Once And Again


In a Venice Beach home, Tom Stringer Design Partners integrates a couple’s past while setting the stage for their future

Photos by Jorge Gera

After a separation, the husband and wife were once again merging their lives. For interior designer Tom Stringer, it presented a unique situation. In contrast to his usual directive — wherein he’s tasked with “creating a sense of layered history even in projects that remain the residential equivalent of a new penny” — here he was “afforded the rare opportunity to shape a fresh perspective out of things resurrected from a complicated past and in so doing, to make a path to the future.” 

The three bedroom, four bath Venice Beach house was a figurative coming together of a couple who’d separated but were now reuniting. In creating this new space, Stringer would be merging objects that they’d collected in previous lives – both separately and together — to create a strong foundation for marching into the future.  “In fact,” Stringer recalls, “their core collection had been developed, by them and by myself, for several residences of theirs that I’d designed previously. In a sense the objects were reunited in much the same way as the owners (augmented, of course, by subsequent acquisitions).”

New finishes brought the house up-to-date. To soften the oak woodwork’s orange and yellow tones, Stringer chose to have it cerused. Polished concrete floors were restored and stained a few shades darker. The combination provides a rich backdrop for the couple’s art and the furniture. 

Says Stringer, “I took a keen pleasure in knitting these components together again – in remembering the lives they’d lived previously, and renewing their artful acquaintanceship in unexpected ways, even as I kept the overall design scheme simple and casual: appropriate for the beach setting, and a good foil for the rigors of the architecture.” Dark and light, soft and hard, casual and elegant, simple and complex, the result is a union of contrasts and complements.

Their reaction? “Tears of joy. What else?,” says Stringer.