Joe Lucas and Parrish Chilcoat transform a Hancock Park treasure into an updated family home
Beautiful Tudor Home
Los Angeles is a city of surprises, but few are as unexpected as Hancock Park. The leafy vest-pocket neighborhood is as charming as any scene Norman Rockwell ever portrayed. “It’s a fabulous little hidden sliver of the East Coast,” says L.A.-based interior designer Joe Lucas. He should know—both he and Parrish Chilcoat, his business partner at Lucas Studio, are transplanted New Englanders.
Lucas thinks the appeal of this 1925 Tudor-style beauty goes back even further than the 13 colonies. “It’s like a mini Downton Abbey,” he says. “It’s even got an upstairs area that feels like it might have once been a staff wing.” In a zip code dotted with notable homes, this house’s sparkling diamond-patterned windows, enormous airy spaces, and exuberant moldings make it a neighborhood standout.
Photography: Karyn Millet
Produced by Jenny Bradley
Yet when Jay Ackerman and his wife, Stacy Sibley, went in search of a “forever house” to raise their two growing sons—Brayden, 10, and Jonah, 4 —they dismissed this place as a rundown old pile. Despite its being the work of noted architect Arthur B. Benton, it was in disrepair and had been languishing on the market for years. Most evenings, Jay and Stacy would walk their dog past the house and speculate on what it was like inside. Their conclusion: “dark.” And as much as Stacy loves Tudor architecture, Jay’s antipathy to dimly lit spaces made it a no-go. Then one day, Stacy got an excited text from Jay, who was inside the house. “This is nothing like what you’d expect from the outside.”
So the reinvention of this lovely grand dame began. Due to the couple’s affection and respect for historical detail (they’d renovated five previous homes), the physical transformation consisted mostly of surface changes—painting and repair, sleek new bathrooms, and a beautiful 21st-century kitchen. “We didn’t blow out spaces; we wanted to keep the old-house feel,” Stacy explains.
To the designer's eye, the public spaces were oppressive. “The living and dining rooms were very formal and dreary. There was this dark-stained mahogany crown molding that looked like a big uni-brow in need of trimming. I felt very strongly it needed to be painted out,” Lucas says.
"That did take time to digest," says Jay, "but now I see it was the right decision. And we kept the dark-stained paneling in the entry which makes that room really pop out at you."
The dark stain serves to emphasize the updated painted moldings in the home’s other public spaces
Stacy says she and Jay were anxious about preserving the house’s integrity. “Keeping the 1920s feel was very important to us.” Lucas and Chilcoat’s solution was to update the architecture with a dose of youthful glamour. “We used traditional shapes with fabrics that feel fresh,” Lucas says.
A custom settee is striking against the dark paneling of the foyer.
Fearless Dining Room
The most fearless mix occurs in the dining room. “This room used to have such a sad old vibe,” recalls Lucas. “The wallpaper elevated the room to amazing. It’s a coral-y orange, pink, green, and purple world in there, and it makes Stacy so happy.”
The dark-stained mahogany molding was painted over in the dining room, effectively lightening up the space. The designers paired a walnut dining table from Harbinger with painted Louis-style chairs upholstered in a Travers stripe (on the back) and a Schumacher velvet (on the seat). Emerald-green curtains mix playfully with a patterned wallpaper from Idarica Gazzoni.
Table Setting Detail
Conveying the family members’ individual personalities seemed to be Lucas and Chilcoat’s decorative aim. They diligently went about unearthing sentimental family treasures and integrating them into the design. In the dining room, they reflected Stacy’s spontaneity and sense of fun.
At the table, antique china mixes with linens from World Market.
The couple’s antique china plays perfectly off the dining room’s vibrant palette.
Lovely Living Room Window
If the dining room is Stacy, the living room is more Jay—subdued and smart. “The rest of the house is a good mix of the two,” says Lucas, “so there’s an undercurrent of who they are running throughout.
Designers Joe Lucas and Parrish Chilcoat honored the stately architectural details of the room, but injected a youthful glamour. The settee and chairs from Harbinger fit perfectly in the beautiful window bay.
Another view of the living room is on the next slide.
Sentimental pieces enhance the personal design of the house. “My dad passed away when I was 4,” says Stacy. “He had dabbled in painting, and some of his artwork was sitting in storage and some was stowed in a closet, but Joe got them out and hung one in Brayden’s room and one in the living room. It’s such a joy to see Dad’s paintings every day.”
The punch of pink on the pillows from Pat McGann Gallery makes the room both more approachable and more energetic. The tufted sofa upholstered in a Perennials fabric is from Harbinger.
Colorful pillows pop on a neutral sofa. Opposite an armchair covered in Idarica Gazzoni painted canvas, a vintage leather adds masculine charm.
A beautiful pink floral arrangement holds court in the living room.
The newly renovated kitchen updates the home without distracting from its 1920s charm. The backsplash tile is from Waterworks.
Woven chairs from Janus et Cie and a custom table add visual weight to the breakfast room. The shade fabric is from Pindler & Pindler.
Upstairs, Lucas made sure young Brayden’s room highlighted his passions with a coat of Boston Celtics green. What 10-year-old boy wouldn’t jump at a chance to have his bedroom reflect his favorite team?
A bold Plumwich fabric on the headboard and a papier-mâché animal sculpture above it ensure that boring is banished from Brayden’s room.
Beautiful beds from Noir Trading are topped with fresh bedding from West Elm. A Missoni Morello rug in “Bark” adds fun color underfoot.
Cool Master Bedroom
In the master bedroom, walls are painted a cool cement gray. A four-poster bed from RH anchors the space.
Another view of the bedroom is on the following slide.
Master Bedroom Seating Area
A soft green, tufted wing chair acts as a curvaceous partner to a vintage dresser and provides a pop of color to the neutral room. Sconces flanking the Bunny Williams Home mirror are from Circa Lighting. The four-poster bed from RH is covered in a zesty, patterned fabric.
Kelsey, a terrier mix, enjoys the comfy new upholstery on the couch in the master bedroom.
A vanity painted in a soft gray from Pratt & Lambert is paired with a marble countertop. Sconces are by Ralph Lauren through Circa Lighting.
Master Bathroom Tub Area
A Swedish arm chair cozies up to the soaking tub; the “Bargello” window shade draws out the colors in the watercolor painting.
Homeowners Jay and Stacy say they don’t see the project ever truly ending. “The other day Joe brought some gorgeous coral fans over and they look incredible,” says Stacy. “With a house like this, we can add things, and it will change as we change. Old houses can do that. That’s what I love about them. The original owner’s initial is still carved above our front door and we’ll never get rid of it. Joe understood that, but he also knew we needed to make this place our own.”
Jay Ackerman with his wife, Stacy Sibley, and their sons, Brayden and Jonah.