Watch how a lush, leafy home became imbued with old world charm | Architectural Digest

When it came to her family’s lush and leafy oasis in Venice, Los Angeles-based designer Kate Driver began ditching her aesthetic roots. In September 2016, she and her husband spontaneously abandoned their life rental—and Driver’s long-held dream of owning an “old home with character,” not unlike the Georgian-style homes in her hometown of Atlanta—to dive first into owning a new home with no Having a real architectural spirit to speak of.

“But as we passed, we felt like we hadn’t been anywhere before, like a tropical wonderland,” says Driver, founder of interior design studio West Haddon Hall, of the house’s soaring windows and spread of palm trees. “So that night we felt really inspired. We stayed until 3 am we googled “how to buy a house” and made an offer the next day.”

In the eyes of the least visible person, you might feel the house’s height of 25 feet and 4,500 square feet of concrete floors. But for Driver, who found out at the time that she was pregnant with her first child, the house was just a blank slate. “I became obsessed with making the house feel like it was here forever,” she says.

Presenting antique and vintage pieces was the easiest way – but it’s not the only way. “I’ve been collecting pieces from different eras and different parts of the world for a long time,” says Driver, who has long admired Roman fashion designer Giambattista Valli’s pantry, displayed in his Paris apartment in seemingly improvised style.

“I aspire to this kind of layering — rich, textured, and very personal,” Driver says. For wit, the living room of the Driver’s home is a mundane epitaph of old and new collectibles, manifested as a spontaneous and synergistic palette. A somewhat primitive Fritz Hansen sofa, covered in a lush floral Liberty velvet, provides a level of sophistication matched by the humorous geometry of Ettore Sottsas’ famous Tahiti lamp, a playful postmodern interpretation of flamingo. Elsewhere, the allure of West Haddon Hall’s walnut double coffee tables—symbolizing the driver’s desire to design pieces that are “distinctive, functional atmospheric focal points”—defies the charming novelty edge of a vintage floor lamp or American printmaker Denise. Cobalt perforated Kupferschmidt plate. This painting, in turn, sourced from Driver’s friend, art advisor Ella Gaunt, is a reference to the loose shapes of Henri Matisse.

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The home is in flux, expanding and contracting with pieces and people: for example, a decorator’s sturdiest objects often leave for clients’ residences when new finds like the tiled Roger Capron coffee table in a guest apartment, or the concrete entryway Willy Guhl planter, arrive from the markets Cosmopolitan like Marché Paul Bert, the driver’s favorite flea in Paris. And when a slew of friends come for brunch and taco lunches, as they recently did to welcome Driver’s oldest child now on her fifth birthday, sometimes they don’t leave until after dinner. According to Driver, these all-day occasional events owe their duration and ease of use to the home’s natural warmth and resilience.

“I like to design spaces that feel intimate for a larger group but are also vibrant and full for a smaller group,” says Driver. The upstairs landing has been transformed into an intimate living room, where designer Louis Montell tapestry from the 1970s—”old rainbow” as Driver calls it—in contrast to an embroidery rug of a more serious color palette. The outdoor dining room, which easily hosts the resident family of 5 in West Haddon Hall’s picnic benches, seats 25 visiting taco aficionados, is suitably heated and tree-lined, in anticipation of the rare occasion when there’s always a Southern California hum— The perennial garden palms – Nice — are not up to the standards of outdoor dining.

As it turns out, designing a home that seems to exist forever is directly proportional to the level of laziness shown by guests who can’t think of a more comfortable place to spend their entire day. “I like to feel at home, too,” Driver says.

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