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Working on his first house, Ryan Saghian emerges from quarantine with a new understanding of home

The designer in his inky kitchen, which features black rift-oak cabinets are paired with Dacor’s new color match matte black and satin brass range—Saghian is on the Dacor Design Council representing the L.A. market—and topped by Carrara marble.
Photos by Anthony Barcelo.

The facade of the house in West Hollywood may exude tradition, but don’t be fooled. Despite its subdued taupe and black exterior, Ryan Saghian, the interior designer and owner of this two- bedroom retreat, is not a floral and chintz kind of guy. Thus, it comes as a surprise to discover that what drew him to the home is its most conventional feature.

Wood veneer wallpaper in black by Maya Romanoff covers one wall of the dining room that served as Saghian’s office during the shelter-in-place order. Photos by Anthony Barcelo.
Detail of a Sumo book and vintage punching bag in the living room.
Photos by Anthony Barcelo.

“It’s a white picket fence house,” enthuses Saghian, who discovered the home through friends who were renting it. When those same friends decided to pass on the house when it came up for sale, Saghian asked for their permission to approach the landlord and made his case with the passion of a smitten swain. “This is my dream house,” he pleaded. The owner saw himself in Saghian’s drive and determination and, despite four offers over asking, the home was soon his. “He told me that he would love to make my dream come true,” Saghian beams.

Detail of the living room library. Photos by Anthony Barcelo.
A powder room replaces the home’s former laundry room. Jean Paul Gaultier’s Croquis wallpaper, a riotous, playful scribble of freehand portraits picked out in black flocking on a white metallic background, covers the walls. Photos by Anthony Barcelo.

The inside needed only minor alterations to its layout. Saghian created a powder room downstairs, covered in Jean Paul Gaultier’s white embossed velvet Croquis wallpaper, to accommodate guests, including his mother and grandmother, and moved the laundry room to the garage. That work completed, he refreshed the finishes to make it “more Ryan”: He sanded and bleached the floors to a natural whitewash oak; coated the fireplace in a rich black plaster, framing it with black shelves that display photographs from his blossoming art collection; and replaced the beige carpet in the bedroom with a plush black version. In the kitchen, rift oak cabinets stained a deep ebony are paired with Dacor’s new color match matte black and satin brass range topped with Carrara marble counters. “I love my black,” Saghian confesses. But here, instead of taking star billing, the color acts as the supporting player for Saghian’s experiments in his evolving style.

An untitled piece from Michael Allen Fine Art and Carla Cascales Alimbau’s Mistral sculpture hang over a sectional by J. Alexander covered in Kravet Syon Weave
in smoke gray. Photos by Anthony Barcelo.

A playful thread—note the vintage punching bag in the living room, the flirtatious Kate Moss photo in the upstairs hallway, the fiber wall art in the bedroom and the grouping of Tom Dixon lights over the kitchen’s island—was one effect that working on his own home had on Saghian. “I had become known for this one look,” he confesses. “I had never spent a lot of time at home. I was like the shoemaker who walks barefoot.” Quarantine offered him a chance to reconnect with his creativity and his drive to create beautiful, livable spaces. “I think I got warmer and earthier,” he observes.

A vector-based portrait of Kate Moss by Skyler Ethan hung in the hallway over the staircase looks into the bedroom, where a vintage fiber wall hanging
is paired with the red Ava chair from Roche Bobois. Photos by Anthony Barcelo.

Out went the ashy grays and bitter golds. In came muted brass and unexpected explosions of rich color—a deep purple velvet headboard, a rich red Roche Bobois chair and a bright Andy Warhol print of Iran’s Empress Farah Diba Pahlavi in the kitchen, a nod to Saghian’s Iranian heritage. Paired with a generous helping of wood pieces, including the large round J. Alexander walnut coffee table that anchors the living room’s expansive sectional, they highlight his new direction. Texture, including the bedroom’s Bijou wallpaper, the Soho House bed linens, and Maya Romanoff’s wood veneer wallcoverings in the living room and entryway, is another element that Saghian now relies on to temper his graphic edges.

The bedroom’s black-and-white palette, anchored by nightstands from ART Furniture, wallpaper from Bijou and Harry Benson’s Berlin Kiss, puts the focus on the sumptuous channel-tufted J. Alexander bed, swathed in eggplant purple velvet.
Photos by Anthony Barcelo.

“Now I love being home. I always light one of my candles, I always have music on,” he says. “I’m comfortable here. I love my house. Yeah, I’m good.”