Suite Escape

  • Photo by Meghan Beierle-O’Brien
    Bungalow One’s living area melds midcentury-influenced pieces with organic elements. A curved sofa, created by the suite’s designer, Michael Berman, keeps company with an elm coffee table and slices of teak tree trunks, which hang on the wall. The terrace overlooks the hotel’s pool area. Photo by Meghan Beierle-O’Brien
  • Photo by Meghan Beierle-O’Brien
    Contrasting, highly textural woods bolster Berman’s organic-meets-modern vibe in this guest bedroom. The Taracea bed, constructed of Douglas fir, plays against the grain found on the wall, which is actually wallpaper made from photographs of wood-impressed concrete taken by the artist Tom Haga. Above the desk (also by Taracea) is a 55-inch smart TV from Samsung. The drapes, made by Cy’s Drapery, are from fabric by Stacy Garcia. Photo by Meghan Beierle-O’Brien
  • Photo by Meghan Beierle-O’Brien
    A long and narrow terrace borders the west side of the bungalow and features a series of seating areas, including a teak table and chairs from Restoration Hardware and a 20-foot-long banquette upholstered in Sunbrella fabrics. Photo by Meghan Beierle-O’Brien
  • Photo by Meghan Beierle-O’Brien
    In one of the bungalow’s two guest bedrooms, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams’s four-poster Banks metal bed complements Berman’s Venice writing table and Troy Lighting’s Pike Place pendant with subtle nautical rope detailing. Photo by Meghan Beierle-O’Brien
  • Photo by Meghan Beierle-O’Brien
    Berman created a free-flowing space in the master bathroom, which includes his American Moderne bath and shower fixtures for Rohl and a Lacava circular bathtub. Walker Zanger tiles, from Berman’s Studio Moderne collection, reach from floor to ceiling. Photo by Meghan Beierle-O’Brien
  • Photo by Meghan Beierle-O’Brien
    In a guest bedroom’s bathroom appointed with Toto bath fixtures, subtle beach details capture the bungalow’s sense of laid-back, coastal chic. Photo by Meghan Beierle-O’Brien
  • Photo by Meghan Beierle-O’BrienPhoto by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com
    In the master bedroom, Berman’s Bijou bed rests on a custom rug fashioned by Melrose Carpet and inspired by the late British designer David Hicks’s use of geometric patterns. Berman also designed the Paloma ceiling pendant and the nightstands. While the Photo by Meghan Beierle-O’BrienPhoto by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com
  • Photo by Meghan Beierle-O’Brien
  • Photo by Meghan Beierle-O’Brien
  • Photo by Meghan Beierle-O’Brien
  • Photo by Meghan Beierle-O’Brien
  • Photo by Meghan Beierle-O’Brien
  • Photo by Meghan Beierle-O’Brien
  • Photo by Meghan Beierle-O’BrienPhoto by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com
<< Back to Home & Style, July 2014
  • Alexandria Abramian

Flanking the bungalow’s central core are two additional bedrooms, whose colors and textures Berman intentionally dialed down. “The adjoining rooms are deliberately underdone,” he says. “I wanted them to be minimal, uncluttered, and have a quiet simplicity that allows the eyes to rest. What connects all of these rooms is a use of organic materials and various nods to classic, midcentury design. To me, it’s all about barefoot elegance.”

This aesthetic permeates the bungalow thanks to Berman’s choice of decor: a thoughtful mix of new and vintage items, original art, and one-off accessories. “A lot of the items used aren’t even necessarily ‘hotel proof.’ They’re the kind of materials I’d use for high-end home design,” he says, noting that the elongated and curved sofa he conceived for the living area is “made for kicking off your shoes and having a martini.” A pair of hand-cast, oversize seagull pendant lights, also designed by Berman, hover in the master bedroom and the living area and signify his desire to “channel beach style without getting into over-the-top surf-decor clichés. I didn’t want that feeling where you walk in and it’s all whitewashed surfaces and seashells everywhere.” (His general restraint means he gets away with the bubble vase full of seashells that rests on a circular table in the living room.)

Key to creating this subtle coastal vibe was the artwork: Berman selected vintage black-and-white photographs (not shown) taken in Santa Monica. One oversize image features the California Incline, the sloped road that connects Ocean Avenue (the Fairmont’s cross street at Wilshire Boulevard) with the Pacific Coast Highway; another is a shot of bodybuilders at the original Muscle Beach, just south of the Santa Monica pier. “These photos capture the essence of this area unlike anything else,” says Berman. “And they’re not in the public domain, so they’ll be new to people who stay here, whether they’re from Santa Monica or another part of the world.”

Guests at Bungalow One are also certain to appreciate the suite’s technological conveniences and creature comforts. The designer melded his informal interior design scheme with high-end equipment, including four 55-inch Samsung smart TVs and several wireless speakers, which are placed throughout the dwelling. A guest using the master suite can program the Rohl thermostatic valve to provide his or her preferred bath or shower water temperature, and, with the click of a switch on the wall, cause the window between the master bedroom and the bathroom to go from transparent to opaque. But perhaps the accommodation’s most crucial elements are its beds. “This is hands down the most important thing in any hotel room,” says Berman, who specified handmade, all-natural mattresses from the British company Vi-Spring for the sleeping quarters. “If you’re not going to have a restful night’s sleep,” he says, “nothing else matters.” 

Michael Berman, 323.933.0220, www.michaelbermanlimited.com

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