Sweet Home California


In creating this home in the Santa Monica Mountains, Schuyler Samperton cements a long-term friendship

The kitchen’s variegated tiles, from Pasadena Craftsman Tiles, are echoed in the living room’s fireplace surround. “The variety of the glaze creates this wonderful, subtle pattern,” says Samperton. The Strap Counter Stools are from Thomas Hayes Studio. Photo by Lisa Romerein.

Schuyler Samperton and her client had been friends for decades. So when he purchased a home in the Santa Monica Canyons, he naturally turned to her for help with the interiors. “He loved what we’d done with his rental so when he bought three doors up—he’d fallen in love with the neighborhood—we’d already established a shorthand for working together.”

While the new home was sited to enjoy the ocean views, the inside was a warren of small, dark, disjointed rooms. Samperton pulled in Choate Associates Architects to help reimagine it. “They transformed the home so that it was more of an open plan,” Samperton explains. “They reoriented the front door, they changed the location of the fireplace and they raised the ceiling.” Plus, she notes, “They created a beautiful courtyard in the front that gave the home more presence.” Now the home takes full advantage of its location. “One of the things I love about California, Southern California in particular, is the seamless transition between inside and out,” Samperton shares. “The house is pretty simple but he’s got this great big deck off the living room that sort of extends the interior, and the Pacific and the sky and the mountains are right there. It’s just spectacular.”

In the dining room, a table from Amber Interiors and chairs with wrapped leather backs, discovered at Harbinger, sit on a kilim found at Hamilton Rugs. Photo by Lisa Romerein.

Inside, Samperton successfully integrated the many facets of the client’s personality. “I feel that it’s really important for a home to reflect the people who live there,” Samperton shares. “He’s a writer and he works in finance and so I wanted this to be an oasis for him that was both inspirational and relaxing.” That meant a bright, layered space, plush with organic materials, patterned fabrics, textured rugs, beautiful art and plants.

In the family room, amongst a slew of repurposed pieces—including the rug, the side chair and the pouf—a custom white sectional, covered in a high-performance fabric, welcomes the client’s three sons. Samperton discovered the woven wall hanging, by Neil Goss, a textile artist based in Asheville, North Carolina, on Instagram. Photo by Lisa Romerein.

While soothing blues and creams predominate, the client, who attended Louisiana State University, has an affinity for purple, one of the school’s signature colors. Samperton accommodated his passion for the vibrant hue, gracefully weaving it into the home and tempering its exuberance with navy. “That offsets and grounds it so that it feels earthy,” she says. She papered a powder room in C.F.A. Voysey’s intricate Poppies, in aubergine and ink. In the dining room, a rich plum glides through both the rug and the paisley fabric that covers the chairs. Christened Cordoba, the fabric is from her eponymous five-year-old textile and wallpaper line. “I only use my fabrics when it’s appropriate,” she says. “Here it works because it has that bohemian yet refined quality he wanted.” Simple light fixtures, like the fixture from the Urban Electric Co. that hangs in the dining room, and straightforward shapes keep things in check. Plants, from the olive tree in the dining area to the ivy that bursts from the walls and the shelves of the bathroom, add another layer of warmth.

To add a bit of drama to a guest bedroom, Samperton hung a rug that had been used in the office of the client’s rental home behind the simple headboard. “I woke up one morning and thought, ‘That’s it!’” says Samperton. Photo by Lisa Romerein.

The home’s collected feel is authentic; Samperton reused many things the client already owned. “I hate wasting stuff,” she says. “Plus it makes sense because they’re pieces he already loved.” In a guest room, a plain upholstered bed frame is given new life with a colorful rug nicked from the old home’s office. “It needed another layer to give it some drama,” she says of the piece she hung behind the headboard. In the family room, a new sectional is welcomed by a rug, a chair, side table and an ottoman the client already owned. In the living room, new pieces including a coffee table from Mecox Gardens and a rug found at Jamal’s Rug Collection, energize old favorites. “The whole directive here was a cozy, comfortable space where he could kick off his shoes, plop down on the sofa, play the guitar and enjoy his surroundings.”

The Calcutta Gold countertop sparkles in the sunlight streaming in through the primary bathroom’s skylight. The brass fittings are from Waterworks. Photo by Lisa Romerein.
Tucked into a niche in the primary bathroom, which is festooned with vines, a freestanding Waterworks tub with claw feet, its exterior painted a dark gray, is a romantic retreat. Photo by Lisa Romerein.