordered a comprehensive renovation that would retain the existing skylights but outfit the space with all-new components. “They wanted this space to hint at those glossy Italian kitchens,” explains Baradaran. “I used white because it implies clean and then added retro lighting, flat drawer fronts, and modern hardware that made the area sleek while still maintaining the same warmth that emerges from the other rooms.”
For the family room, the Susskinds needed a large sectional for times when the family gathers to watch TV or a movie, but they didn’t want it to be in a light color. Baradaran found a low-profile piece upholstered in neutral gray, a color that offers more visual weight. Red accents thrust additional fashionable color into the room.
Once bathed in red-and-white toile, the master bedroom was reimagined as a serene oasis. Baradaran applied wallpaper patterned in lavender and blue blossoms on the wall behind the bed and installed coordinating color-block drapery panels.
Although the total transformation was bigger than they initially anticipated, the Susskinds are happy with the metamorphosis of their home’s interior spaces.
“I’m not sure that, at the onset of the project, we envisioned as much of a change as actually occurred,” says Janis. “But once we saw the results of Natasha’s initial work—being able to incorporate favorite antique pieces into a contemporary environment that would enhance our artwork—we were so pleased.”
Architect: Richard Landry, Landry Design G roup, 11333 Iowa Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90025; 310/444-1404, landrydesigngroup.com.
Interior designer: Natasha Baradaran, Natasha Baradaran Interior Design, 9454 Wishire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212; 310/278-6003, natashabaradaran.com.