My client, Michael Rosenfeld, was newly single when he bought this house in Malibu. He is an agent for Creative Artists Agency who represents a lot of comedians, such as Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Mindy Kaling. He is very outdoorsy and has two teenage sons. It’s a contemporary house on five levels, designed by architect Stephen Kent, with a beautiful roof terrace and views to the ocean and the Santa Monica Mountains.
The first time I visited, he had just moved in. He was sleeping on a mattress on the floor, and there was not a single chair. I immediately went out and bought him a few crucial pieces. I did 90 percent of the decorating in 90 days, which meant relying on a lot of vintage pieces and contemporary furnishings we could get fast. Michael is in the storytelling business, and here was an opportunity to tell his story. He is very straightforward.
This is not a house to impress—it’s a home to live in, casual and confident. I wanted to go against the cliché of the blue-and-white beach house. Materials were key, and nothing could feel precious. I used a lot of leather and hand-dyed linens.
The first big purchase was that sofa in the living room; the chocolate leather reminded me of a baseball mitt—which was perfect, because Michael is such a Dodgers fan. I knew it would hold up to the salt air, and you can put your feet up on it. The rug, based on a Roman design from the 1930s, reminded me of water, in an abstract way. The furnishings are quite minimal, although I couldn’t resist adding that Kelly Wearstler surfboard; it is shaved Russian birch and was crafted by a master surfboard maker.
At the Fog Design+Art Fair in San Francisco, I spotted a pair of avant-garde pendants by the fashion designer, sculptor, and surfer Rogan Gregory. I loved the shapes and that they are made out of surfboard foam and alabaster. They have great curves that soften the hard angles of the house. So much of decorating is like cooking: Sometimes you add an ingredient, and it completely changes the dish.
This story originally appeared in the March 2019 issue of Siweb.