A Modernized French-Mediterranean Beverly Hills Retreat


At the pinnacle of one of Beverly Hills’ most coveted drives—nestled into a serene oasis with both canyon and mountain views—sits a modern French-mediterranean retreat. “I feel like I live above the clouds,” says Fabienne Dufourg, who with her husband, Laurent, founder of famed hair salon Privé, owns this chic-yet-relaxed abode.

A salvaged antique Mexican door tucked under a small peaked metal roof beckons entry to the breezeway, which transitions to a courtyard featuring an iron table and matching chairs that suggest arrival into a world where conversation and calm are standard. Just beyond, a glass wall with an inset door leads into the open floor plan of the now modern—but not stark—residence. 

“When Fabienne bought the house, it was one-dimensional and had low ceilings,” says her Los Angeles-based architect and builder, Dominique Rocoffort de Vinnière. “It was like a shack,” adds Fabienne. “The previous owners had painted it brown inside and out!” She knew, however, that the house could be something special, and so she and Laurent proceeded to purchase the residence for its sublime location and peaceful feeling.

Fabienne and Rocoffort de Vinnière set about to restructure the house completely, paying special attention to architectural intrigue. So what had once been a small entry through a dark door with two rooms on either side is now a generous atrium-like area—a structural feature that floods the new entrance with light.

The public spaces were opened up to each other, creating living, seating and dining areas with a column at their intersecting point. It serves as both a structural support and a visual separation. “We also raised the ceilings to 9 feet and covered the existing dark wood beams,” says Rocoffort de Vinnière. To complete the area’s transformation, a wall of windows was installed at the far end that fully retracts to let light in and open the view to the pool.

“I like open, loft-like spaces,” says Fabienne, who did the interior design herself and chose simple pieces with clean lines to enhance rather than distract from the home’s newly created airiness. In the living room, a white L-shaped B&B Italia sofa embraces a low glass table with four pewter wheels. Abutting it, two square armchairs and a large ottoman set in front of a fireplace provide an intimate seating opportunity. Dark Brazilian cherrywood floors ground all the light and white.

Equally minimalist pieces can be seen in the adjacent dining room, where a mahogany table with metal legs is graced with a leather chair at either end and a pair of seats with curved-wood backs on both sides—all by Philippe Starck. Custom silk-and-wool rugs imported from Nepal further delineate the living and dining areas.

The overhaul continued in the master bedroom, by raising ceilings to 14 feet and installing four 12-foot curved-steel-framed French doors that lead out to terraces. “The master suite is so Zen,” says Fabienne. “The curtains, the carpet, the bedding—they’re all off-white. It’s my favorite room in the house.”

Where a carport once stood now sits a garage with a guesthouse above. “We dug into the side of the site to create it,” says Rocoffort de Vinnière. “The guesthouse added elevation on one side of the breezeway, which balances out the rest of the home on the other.” A retaining wall planted with ample vegetation was installed behind the structure to create privacy. In addition to the guesthouse, two other bedrooms in the main dwelling provide generous visiting quarters.

The peaceful and modest residence, which underwent its renovation years ago, has stood the test of time. “I am so grateful to Dominique,” says Fabienne, “because he taught me that if you choose to place authentic and natural materials in a house, it truly makes it timeless.”