A blank canvas became a traditional, yet fun and funky home
Every morning, on his way to the office inside his new Pacific Palisades home, songwriter Matthew Gerrard strides past his gleaming “Hall of Guitars.” The colorful array neatly illustrates the way L.A. designer Jeff Andrews—decorator to talents like Ryan Seacrest, Michael C. Hall, and even a Kardashian or two—goes about creating inspiring homes for creative people.
“I think there should be something interesting to see everywhere you look,” Andrews says. “The creative process needs energy and visual interest just as much as a home needs function and livability.” And what could be more inspiring for the songwriter/producer of music for hits like Hannah Montana and High School Musical than passing the sleek tools of his trade on his way to work every day? “I’ll just grab one of the guitars off the wall, depending on my mood, and go into my office,” says Matthew. And then—magic happens.
Actually, thanks to Andrews, magic happens everywhere here.
Matthew’s partner in music and in life, singer Ashley Saunig, first contacted the designer after she compiled a list of the couple’s furnishings suitable for the elegant new house they’d just purchased. “There was nothing! Jeff had a blank slate!” Ashley laughs.
“It was a designer’s dream,” agrees Andrews. “A builder’s spec house but with quality finishes throughout. It was a beautiful white canvas. I’m so proud of the way it turned out—traditional, yet fun and funky.”
The home’s unique decor is apparent as soon as the door swings open in the distinguished fieldstone facade. Rather than the usual center-hall-table-with-mirror combo, visitors walk into a full-on furnished room. It’s a dazzling combination of vintage chairs, a refurbished midcentury Danish settee, and ultra-modern rugs. “The entry is now a wonderful sitting room,” says Andrews. “It’s a newer, fresher version of an old-school parlor.”
The designer bent the “traditional rules” wherever he could to give the house a spirit befitting his young clients. “It wasn’t ever about him,” says Ashley. “Jeff was forever asking us to tell him what felt right to us.”
That active dialogue became especially critical when it was time to choose materials. “We’re vegetarians and animal lovers. We wanted everything animal-friendly,” explains Ashley. No leather, no fur, no skin. “That must have been limiting for Jeff,” Matthew says, “but I find as an artist, when you have limitations, it can be good. It helps you stretch and come up with things you might not have thought of otherwise.”
Perhaps he means things like the eye-catching life-size bronze cranes in the dining room. Or the living room hearth’s sculpture of a cat staring up at a gold metallic elk on the coffee table. There’s a porcelain bird lamp in the library, three leaping dolphins on an entry table, and some partridges in the master bedroom. And, adds Matthew, “I think the chandeliers in the entry and upstairs hall look like sea urchins.”
“Oh gosh, it is a menagerie! It was not premeditated, I promise!” laughs Andrews. “I guess it just felt right to choose accessories that spoke to Ashley and Matthew’s passion for animals.”
Most of the zoological accessories are midcentury treasures the designer found on what he describes as his “obsessive” antiques and thrift store crawls. “The architecture of this house is deeply traditional, so I thought our design needed a little funkiness, a little vintage flair,” he explains. “For example, the table outside the breakfast room has such an Old Hollywood look. You could see Joan Crawford sitting there as easily as this young couple.”
For continuity, Andrews gave every room some variation on the same soothing color palette of soft blue, green, and sand. “I wanted the whole house to flow and have harmony, even though each room has its own identity,” he explains, “I used colors with good flavor—warm and inviting. I don’t think super-high contrast is ever easy to live with.”
What is easy to live with is the transformation brought about by the couple’s 1931 Steinway grand piano. “Pianos are a pretty standard piece in living rooms,” says Andrews. “But when you put a piano into the living room of a songwriter, and he sits down and starts playing, it changes the vibe of the house completely.”
Three months ago, the house’s vibe got another shock when Ashley and Matthew welcomed baby Zac into their lives. “When I brought Zac home, it was amazing,” says Ashley. “The family room already felt like a family room. I’m sure some things will change as we grow into the house, but essentially it still looks like it did on that first day. We brought a baby home, and nothing needed to change!”
“That’s so gratifying to me as a designer,” says Andrews. “It means I left everything exactly the way it was meant to be.”
Interior designer Jeff Andrews, Jeff Andrews-Design, 354 W. Ave. 42, Los Angeles, CA 90065; 323/227-9777, www.jeffandrews-design.com .
Photography: Grey Crawford
Produced by Jenny Bradley
Chairs get new life with fronts and seats in a Lee Jofa paisley complemented by a lively stripe. Kravet sheers dress the paned doors. The rug is from The Rug Company.
Songwriter Matthew Gerrard’s guitar collection lines the wall on the way to his home office.
A huge mirror behind a sofa from A. Rudin expands the space, while elegant bisque-colored walls happily partner the vintage pottery on the mantel and the pair of sleek lamps from Blackman Cruz. A Kelly Wearstler rug from The Rug Company and pillows in a modern suzani from Donghia add shots of youth.
Living Room Details
A cat sculpture fit for a pharaoh sits below the marble mantel. The curvaceous fire screen is designed by Jeff Andrews.
Living Room Details
A vintage brass lamp warms this corner of the living room. The inviting lounge chair is from Baker.
Wood paneling and furniture warms the library. A bamboo chandelier and armchairs pair well with the curious peacock desk lamp.
Colorful vintage paintings put an edgy thrift-shop spin on the traditional wood-paneled library. Matching vintage chairs are covered in velvet from Bergamo.
The vintage pendant lights were reclaimed from an old Range Rover factory in France. The table is from Oly Studio.
The recently built home has an aristocratic “been here forever” feel.
A sun-soaked terrace includes a beautiful fireplace, inviting nighttime entertainment outdoors. Stately topiaries add organic dimension to the seating area. The unique wooden table is from Bo Tree.
Terrace Dining Area
A vintage patio set from Downtown graces the patio.
Matthew Gerrard and Ashley Saunig relax on their porch swing.
A soothing palette of grays and blues brings peace and quiet to the family room. Pillow fabrics from Raoul Textiles and Jasper add textural interest to the sofa.
Side tables from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams are pushed together to anchor the space and create one large coffee table.
A dark-stained walnut island stands out against white painted cabinets. Whimsical stools add modern snap and harmonize with the wood countertop.
Vibrant wallpaper in the powder rooms commands attention. An elegant chandelier from Revival Antiques lights the space.
Designer Jeff Andrews says, “I’m so proud of the way this house turned out—traditional, yet fun and funky.”
Starbursts above the bed add a dose of playfulness to the guest bedroom. A velvet bench, plush pillows, and a heavenly mohair throw contribute to the home’s soothing palette.
Color is the name of the game in this festive playroom. A painting by Chase Langford sets the stage for bold emerald walls, funky vintage lamps, and a tangerine mohair throw. A unique wooden chair doubles as a piece of artwork itself.
Walls covered in a combed wallpaper from Keith McCoy & Associates and a Brutalist metal wall sculpture over the bed have a retro feel, while curtains from Lee Jofa and a rug from The Rug Company create a 21st-century vibe.
A Sputnik chandelier from Orange Furniture adds glamour to the master bathroom.
Master Bedroom Desk Area
A desk from Lawson-Fenning doubles as a vanity with a glamorous gilt scroll mirror from Fat Chance.