Open Door PolicyAuthor:Abigail Stone
Erin Martin and Scott Shrader curate an unforgettable property for building everlasting connections
“THEY CAME FROM HARDWORKING, CLOSE-KNIT FAMILIES,”says interior designer Erin Martin of the clients who are originally from Argentina. Now, having achieved the American dream, they were capping it off with a move to Beverly Hills. “They wanted to create a space where they could feel happy, where they could entertain family and friends and that would remind them of their history.”
They found a place they liked, then called on Martin to transform it from a house into a home. The structure, which was built in the 1980s, was dark and dim. “Bringing in light and connecting the house to the garden was very important,” Martin remembers.
While Martin and architect Trevor Abramson worked to brighten and energize the interiors, landscape designer Scott Shrader brought vibrancy outside. “My work always starts inside as my job is to make the connection from interiors to exteriors seamless,” Shrader says. “Erin had an amazing, strong concept for the interiors; it made my job so much easier.”
Martin’s plan would translate the clients’ ideas from abstract concepts into concrete reality. “We kind of look at ourselves as artists,” she says. “We’re painting portraits of our clients through spaces, colors and tones and how you move through a house.”
Here, that meant indoor and outdoor rooms that would serve to welcome friends and family over shared meals and drinks. The invitation starts at the front door, where Shrader’s bowed trellises coax visitors through a tunnel of greenery, past the sparkling music of a marble fountain and into the home through an enlarged doorway, as wide as a welcoming hug. An encaustic tile, inflated multiple times its original size, reinforces the home’s air of expansiveness while also shrinking the oversize hallway to human proportions. “I love scale,” says Martin, “I believe that you can work within any style but as long as you get the scale right, you can make anything look good.”
With large archways that frame windows that face the central courtyard, the open dining room is inviting. Globe pendants, from the Urban Electric Co., that march down the center of the space, and a vellum piece by Napa-based artist Robbie Lee Fredericks, backlit by neon, ensure the room bewitches late into the night.
In the living room, Martin’s design is once again in service of creating a room that supports togetherness, with two back to back sofas that form intimate seating areas. That premise is underscored by a dark wood ceiling that feels expansive rather than oppressive. “Like the night sky, it actually has a calming effect,” says Martin.
Throughout the house, a preponderance of light—coaxed inside by new openings inset with steel-framed windows—is balanced by a mixture of contemporary and antique pieces carved in dark wood that evoke the family’s South American roots. These include the custom four-poster bed in the master bedroom, the Sami Hayek table in the wine room, the chairs that sit at the head and foot of the dining table and the hand-tooled leather coffee table designed by Casey Gunschel for Erin Martin to mimic the rings on a tree trunk. Each outward ring represents a special moment in the family history and their growth together. “It’s old world, but cleaned up,” says Martin of the heavy furniture. “And you have those Spanish, early California and South American influences, but done in a modern way.”
Wooden statues underscore the celebration of life that is at the heart of this home.“They’re very much about what it means to truly be hospitable,” says Martin. “They may have left everything behind when they moved here, but what they brought with them is that very South American and European sense of embracing family and friends and opening the house to welcome everyone.” She adds, “This house lets them do that.” If home is where the heart is, this house is all love.