When interior designer Meg Joannides’ clients noticed a property with a tennis court come on the market in Los Angeles’ smart Brentwood Park neighborhood, they snapped it up. The couple knew they would have to tear down the existing house – an unremarkable one-story, 1940s ranch – so they consulted Joannides, principal of MLK Studio, who had worked with them on a previous project.
Joannides interviewed a dozen architects before proposing they visit a residence Bobby McAlpine’s firm had designed in Napa Valley. After the couple saw the home, they commissioned McAlpine’s team to design a three-story, modern Colonial that would be both bold and beautiful. Joannides and the wife then brainstormed ideas and created a Pinterest page of possibilities.
“Bobby studied the neighborhood and saw this house as a big brother or big sister to the home next door,” Joannides adds. “He also envisioned it being what he called ‘as warm and inviting as a box of puppies.’ ”
The home the couple ultimately decided upon – a 10,000-square- foot, H-shaped residence with brick painted a discreet linen white in homage to neighboring properties – reads as an ode to classical symmetry. And it is, indeed, as welcoming as the pack of playful puppies McAlpine envisioned.
On the street facade, the home announces itself, sotto voce, with a private courtyard. Oversize, triple-hung steel windows in the sleek style of 1920s industrial factories, romantic balconies, peaked roofs, and a modern steel beam that anchors the gate to the courtyard create a poetic balance that adds a bit of modernity.
The property’s other structure, a clever barnlike tennis house that sleeps six, was designed to look as though it had been built long ago and recently renovated. Painted driftwood gray, it’s made of reclaimed wood and is set in a garden that drinks in the heady perfume of night-blooming jasmine. The lounge is made for lingering; it’s the husband’s hangout, a perfect après-match retreat.
In a grand slam gesture, the main house spreads its arms to embrace the large-scale events Joannides’ clients are known for hosting. The open floor plan, along with strategically placed pocket doors and expansive banks of steel windows, blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces. “We wanted to make the walls go away,” Joannides explains.
They don’t so much recede as dissolve blissfully into the distant scenery. The crystal chandelier over the circular dining table shimmers in the sunlight and sparkles with the stars. Wooden floors and ceilings ground the grandeur; intimate groupings of furniture set the stage for cozy conversation; and a neutral color palette and walls plastered in what Joannides describes as a “chalky matte finish” add an air of subtle sophistication.
“The client prefers a more monochromatic approach, so I introduced complementary color with art, throw pillows and flowers. I also added contrast by employing furniture of different woods,” states Joannides. Indeed, the success of the residence’s interior design is in the details. “They are what matters.”
And the husband, a passionate player, confesses that he loves the house as much as he does the tennis court.
Photography by Roger Davies.
For more like this modern Colonial, be sure to check out this expertly curated home situated on a golf course in Illinois.
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