The past two days have been some of the most
fabulous, nee faahbulous, of my life, thanks to VERANDA magazine and lifestyle architect and interior designer extraordinaire Windsor Smith. You may remember my interview with Windsor Smith for Rue Magazine? She made my day week month life this week when she told me that it was her — and her team’s — favorite article ever written about her (and there have been countless!). As I’m sure you can imagine, there is no greater compliment as a writer. And, as an interior design junkie, to have one of my heroes and one the most respected and talented designers in the world generously tell you that, well, I was over the moon.
So, imagine my delight to attend the press preview breakfast for VERANDA UnVEILS: The House of Windsor, where I was given a personal tour by VERANDA Editor-in-Chief Dara Caponigro (yes, the genius behind Domino magazine and best-selling book Domino: The Best of Decorating) of the house that Windsor Smith built from the ground up. And, last night brought the unforgettable red carpet gala — I will share those photos soon. For now, I’d love to share a few photos with you of the Brentwood house, beginning in the glamorous entryway (as seen above).
Windsor believes that grand formal dining rooms are one of the biggest wastes of space in homes today, as they only get used a few times a year (I couldn’t agree more). Therefore, she created a very intimate (re: normal-sized), welcoming dining room with a round table and just four chairs, and then created an expanded entry hallway that can fit a 30-foot-long table for grand dinner parties and holidays. Can’t you just imagine the incredible soirees you could have in that hallway alone?
Windsor Smith also collaborated with other sought-after interior designers to decorate various rooms in the House of Windsor. This very chic library is the creation of LA-based designer Peter Dunham and features his own line of wallpaper (dying!). I officially can no longer picture my life without a kelly green desk. You too? Peter Dunham is also the mastermind behind the shop Hollywood at Home.
Windsor created this generous-sized dream kitchen, which features a long communal table because she believes that kitchens are the new living rooms. I think when you have a family, that couldn’t be more true. It is where everybody congregates and actually talks. Connection was a big goal for Windsor when designing this house. She realizes that with everyone being so busy these days and always on their phones, computers, etc., that it’s extremely important to create as many opportunities for connection and bonding as possible. The master suite, decorated impeccably by San Francisco-based designer Candace Barnes, features a huge dressing suite. Windsor’s logic was that it is at these moments, when you’re putting on your shoes and your spouse is dripping wet, that you actually talk. She revealed that she used to design separate his and hers bathroom suites, but then later down the road, she found herself designing separate houses for those same clients. It’s inspiring to see the thoughtfulness that goes on behind a project like this. It’s not just ‘I like this pretty couch.’ There is so much more to it. And I can understand why Windsor Smith refers to herself as a lifestyle architect, because that is indeed what she is doing.
After Dara graciously gave me a tour of the rooms in the main house, she introduced me to Bravo’s Million Dollar Decorator Martyn Lawrence-Bullard, who gave me a tour of his 1970s-inspired media room above the garage. Have you been watching Million Dollar Decorator? Do you love it as much as I do? I adore Martyn and he’s just as fabulous and as sweet in person. I love how his media room picks up on elements in the main house, but has a style all its own. Martyn is known for his bold rock ‘n’ roll style, decorating for the likes of Sharon and Ozzie Osbourne and Cher, and I can tell you that at the gala last night, this is where the party was at! It’s not every day that you find yourself in a room with Martyn Lawrence-Bullard, Cheryl Tiegs, Jeff Lewis (and Jenni!), and Niecy Nash, whose husband Jay Tucker was as big of a fan of the Damien Hirst skulls as I was (though I didn’t have the, um, courage — or the muscles — to pick them up like he did!).
After Martyn showed me his divine room — and graciously took his picture with me (after styling the shot, natch), he introduced me to fellow Million Dollar Decorator Kathryn Ireland (not to be confused with the ’80s supermodel Kathy Ireland who also designs). Kathryn decorated the horse stables. The stables were so perfectly welcoming and decorated in Kathryn Ireland’s signature casual-chic way, replete with her fabrics and an artists’ studio, that I found myself wanting to have a Freaky Friday switcheroo moment with that lucky horse who calls the stables home.
I also had the pleasure of meeting New Orleans-based designer Tara Shaw, whose rooms you won’t only die for, but whose effervescent fashion sense you’ll swoon over too (she donned a bright orange Alexander McQueen dress and an architectural espresso Rick Owens gown – photos to come!). And, it can’t go without saying, I fell in love with Windsor Smith’s delightfully charming mother-in-law. We both enjoyed taking it all in from the comfort of a black-and-white striped chaise on the green and gorgeous lawn.
The light-filled House of Windsor succeeds in its goal of showcasing effortless luxury living for today’s modern family. Every room is one that you want to sit down in and use — nothing feels precious or over-designed or like a showroom, which is truly the mark of great design. If you are in the Los Angeles area I highly recommend seeing it for yourself. The House of Windsor is open to the public from July 1-17. Ticket and special event information can be found here.
Thank you to VERANDA and Windsor Smith for having me, and be sure to keep tuning in for gala photos and more xx!
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