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!
Very recently I spent 11 days in LA, doing a little work, having a bit of fun and meeting some pretty amazing people including my design idol Windsor Smith whom I’m pictured with above. Right before I headed to the airport to jet back to New York I was able to spend some time with Windsor for a long chat about her design work and career as well as her newest venture, Room in a Box. I was also lucky enough to get a grand tour of her AMAZING home that we all saw and loved in House Beautiful. I almost had to pinch myself! I’ve spent a ton of time in LA since I was a young girl and this was truly one of the best trips I’ve had. During my days off from working I totally immersed myself in LA’s design scene and packed my schedule with a slew of meetings and visits to some of LA’s best design shops…all of which I can’t wait to share with you! Here are a few highlights from my trip…
My room at the Chamberlain West Hollywood
I stayed at my favorite hotel which is the Chamberlain West Hollywood and since I hadn’t stayed there in about a year, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the rooms and bathrooms had been re-decorated.
The desk area in my room at the Chamberlain West Hollywood
The rooms still have that mid century modern vibe going on but they’re a bit more tailored with more pops of color than before.
Beautiful bathroom floors at the Chamberlain West Hollywood
I was totally inspired by the pattern of the tiles as well as the veining of the marble on the bathroom floors.
The wallpaper in interior designer Kristen Panitch’s Santa Monica office
I also had an opportunity to visit the home and office of Kristen Panitch, who is another one of my favorite designers. Above is a sneak peek at the wallpaper in her office. Can you say STUNNING?! Kristen was such a delight and I really enjoyed getting to know her. I also got a little peek inside her home which you’ll soon see in one of your favorite shelter magazines! I’ll be sharing a few more peeks of her gorgeous office as well as a recap of our conversation in an upcoming post so stay tuned!
Amber Lewis of Amber Interiors
During my trip I also had the pleasure of meeting a couple of my favorite bloggers whom I’ve long admired. Above is interior designer Amber Lewis who you may know from her witty and popular blog Amber Interiors. This woman is beautiful, funny and totally talented. She can DIY like nobody’s business and not only does she have an amazing home, she also happens to have the most adorable family ever. Another blogger that I was totally psyched to meet was Michal Spitzer from the blog Style Curator. She and I have been Twitter buddies for like ever so I was beyond excited to meet her in person!
And what’s a great trip without great food so of course I indulged in a few amazing meals at some of my favorite places to eat in LA! Above is a to-die-for short rib sandwich from Joan’s on Third which I’ve blogged about before. I ate two of these buttery slices of heaven while in town.
Il Sole. Photo via Eater LA
I also had an amazing dinner at the newly remodeled il Sole in West Hollywood. (Get the fettuccine with prawns in a light spicy tomato sauce if you go!)
Eveleigh. Photo via Eveleigh
Another place I checked out for dinner is a relatively new restaurant that’s been getting a ton of buzz called Eveleigh which has a great atmosphere, amazing drinks and pretty good food. I think I must have hit up all of LA’s trendiest and most buzzworthy places because in addition to the above I ate lots of fish tacos, about a half dozen cookies from Milk, exactly three cupcakes from Sprinkles, one Umami Burger (which I found slightly disappointing) and more sugary sweet lemonades from Lemonade than I can count. And after about six days of straight gluttony I bought into another trendy ‘to do’ and went on a juice cleanse! (As If I couldn’t buy anymore into the hype lol!)
Juices from the Pressed Juicery
I paid a visit to the Pressed Juicery in Brentwood and got 2 days worth of cleansing and detoxifying juices which I consumed at the tail end of my trip and I have to say the juices exceeded my expectations. They were a little on the expensive side but really yummy and refreshing. I didn’t feel like I was missing out on food and I felt so much better after just 2 days of a mostly liquid diet. (I cheated a little and had salads for dinner!) I would highly recommend checking out the Pressed Juicery or a similar cleanse available in your area.
LA’s Nuart Landmark Theatre
Finally, I made it my mission to go see the documentary Bill Cunningham New York while in LA (ironic) since I wasn’t able to see it during the film’s limited run in New York. The film gave a poignant look at the life and career of the iconic New York Times photographer and I was so inspired by Bill’s intense passion for staying true to himself and doing what he loves. Go see it if you can! Also – be sure to check back over the next few weeks as I’ll be posting more in depth stories about my design adventures in LA including profiles on some of the incredible people I met and places I saw! Stay tuned!
All watermarked photos above were taken by Nicole Gibbons for So Haute
I first learned of Windsor Smith after seeing a feature on her LA home in the August ’07 issue of Domino and I immediately became a fan. The opener of the Domino story included a shot of Smith wearing a colorful shirt, white jeans and classic, cognac colored riding boots and I remember thinking to myself, “she looks like a cool chick.” Her choice of outfit seemed to be a mirror reflection of her design style which epitomizes California cool. In a nutshell, Smith takes traditional furnishings and design elements and injects fresh color and interesting patterns to create interiors that look classic, feel modern and are completely livable. Her interiors also possess a sense of glamour while simultaneously evoking her understated, laid back sensibility.
Smith’s foray into the world of interior design isn’t exactly what you’d expect. Her career began with stints in theater and dance instruction as well as entrepreneurship when she launched a line of baby clothes. Those stints took her to Texas, Tokyo, New York and LA and through all of those transitions she maintained a love for the decorative arts. After living in LA for a while and starting a family, Smith eventually realized her true passion and became an antiques dealer before finally settling on a career as an interior designer. Now, with a number of high-profile projects under her belt, Smith helms a design empire that includes a line of fabrics and carpets for Kravet as well as signature line of furnishings and accessories called the Windsor Smith Home Collection. I’m anxious to see what she has up her sleeve next. Until then, I’ll share a few images of my favorite Windsor Smith designed rooms. Enjoy!
For an added bonus, click here to see a video tour of Smith’s LA home on Dominomag.com.