Cari ForwardAuthor:Abigail Stone
Cari Berg revamps a new build with subtle, sophisticated updates that transform it from a house into a home
When you’re designing the interiors of a home on one of the most prestigious streets in Los Angeles, your game has got to be on point. Enter Cari Berg Interior Design. Berg’s life moves in the same circles as her clients so she’s intimate with the demands they place upon their homes. “We design with the idea of the whole house in mind and from the walls in,” says Berg, “We pay close attention to how each room flows into the next and focus on what is seen as you walk through the spaces, peeking into what lies beyond.”
Berg, who’d met the clients through her daughter, had worked with them before, updating their previous home in Bel Air. “While we were working on that home, they decided they wanted something completely different and purchased this Brentwood home,” says Berg, “So we finished that home, which they now rent out.” Then they turned their attention to this one.
The clients, who have teenage children and also have a house in New York, traveling between the two coasts. “They entertain quite a bit and wanted this home to be open and bright and easily converted for large dinner parties, cocktail receptions and outdoor entertaining,” Berg explains.
“They came from an architecturally significant house in Bel Air, but it was very dark and the spaces were chopped up,” Berg explains. “The incredible natural light and the openness is what drew them to this space. Our goal was to capitalize on these features.” Of course, as any interior designer and homeowner knows, it’s never as easy as slapping on some paint and calling it a day. There are challenges in even the most seemingly straightforward project.
“The openness and expansive ceiling heights in this home were actually a double-edged sword,” says Berg. “While those qualities attracted my clients to the space, the home was so open that it was almost cavernous.” This was most apparent in the two-story entryway. To bring it down to human scale, Berg settled on a custom light-stained wood paneling that helped to define the first floor height and give it character. “We dealt with similar issues in other spaces throughout the home.” The upside of the vast tracts of wall space in this home inspired the clients to embark on a the accumulation of a serious art collection.
But the home needed some serious updating before the new acquisitions could be hung. Though the clients were under the impression that all the project would require was furniture Berg, with her well-trained eye, knew otherwise. “Almost all the walls were covered in a yellow gold paint and the hardwood floors were very red. Despite the fact that the home was new, it already looked dated.” Berg and her team focused on neutralizing the warm tones. “They initially had no intention of making changes in these areas but then we showed them the incredible effect these new colors would have. They understood that the overall outcome would be much stronger with this new backdrop,” says Berg, adding, “It’s always the projects where we can truly collaborate with our clients that are the most successful and rewarding.”
“They’re so happy living in this new space and often remark about how they now see so clearly how the wall and floor finishes and the color palette completely transformed the space, maybe even more so than the addition of the new furniture.”
Berg elaborates, “One of my favorite quotes is from Diana Vreeland. She said “Give ‘em what they never knew they wanted.” While she was referring to fashion, I think it holds just as true for interiors. While we’re always respectful of our client’s personal tastes and requests, when they allow us the freedom to run with our ideas, the results really shine.”