This study was designed by architect Linda Brettler for her husband, Matthew Weiner (creator of Mad Men). It is in a 1920’s Spanish-style house in the Hollywood Hills that they renovated and restored. This space immediately made me think of one you might see in a decorator show house which are, many times, experiments in design meant to wow an audience.
I’m drawn to the contrasts of this space, a room that is essentially a garden room decorated as if it were a wood paneled study or gentleman’s den. The custom designed shelving behind the desk looks as if it is open to the outdoors – a genius design to allow the practicality of a bookcase (a beautifully ornate one) but maintain maximum natural light. An attention to detail has touched every inch of the space, floor to ceiling, bringing in different periods and styles. But my favorite pieces have to be those chrome chairs in front of the desk – wow!
One of the best decisions we ever made was having the covered porch built onto the back of our house. I wanted an addition that looked original to the house, had a substantial presence and allowed me to create an exterior space that complemented our interiors.
When we bought the house it had a wood deck that was about half the size of the space we wanted and it just wasn’t meeting our needs. Surprisingly, the only photo I can find of the back of the house is this small, grainy one from the binder when the house was for sale. The back yard space definitely wasn’t a selling point for us, but the potential was pretty easy to envision.
My goal was a space that was an extension of the inside, one that was covered so that we could enjoy it on rainy days (and to help block the sun); but, it needed to feel like we were fully outside and not enclosed at all. Therefore, I really wanted to avoid having to add screening. We’re fortunate that (knock wood) we do not have a problem with bugs or mosquitoes in our back yard, so forfeiting a screened enclosure was not a detriment to enjoying the space whenever we wanted. Although the porch foundation is elevated due to the height of the back door and windows, I also passed on any railings around the porch (we did have to adhere to the height requirements to be able to do this, which meant building up the surrounding ground a few inches).
I created some sketches of what I wanted, along with size/dimensions; and our contractor took it from there, ensuring that my concept was structurally sound and architecturally fit.
The construction was a bit more extensive than expected because of the foundation that the porch required. After getting a no-go on the first inspection of our big hole, our contractor had to dig about 9-10 feet in order to find a solid ground foundation on which the porch could be built; and, of course, it was all clay creating a big red, muddy mess.
It was 9 years ago that we tackled this project, so the porch decor and surrounding elements have evolved over the years, but we’ve enjoyed it immensely and it’s a perfect place to hang out in the evenings with some wine and lounge-style music. We’re currently working on replacing plants in surrounding areas and I need to rearrange the patio off of the porch, so I’ll post photos of the full exterior when we complete those projects.
I typically cringe on matching pieces inside our house, but I like an overall monochromatic, consistent look (and very little pattern) for an outdoor space; and although I do like a bit of color, I like limiting it to accessories and keeping it consistent throughout as well. All of the furniture pieces are from Restoration Hardware and still look fantastic after many years (even the pieces on the patio) – they are definitely our retailer of choice for outdoor furniture. The outdoor curtains are from Pottery Barn and I’m surprised how well they have done after so long – each Fall I launder them and hang them in the closet for the winter, but they typically hang outside from early May through late October.