An Altadena Abode Gets A Bright And Stylish Look


traditional exterior landscape

The country French-style details on the exterior of a 1930s Altadena home belie the transformation undertaken inside by interior designer Amy Sklar and architect Barbara Bestor. For their clients, a couple with two teenagers, the duo balanced a traditional sensibility with fresh, modern elements.

traditional living room staircase piano

As a nod to traditional East Coast aesthetics, Sklar dressed the staircase, which accesses the attic-turned-family room, with a striped runner from Woodard & Greenstein in New York City. A vibrant painting from the owners' collection hangs above a piano in the living room, where dark-stained oak flooring adds texture and warmth.

traditional white staircase nook underneath...

Satisfying the clients' request for a home with comfortable, nap-friendly areas, Bestor carved out a nook--with a built-in walnut bench and storage drawers--beneath the staircase. Sklar outfitted the space with a vintage landline telephone, a Rich Brilliant Willing wall sconce and a Raoul Textiles palm print on the cushion and wall.

traditional white dining room floral...

In the dining room, a pendant from Schoolhouse Electric suspends above a Saarinen table from Design Within Reach. Cane armchairs and side chairs from Bungalow 5, all refinished with white lacquer, are punctuated with cushions in a Christopher Farr floral from Thomas Lavin. Beneath is a rug from Pottery Barn.

traditional white kitchen white cafe...

Cafe curtains in a JAB fabric from Thomas Lavin dress the kitchen windows, which are painted in Benjamin Moore's Black Iron. Rowla Studios fabricated the cabinetry. Carrara marble tops the perimeter counters; the faucet is by Perrin & Rowe.

traditional open kitchen dark blue...

Working with builder David King, Bestor enlarged the kitchen, opening it to the living room and the outdoors; she anchored the space with a dark-blue-painted island topped with soapstone. Sklar hung a chandelier by Lambert & Fils above the island and placed wood counter chairs by Lawson-Fenning around it.

traditional neutral white bedroom

In the master suite, China Seas fabric from Quadrille outfits one of the walls, the headboard, the Roman shades and the drapery fabric. The silk lining for the bed curtains is by Libas Limited. Elitis fabric from Donghia covers the lounge chair and ottoman, illuminated by a Rejuvenation floor lamp. Lawson-Fenning supplied the Franco Albini rattan ottoman and the Jason Koharik bedside sconce. The vanity chair is by Mecox, and the lights flanking it are from YLighting.

traditional bedroom perfumes

Sklar took a different approach to color in the master suite, opting for pale beige, creamy white and soft, pale pink in lieu of the bolder colors elsewhere in the house. To help create a sophisticated feeling for the space, she chose an antique French vanity from Chairish.

When you’re standing inside the 1930s country French-style house interior designer Amy Sklar and architect Barbara Bestor recently reimagined for a family in Altadena, you can’t help but recall the movie The Ice Storm, or one of Wes Anderson’s brightly colored and nostalgic film sets.

The starting point for the interior architecture was to create larger, more open spaces–and smaller, cozy ones, too. But Bestor almost never achieves that without the employment of color. “I use color to transform something that’s boring or dated,” says Bestor.

And for the furnishings, Sklar used color and pattern in much the same way. “There are George Smith chairs in the living room that I covered with a happy floral print by Raoul Textiles,” the designer says, describing the bright yellow, pink, red, blue and green upholstery. “But the coffee table is a solid lacquered navy blue that functions as a neutral. I wanted vibrancy without a riot of color. Too many layers would’ve made this granny-ish.”

Sklar’s judicious color and pattern application is the difference between a home that looks like the set of The Ice Storm and a home that recalls the best aspects of a bygone sensibility. “I was very conscious of giving the house a base that’s simple, flexible and clean,” the designer says. “But you’ve no idea how refreshing it was to be able to do something you would absolutely never see in a typical Los Angeles home.”