Designer James Magni claims that in his 25 years as a designer, he has never seen an art collection as stunning as the one that belongs to his clients who own this Beverly Hills house. The owners, a retired industrialist and his wife, who is a trustee of Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art, wanted Magni to maintain a simple palette that would not compete with their art collection, which includes large-scale works by Ed Ruscha, David Hockney, Joel Shapiro, Cindy Sherman, and Barbara Kruger.
“However, in a house of this size—13,000 square feet—too much contemporary art can make the space feel so singular,” says Magni, who suggested combining historic and contemporary furnishings to avoid a sense of homogeneity. “When they first heard the word ‘antiques,’ I think they flinched a little, but the pluralism of the historic pieces made it more cosmopolitan.” Among Magni’s suggestions were pieces from the Han Dynasty, Etienne Meunier (Louis XV’s personal furniture designer), and the American Art Deco period.
The entrance, a 3,500-square-foot space with white walls, a limestone floor, and skylights, functions like a gallery. At the wife’s request, Magni installed a pair of glass and stainless steel doors that open to a limestone bridge hovering over a koi pond. “She selected each door so that it would match the house,” recounts Magni. “It’s an organic and dramatic experience to walk through the space with water flowing over the sidewalls.” At the far end of the bridge is a second set of doors, behind which is a long hallway that leads to another fountain.
Modern, but not minimal, the viewable spaces off the entrance radiate with luxe furnishings, such as a pink sharkskin cabinet, an 18-foot-long mahogany bronze table, and a 40-foot-long handmade beige silk rug that took more than a year to make.
Magni Design, 323.866.0600, www.magnidesign.com