Discover the Inspiring Homes of Some of L.A.’s Coolest, Chicest Creatives

Dining area of Hollywood Hills home with architecture by Frederick Fisher and interiors by The Archers Richard Petit, featured in City of Dream: Los Angeles Interiors Rizzoli book

“One of the best reasons to live in Los Angeles,” says Annie Kelly, author of the recently released City of Dreams: Los Angeles Interiors, “is that there is always something you’ve never seen before just around the corner.” For her latest Rizzoli publication, the prolific Australian-born design writer and decorator again teamed up with her husband and creative collaborator, the celebrated British-born photographer Tim Street-Porter. Known for their Rooms to Inspire series and books about Mexican style, they envisioned City of Dreams as a discovery tour through their adopted hometown. 

The book focuses on the city’s architectural landmarks and its stylish and quirky interior design; thanks to their collective stature and long list of friends and admirers, the couple enjoy ready access to historic homes designed by acclaimed modernists (A. Quincy Jones, John Lautner and Craig Ellwood) and those reinvigorated by contemporary architects (Barbara Bestor and Marmol Radziner). 

They visit the homes of artists, celebrities and designers, as well as the residences of such esteemed 1stDibs gallerists as Lee Stanton, who lives with continental and neoclassical antiques in Laguna Beach, and Joel Chen, of JF Chen, whose Hancock Park house impresses with a vast personal collection, including a brass and leather T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings stool, a hand-painted Meiji-era (1868–1912) Japanese screen and 18th-century Italian columns once housed in Hearst Castle. 

Rich with history and detail, Kelly’s introductory essay examines Los Angeles’s unique style signatures over the past 100-plus years — a confluence of modernist architecture and art, Hollywood set design, trend-setting interior decorating and carefully curated retail settings. In the chapters that follow, she serves as a detail-driven docent with a disposition as sunny as Street-Porter’s beautifully composed, naturally lit photographs. 

Pool and exterior of Garcia House by architect John Lautner in Hollywood Hills renovated by Marmol Radziner, featured in City of Dreams: Los Angeles Interiors Rizzoli
Garcia House, designed by architect John Lautner in the 1960s, clings to a precipitous cliff in the canyons of the Hollywood Hills. Originally built for film composer and conductor Russell Garcia and his wife, Gina Garcia, it was recently restored and updated over the course of 12 months by the Los Angeles firm Marmol Radziner.

Kelly escorts the reader through a trio of artists’ self-decorated homes — Charles Arnoldi’s sleek Malibu residence, Clare Graham’s treasure-filled Highland Park compound and Peter Shire’s colorful Memphis-inflected mid-century bungalow in Echo Park — as well as an Elton John apartment in West Hollywood decorated by Londoner-turned-Angeleno Martyn Lawrence Bullard

The book highlights interiors by other top Los Angeles interior designers, as well, its pages documenting work by Jamie Bush, Oliver Furth, Giampiero Tagliaferri and the ArchersRichard Petit. For a Hollywood Hills commission, Petit mixed custom pieces of his own creation with mid-20th-century Italian designs by Mario Bellini, Vico Magistretti and Gae Aulenti, plus work from such late-20th and early-21st-century Dutch masters as Dirk van der Kooij and Marcel Wanders

Desk area of design writer Mayer Rus's Los Angeles home in Silver Lake featured in City of Dreams: Los Angeles Interiors Rizzoli

In the living room of the Silver Lake bungalow of design writer Mayer Rus, an Eero Saarinen chair sits at a mosaic-tiled desk between an Akari paper lamp light sculpture by Isamu Noguchi and a traditional Alpine Swiss–style chair recolored silver.

A peek into Jean-Louis Deniot’s West Hollywood home — adorned with a 17th-century Spanish chandelier, 1940s classics by Jacques Adnet and Jean-Michel Frank and a Hervé Van der Straeten stool — establishes a link between French mid-century decorating and the organic modernism of Southern California style. 

By contrast, the home of design writer Mayer Rus exudes a freewheeling, only-in-L.A. aura, integrating Isamu Noguchi, Eero Saarinen, Gaetano Pesce and Ikea in a 900-square-foot former hunting lodge in Silver Lake. In the bedroom, Rus draped a Mao-era Chinese propaganda banner behind his headboard and covered the bed with a coverlet printed with Burt Reynolds’s infamous nude centerfold from Cosmopolitan magazine. 

Dining area of Malibu home of artist Charles Arnoldi featured in City of Dreams: Los Angeles Interiors Rizzoli

Artist Charles Arnoldi selected a trio of bent-plywood chairs by Charles and Ray Eames to surround the dining table of his Malibu home, which overlooks a cactus garden of his own design, with the Pacific beyond.

Kelly and Street-Porter’s own residence — the Villa Vallombrosa, a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in Whitley Heights — earns its own chapter. Kelly decorated the 1920s Venetian-style home in grand style, most notably in a chinoiserie-themed sitting room and gracious spaces appointed with 19th-century furniture from Italy, France, Syria and Turkey. These create a backdrop for sculptural pieces by their friend Tony Duquette, the famed late maximalist designer, and works by L.A. artists Ed Ruscha, Billy Al Bengston and Dan McCleary

“The Villa Vallombrosa lives on in the same spirit in which it was designed,” Kelly writes, “an example of the enduring Los Angeles preoccupation with creating a fantasy environment.”

Cover of book City of Dreams: Los Angeles Interiors Rizzoli
Rizzoli released Kelly and Street-Porter’s City of Dreams: Los Angeles Interiors earlier this spring.

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