This Los Feliz Tudor Received a Lush Revamp (2024)

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Reath Design updates a classic 1920s house while staying true to its roots

By Carly Olson

Photography by Laure Joliet

Styled by Mieke ten Have

This Los Feliz Tudor Received a Lush Revamp (4)

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In the living room, custom slipper chairs in a Dedar fabric (with Maharam fabric pillows), 1920s Italian armchairs in a Nobilis bouclé, and a bespoke sofa wearing a Liberty fabrics print surround a custom Cloud coffee table by Louise Liljencrantz. Curtains of Fabric Store’s Lagoon linen; vintage Indian rug from Lawrence of La Brea.

When her young family started to outgrow their old house, a classic midcentury-modern gem in Beachwood Canyon, Brynn Jones Saban was in denial. A few months into the pandemic, raising a baby under age one (son Odin is now four-and-a-half), it became clear to Jones Saban, a vintage-clothing dealer, and her husband, Ness Saban, who is the vice chairman of his family’s investment firm, that they might need to find a new place to call home. The house may have been perfect during their 20s, but it lacked storage space and didn’t have a yard, both growing concerns for the couple, who planned on having more kids. “We were already kind of bursting at the seams,” Jones Saban says.

But when she toured a 1920s English Tudor on the market in LA’s Los Feliz neighborhood, a new beginning didn’t seem so daunting. “There’s a coziness to the whole flow of the house,” Jones Saban said. “It just felt like a home for a family.” The couple enlisted Frances Merrill, founder of the AD100 firm Reath Design, to mastermind a refresh of the interiors. There was no question who Jones Saban was going to collaborate with—she had worked with Merrill nearly a decade earlier on her previous home after a referral from a family friend, when the designer had first struck out on her own after working for Commune Design. “Our taste really clicked,” Jones Saban says of their immediate synergy. “We appreciate the same kinds of colors and patterns and eclectic mix of things.”

Ness Saban (on steps), Brynn Jones Saban (on daybed), their son, Odin, and dog, Willie, at the pool.
The furniture is by Janus Et Cie covered in an array of outdoor fabrics by Utopia Goods, Gastón y Daniela,
Zak + Fox, and Perennials. The umbrellas by Santa Barbara Designs are made with Sunbrella fabrics.

Hector Finch Medium Star Globe

Cutter Brooks Kantha Dog Bed

And Objects Bighton Side Table

Poterie d’Évires Flowers Hand-Painted Ceramic Lidded Tureen

When the house was purchased, its bones were solid, but the interiors were monochrome and sterile. There were white walls aplenty, Merrill recalls, including one that had been installed during an earlier renovation to hide a pair of stained glass windows in the bar area. “We were like, ‘Well, that’s crazy,’” she says with a laugh. So, one of her mandates was to restore the home’s innate charm—while drawing the line between honoring the history without turning it into a period piece.

Though the house is far from being a white box, fans of Merrill may note that the colors here are more subdued than in other projects. She and Jones Saban collaborated to come up with a deeper, richer palette that played well with the darker wood accents in the home. “Brynn has such incredible style,” Merrill says. “They have so many fun ideas for not making it like a museum but having it still feel right.”

The den ceiling was painted by artist Louis Eisner. Vintage Dorokhsh rug from Woven.

The owners’ collection of vintage frames—filled with various pieces of art and old family photos—is a focal point of the family room.

German Sterling Silver Fish Spice Box

Jan Kath Little Flowers Carpet

Cloud Coffee Table By Louise Liljencrantz

Matilda Goad & Co. Ribbed Beeswax Candles (Set of 6)

Jones Saban gravitates toward shades like those you’d see “when you’re walking through the woods.” In the living room, Merrill devised a suite of furniture in cool-hued, jewel-toned upholstery, which she paired with curtains in a silvery gray-blue linen. Multicolored ceramic tiles by Lewellen Studio surround the fireplace, creating a patchwork-like effect. Merrill also removed some wallpapered accent panels and replaced them with more wood paneling to cohere with the rest of the space. The layered aesthetic continues into the attached bar and den, where patterned velvet seating pairs with vintage brass light fixtures and vintage rugs. The suite of rooms is capped off with a trippy fireplace and ceiling mural depicting a woodland scene and a sky full of glowing clouds by artist Louis Eisner, a friend of the couple.

Hints of jewel tones also make an appearance in the kitchen, where a plum-colored range by Lacanche pops against the pale green Heath Ceramics tile that covers the walls from the baseboards to the ceiling. Paired with mahogany cabinets, the selection is bold, but the result is surprisingly subtle. “I know so much of our work is known for color,” Merrill says, “but nothing should feel jarring.”

In the living room. A vintage painting hangs on paneled walls above a custom sofa wearing Liberty Fabrics’ Capello Shell print in Evergreen.

Vaughan Designs Grimani Mirror

Bradbury Cherry Blossom Wallpaper

In Common With Arundel Table Lamp

Designing the perfect closet was of particular interest to Jones Saban, who owns Aralda Vintage, a brick-and-mortar shop frequented by celebrity stylists that specializes in archival designer pieces. The directive—feminine but not too girly—led the team to an abstract floral Bradbury & Bradbury wallpaper for the walk-in, which swathes the entire room, including the built-in drawers. “I fell in love,” gushes Jones Saban. Merrill added a vintage pendant and sconce that nod to Jones Saban’s fondness for the aesthetics of the early 20th century.

The clients are collectors who want to be surrounded by their favorite things. In the family room, Jones Saban gathered dozens of vintage picture frames picked up over the years at flea markets, filled them with various pieces of art and old family photos, and hung them gallery-style, spanning two walls, creating the feeling of a storybook cottage. A friend of the couple, Wylie Gelber, of Gelber & Sons made the resin doorknobs peppered throughout the home. Each encases a fuzzy dandelion, frozen in time like a fossil.

Looking from the kitchen into the breakfast room.

A curvaceous tub with a Waterworks filler stands in the primary bath.

Arjumand's World Mughal Damask Linen

Osanna Visconti Foglie Coffee Spoons (Set of 3)

Robert Kime Russel Linen

Those familiar with her work know that Merrill obsesses over selecting colors—it’s a mix of intuition, client feedback, and considering the lighting of the room, she says—so what is perhaps one of the boldest choices in the home was, to Merrill, the obvious answer. The entry hall is painted a muted lilac, a move that required the clients to take a leap of faith. “It seems crazy to think that a purple entry would be the only option and the thing that felt the best,” Merrill admits, but Benjamin Moore’s Mauve Blush proved to stand on its own while simultaneously complementing the cool-toned richness of the living room and light-green tile in the kitchen. As she notes, “Some of the things that are really fun about design are when you can make unfamiliar juxtapositions work.”

The primary bedroom is swathed in an Indian block print found on Etsy. A 1930s Swedish floor lamp from 1stDibs stands next to a bespoke daybed.

Benjamin Moore’s Spoonful of Sugar colors the walls of a guest room. A Ruemmler pendant hangs above a custom upholstered bed dressed with Quince linens and a Gregory Parkinson blanket.

Jones Saban's Los Feliz tudor appears in AD’s July/August 2024 issue. To see the home in print, subscribe to AD.

All products featured on Architectural Digest are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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