Screen GemAuthor:Abigail Stone
Rafael Kalichstein and Joshua Rose of FORM Design Studio ground a New York transplant’s pop vision of L.A. in beauty and luxury
People who move to L.A. from New York often arrive with a perception of the city shaped by movies and television. They include the owners of this home in the historic Trousdale Estates, who turned to Rafael Kalichstein and Joshua Rose of FORM Design Studio to give substance to that ethereal dream. “They really wanted color and vibrancy,” remembers Kalichstein.
The low-slung mid-century home, originally built in 1969, had recently undergone a facelift. New accordion doors now completely opened up one side of the L-shaped floor plan to the pool and a sweeping vision of the city. FORM Design Studio’s challenge was to create interiors that would be comfortable and inviting yet stunning enough to hold their own against that breathtaking panorama. The duo, who hail from the worlds of visual effects and complementary medicine, were well-suited to the task. “At the core of everything we do, we always come back to ‘How does the experience of a space make you feel?’” explains Kalichstein. Adds Rose, “Here it was about what it means to live and work in Hollywood.”
That begins at the front entry, where FORM Design Studio swapped out a wooden door for an oversize pivot model made of glass. “When you approach the house, you look straight through this gorgeous Vitrocsa door to the view,” says Rose. “It immediately grounds you in this incredible sense of place.” A sleek bench, walls swathed in grasscloth and a Kyle Bunting rug support a painting by Mary Corse. “Throughout the house, furniture and accessories give context to the art rather than just acting in service of it,” says Rose. In the living room, those artworks include a Chanel surfboard, one of Lita Albuquerque’s pigment works and a compelling gouache by Kara Walker. They’re balanced by pieces in jewel tones and opulent materials including a swivel chair in a flirtatious splatter dye, a pair of voluptuous vintage brass lamps and a cluster of tables in penn shell, straw marquetry and shagreen. Confirming the interior’s rapport with the outdoors, the pair designed a double-sided sofa. “It sets up the space for entertaining,” notes Kalichstein. In the family room, a maple bar dyed electric blue and fanciful copper-plated stools from Avenue Road anchor a neon sculpture by Sylvie Fleury and a bronze rabbit by Tom Corbin. “Beneath jolts of this very pop sensibility there’s an underlying aura of sophistication,” says Rose.
In the rooms without art, texture shoulders color’s job, giving star billing to the view. Witness the dining room, with its Sycamore wall treatment, refinished Bonaldo dining table and custom chairs, part of FORM Design Studio’s upcoming collection for Global Views. The tactile primary bedroom is grounded in that same wallcovering and paired with ultrasuede wall panels. “These rooms offer a reprieve from the brightness of the exterior and the rest of the home while still employing that same pop sensibility,” says Rose. This finds its most potent expression in the primary suite’s sitting room, whose palette, turned down to monochrome, conjures up the enduring allure and glamor of the silver screen. “It’s a New Yorker’s perspective on a fabulous house in Los Angeles,” says Rose. Hooray for Hollywood!