I recently read on Editor at Large that actress Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband Chris Martin recently purchased ”The House of Windsor” which, was one of the most magnificent show houses I’ve ever seen! The House of Windsor was built from the ground-up by interior designer and self proclaimed “Lifestyle Architect” Windsor Smith, a designer whose career and work I admire tremendously. Windsor partnered up with Veranda and and enlisted the help of some of her favorite design peers in the industry to help decorate the the 8,000 square foot equestrian inspired estate. Located in Brentwood, the home boasts 6 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms and sits an acre of land that includes a dressage stable and a horse path. Windsor designed concept house as a city home with a country feel that redefines luxury living for today’s modern family. I had an opportunity to visit the home last July when it was on view and I took a ton of photos of its stunning indoor and outdoor spaces. I wasn’t allowed to publish my images until a few months later in October but after all that time had passed, I never actually got around to posting them! So I’m sharing them here today… Better late than never! Below is an inside look inside the brilliantly designed House of Windsor, captured through the lens of my Canon. Enjoy!
Here is a look at the home’s dazzling main hallway, which runs from the front entrance all the way to the back of the house. The photo directly above shows the view from the front door looking toward the back door. The architecture creates a stunning vista with an end view of the beautifully landscaped back yard. Another favorite design element here is the gray and white stone flooring. So classic! Windsor’s point of view on design is that spaces should be multi-functional. Her vision for this hallway is that it could easily be transformed into a dining hall for grand dinner party or family holiday celebration.
This next set of photos is of the kitchen, also designed by Windsor Smith. The focal point is a large center island that can be used for food prep, serving or dining. I really love the elegant gray color of the cabinetry (Benjamin Moore’s Galveston Gray) and the glamorous touches like the dramatic black pendant lights, the collection of hotel silver on display, the luxe Calcatta marble surfaces and the eclectic mix of dining chairs which help add character. Windsor believes that “the kitchen is the new living room” and loves the idea of family dinners taking place farmhouse style around a large table in the kitchen vs. in a formal dining room that’s only used a handful of times a year. It’s no secret that Gwyneth is quite the avid chef so I’m sure she’ll enjoy cooking up tasty new recipes in this grand kitchen!
Here is the library, designed by Richard Hallberg, which also doubles as a dining room. The multi-purpose space features a fireplace and is full of antique and objets d’ art. A highlight is an original drawing by Picasso, shown here.
Next up is the elegant, wood paneled great room, designed by Richard Shapiro. I love the open feel of the space and the way that the sunlight pours through the large windows and just bounces off the walls (painted in Benjamin Moore’s White Dove). The rich chocolate brown upholstery anchored in this bright, airy space adds a striking and dramatic contrast. There is plenty of seating in this sprawling great room, which features a mix of important antiques, many from Richard’s eponymous shop. It’s the prefect space for a swanky cocktail party with friends!
The family room in the House of Windsor is another space and designed by Windsor herself and it hold true to her philosophy on creating multipurpose rooms. It features beautiful oak floors and large windowed doors that open up to the yard. There is a flat-screen TV, floor-to-ceiling bookcases, plenty of seating, a bar and a large work table that’s provides the perfect place for the kids to do homework or create art projects. Windsor’s vision was that the entire family can enjoy the room and still feel connected while doing very different activities.
Next up is the guest study designed by another one of my design crushes, Peter Dunham. He filled the space with an eclectic mix of vintage furnishings, many of which came from his shop, Hollywood at Home. The walls, bulletin board, window treatments and desk chair cushion are all upholstered in a leopard print linen fabric from Peter’s own textile line. In any other setting, so much of the same bold pattern might feel over-the-top but Peter manages to make it work here, balancing it with mostly neutrals, a few pops of color and lots of textural layering to intrigue the eye.
Adjacent to the guest study is the guest bedroom also designed by Peter Dunham. It features vibrant pink walls in Benjamin Moore’s Blushing Brilliance and a beautiful mix of ethic textiles with worldly patterns inspired by far flung places like India and Africa. This room definitely brought a touch of the exotic, global sensibly that Dunham is known for into the House of Windsor.
This space is a bedroom designed for a young boy, using Windsor Smith Room in a Box – a fast, affordable e-decorating service from Windsor Smith. It features a mix of to-the-trade goods with items sourced retail like the canopy bed from Room & Board.
Interior designer Candace Barnes designed the House of Windsor’s master bedroom when dreaming up the color palette for this serene space, she took inspiration from the sycamore and oak trees just beyond the room’s French doors.
Just off the master bedroom is a luxurious dressing room that Candace designed to compliment the master suite. It features a bathtub, a TV and a chic chaise for lounging as well as paneled cabinetry to hold clothing and accessories. When Windsor Smith was architecting the home, rather than build walk-in closets that take up unnecessary square footage and encourage people to accumulate more stuff, she designed beautiful, built-in cabinetry, like what you see here, all throughout the home.
This small but stylish bedroom was designed as a nursery by Theresa Ghevondian who works as a designer for Windsor Smith Home. The choices here are so unexpected and chic for a nursery! I especially love the leather covered 19th century day bed, the sweet rattan bassinet and the marble “puzzle cabinet” complete with a luxe gold tone changing table.
Outside the main home is a media room, situated above the detached garage. Martyn Lawrence Bullard designed the sexy, Studio 54-inspired space which features an assemblage of furniture from the 60s and 70s and walls upholstered in a delightfully dizzying fabric from his line.
Here is a view of the back of the home which features landscape design by Paul Robbins. The patio, which you can see in the distance, was decorated by Stephen Block.
A highlight of the outdoor area is a rustic dressage stable, designed by Kathryn Ireland. The space was designed as an an escape for the lady of the house. It’s filled with equestrian touches, colorful textiles from Kathryn’s own line and cozy furniture that’s perfect for relaxing with a good book or a glass of wine. Kathryn definitely infused a bit of her English sensibility into this space which feels more like it belongs on the English countryside rather than Los Angeles!
Finally, here is a photo I snapped of the brilliant Windsor Smith who stands proud in the home’s family room. She certainly raised the bar in terms of design with The magnificent House of Windsor and I’m sure Gwyneth, Chris and their children will be very happy living there!
One blog that I can never get enough of is Natalie Joos’ Tales of Endearment, which celebrates vintage fashion and, from time to time, gives us a glimpse into the homes and personal style of some very cool, creative women. I loved her recent feature on Annabel Tollman, the British born, New York based celebrity stylist and fashion expert who recently inked a deal for her own reality show on Bravo. Touches of English and French influence radiate throughout Annabel’s apartment which also features classic elements like sisal carpet and a zebra rug. I just love the black and white floral and vine wallpaper which is a modern take on a traditional English floral…and the fresh flowers and topiaries everywhere really complete the space and give it life. Annabel’s home is the epitome of subtle glamour.
Looks like style star Taylor Tomasi-Hill has moved into a fabulous new apartment! (See our previous feature on her old home here.) The former fashion editor-turned artistic director for Moda Operandi recently gave Vogue.com a peek inside her new apartment which is a bright, loft-like space with an industrial-chic vibe and eccentric touches that mirror her quirky fashion choices. I’m especially loving the Rorschach inkblot-inspired wallpaper from Eskayel shown in the photo above. See more of Taylor’s style at home below and you can see the full photo slideshow here on Vogue.com!
On a perfect Sunday afternoon this past summer I ventured into Brooklyn to visit the stylish studio apartment of Ben Miller who you may remember from our last installment of Meet The Assistant. Ben’s studio is a pint-sized 240 square feet which would be a challenge to decorate even for New Yorkers who are used to living in cramped quarters. But – when you’ve worked with one of America’s top interior designers you certainly have the upper hand when it comes to space planning and knowing how to select just the right pieces to help maximize every square inch. Ben furnished his home mostly with vintage finds from shops in his neighborhood and put his DIY skills to the test in order to create clever storage solutions. He mounted floor-to-ceiling bookshelves along a wall to house artfully arranged books and accessories and installed a pegboard in his teeny kitchen as a place to hang pots and pans. The apartment itself is full of charm with incredibly high ceilings, large, intricate moldings and two large windows that bring lots of light into the space. It’s also full of personal touches like family photos, self-made artwork and heirlooms that were handed down to him from loved ones. Read on to hear Ben school us with a lesson on how he decorated his small space with such big style plus take a peek inside. It’s house tour time!
The Sleeping Area
“I always find great deals on good quality solid linens on Overstock.com and accent them with interesting pillowcases. These pillowcases and the lumbar pillow are from West Elm. I got the red and white striped guy years ago at Pottery Barn and never used it until this apartment. I love the weight of this Smith & Johnson Dry Goods bed sweater (a bargain find from Bed Bath & Beyond) and use it year round. Switching out your duvet cover is an easy way to change the look of your bed. This is a super simple one I grabbed at Ikea.”
The Space-Saving Solutions
“These wall shelves hand-crafted by some talented friends of mine and once hung on the wall of their super artsy loft in Bushwick. When they moved to Minneapolis for work, the shelves were willed down to me.”
“Even though they’re not really pieces, my plants bring such life and joy into the space. They’re happy with the tons of light they get and truly help make the place feel like a home.”
“My chest of drawers is an old piece I found at a local second hand furniture store. I was drawn to the intricate veneer inlay on the face and I had to have it. It’s not so much perfect for this space, but more something that I just knew I’d think about down the road if I didn’t make a home for it. The label shows it’s a John Widdicomb piece but I’m a little in the dark as to when it was made.”
“This came from Junk in Williamsburg and was in need of a little TLC, a little mineral oil and the wood came right back to life. The caned front was in great shape and really makes the piece in my eyes. It’s the perfect bar cabinet and has a couple of shelves to tuck away serving pieces I don’t use often.”
“Being that I love to cook, this was particularly tricky. There isn’t a single drawer in the apartment and only two usable cabinets so storage was an issue from the start. I figured the best approach would be some sort of exposed vertical storage. Shelves weren’t really an option because of the door swing, so I painted some inexpensive pegboard the same color as the rest of the studio and hit up Home Depot. They have a million little accessories for the garage that I used to configure just the right combo for my pots and pans. With counter space being almost nonexistent, I got a cutting board to partially cover the sink and added a nice chunk of work surface. What was nothing more than a 4′x4′ pocket of space is now a highly functional kitchen. It’s a little bit Julia Child, a little bit Tim The Tool Man Taylor. And the best part–it cleans up in a jiffy!”
“I really love my desk. It’s an old Steelcase piece with great character that I found on Craigslist for next to nothing. You don’t see the single drawer version all that often and the writing surface is just excellent. I love that it’s a bit beat up and has its own story. Being that I live in a pretty small space, it gets used all of the time–I use it for working but it’s my dining table too. I’ve hosted four friends comfortably.”
The DIY Artwork
“Before working with Laura I helped open up the Ace Hotel. One morning I noticed someone had forgotten their photo strip in the lobby photo booth overnight. As it turns out, it was an automatic test strip–four blank frames taken at random each night to be sure it was in working order. I started collecting these blank strips and before long, people began leaving them for me at the front desk. It ended up that I have one for just about every day I worked there. Here’s the kicker–after I’d begun working with Laura I was invited back to toast to a friend who was leaving the hotel. It was late and most of the crowd had gone home when I noticed the photo booth fire up on its own. I bolted over just in time to catch the last frame and then, promptly freaked out. I framed a sampling of them and included the one of me with a huge smile in that final square.”
The Personal Touches
“I’m terribly sentimental so most of the little objects and artwork are direct reminders of friends and family or fun trips. It’s nice to look around your place and feel like your loved ones are right there with you. Here is a piece from a set of gold lipped glass trays I found at thrift shop that I filled with spare keys to friends’ places, a small cup my mother made and an old industrial pail from Moon River Chattel in Williamsburg.”
“I have a bunch of pieces of pottery my Mom made around the apartment, this is a key bowl she made just for me, an antique copper flashlight picked up at the Brooklyn Flea and a found key inside a small glass ink well.”
” This chair was another great find from the local thrift store, the frame was $20! For the time being I wove a makeshift seat using twine and added the loose cushion. I love the lines and haven’t yet decided on a fabric for the seat.”
There was major decor porn inflitrating twitter this past weekend thanks to blogger/photographer Jamie Beck of From Me to You and fashion blogger Kelly Framel of The Glamourai who spent the weekend at Kelly Wearstler’s Malibu beach house shooting a new campaign for Wearstler’s ready to wear collection for the 2012 Resort season. The pair posted several photos of their amazing weekend on Instagram including some beautiful shots of Wearstler’s home. Check it out: