If there’s one thing Jeff Andrews has learned during his years designing residences by and for boldface names, it’s that every interior, no matter how glamorous, has to feel like home. That careful balance between drama and real-life was just what a prominent New York-based physician hoped to achieve when he purchased this Doheny Estates home, which he envisioned as a West Coast retreat. The two-level contemporary house had all the clean lines and grand gestures one would expect from its acclaimed architect, Paul McClean of McClean Design. But as stunning as its glass-and marble-walled spaces were, it left the new owner wishing for a bit more warmth—which Andrews was poised to provide.
“I loved the drama of the architecture,” the designer recalls of his first visit to the home, built by Craig R. Williams Construction. “I loved the amount of natural light that was in every room. It was a really good blank slate to infuse some life into, and I was anxious to get my hands on it and figure out how to make it a more livable space.”
Working with very few instructions from his client, Andrews set his design direction—“earthy, warm, modern glamour,” he calls it—which guided his search for shapes, textures and colors that would complement the home’s cool palette of stone, oak and glass. “I wanted the furniture to be very architectural and artistic in its own right, but also comfortable,” he says of pieces that range from a hand-carved wood bench in the entry to a set of sculptural, gold-footed dining chairs. There are also a number of Andrews’ own designs here: upholstered pieces from his collection for A. Rudin and a striking wallcovering with a pattern inspired by vintage ceramic textures and a color he describes as “poison.” Says Andrews of the hue, “It’s not quite mossy green, not quite yellow, not quite gold. It’s an in-between thing that you almost think you’re not going to like, but then you do. It’s a statement.”
And a statement, Andrews adds, is just what this house required. “Sometimes I take the bold pattern, and it’s just on a pillow, and sometimes I go for it and put it everywhere—which works in this case because the walls are not walls, they’re windows. The house needed pattern and texture and color and layers to offset the fact that it’s so very open and expansive. You needed something to give you a little bit of a design hug.”
The eye-catching wallcovering—prominently placed in the stairwell and family room—drives a natural yet fresh palette that flows seamlessly throughout the main level’s open floor plan, from the living room’s patchwork hair-on-hide rug to the family room’s chevron-patterned sectional to a scattering of locally made ceramic accents. “There are a lot of ceramics in here because I’m obsessed with what they bring to a room,” Andrews says. “I love the textures and glazes and human touch, which I think adds a layer of intensity to any interior.”
Nowhere is this more evident than in the kitchen, where Andrews warmed up expanses of stone countertops and lacquered cabinetry with a custom, multi-pendant light fixture composed of handmade stoneware forms, which drapes over both islands. “It’s beautiful, quiet and sculptural,” he says. He achieved a similar effect in the adjacent dining area, where rock crystals attached to a linear, illuminated rod appear to float in the air. “I love things that feel organic but that are also, in an interesting way, modern.”
The designer further explored that juxtaposition in the main bedroom, balancing the clean lines of contemporary furnishings and floor-to-ceiling operable glass walls with soft, painterly details in soothing hues: a wallcovering patterned with watercolor brushstrokes, a fabric that evokes marbleized paper, and an abstract painting that captures the colors and curved banding of agates. In the en suite bathroom, wood ceilings, oak cabinetry and a few oversize ceramic vessels provide just enough texture to offset the glamour of book-matched marble floors and mirrored walls. “It was all about striking a balance between creating warmth and comfort while honoring the modern architecture,” Andrews says of his design, which relies on subtleties to achieve both its livability and its drama. “It’s the kind of house where the longer you linger, the more you notice.”