A big go-to word for me is ‘magic,’” designer Adam Hunter says, “and this home needed it.” Situated on a quiet, well-manicured street in Pacific Palisades, the existing modern house was, according Hunter, the first of its kind on the block. “The rest are all very coastal or Hamptons-style,” he explains, “and then there was this house. When it was first built, it was a very new idea for the Palisades. Now you’re seeing more and more of them.” To make the abode inviting and alive for themselves and their children, the homeowners turned to Hunter, who introduced a variety of colors and textures and persuaded his clients to think beyond the merely comfortable. Embracing the designer’s “playful yet refined vision,” notes the wife, resulted in “a balanced, functional, warm and meaningful environment.”
A looser, more casual feel begins in the glass, stone and wood entryway where a zigzag-pattern Missoni rug, circular painting, curved sculpture and tiered, blown-glass chandelier easily temper the seriousness of the space. However, achieving a gentle transition into the adjoining dining area required some spatial sleight of hand. “There wasn’t a lot of division between rooms,” Hunter points out. “The space was very lofty, which makes it beautifully open, but we had to do some delineating.” A pleasant partition came via a custom-built, onyx-clad piece that acts as a cabinet in the dining room and as a wall in the entry. Contemporary yet warm, it injects just the right note of color.
The wife, whom Hunter describes as “a chic Mary Poppins–brilliant, gorgeous and magical,” loved bold use of color and immediately discovered that she was in the right hands. “I always say if you use color, you have to use it very pointedly or you get dated rooms quickly,” the designer cautions. Hunter’s instinct for knowing exactly when color should sing and when it should whisper is evident throughout. For the husband’s study, he chose a calming deep blue to dominate the space. “Blue is tranquil,” the designer says, “but at the same time so magically alluring in this rich hue.”
The master bedroom, enveloped in soft, neutral tones derived from the home’s limestone, is a different matter altogether. “I almost exclusively do colorless bedrooms,” the designer explains. “The master sitting room does have a teal velvet sofa, so there is some color there.” Otherwise, a gentle cream hue prevails. “The grande dame in the room is a Kelly Wearstler carpet,” he says, “which brings all the neutrals together in an almost cinematic way.”
Hunter took a similarly understated approach in the living room where “cooling hues allow your eyes to take in the details of each piece,” he says. “The rug and art have a subtle, calming movement to them; the wood details in the side tables paired with neutral upholstery allow the space to be elegant yet inviting.”
An eye-catching bar, positioned to maximize views of the pool and the Palisades beyond, completes the large-scale living room. The plan had originally called for a grand piano, but considering the clients frequent entertaining, Hunter refashioned the space into more of a clubroom. Made of peacock onyx, the bar “looks like it has wings,” says the designer, alluding to the stone’s “magnificent feathery texture.” (Across the board, Hunter favored “translucent and buttery” onyx over marble as a way to lessen the formality of the house.)
Careful application of color and well-placed, larger-scale gestures were part of the wizardry Hunter employed to create this smartly stylish, vibrant and warm residence. Adherence to a guiding principle also helped: “‘Trust the process’ is something I have to remember all the time,” the designer says. “It’s all about timing and letting go. When you can let your people do what they do best–let your artists paint, let your writers write, let the architects draw– then it all turns out almost magically.”