PHOTOGRAPHY  JEFF ONG, POSTRAIN PRODUCTION | PRODUCTION OBJEKT©INTERNATIONAL

The house is set high up in the Beverly Hills: the Clinton Residence. It was designed in 1973 by the architect Amir Farr and was recently addressed by one of the new stars in the interior design firmament: Maxime Jacquet. The house affords its occupants a spectacular view over Los Angeles to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The estate represents the optimum combination of city living and countryside pleasures. Maxime chose to accentuate the engagement with nature using earth tones throughout the interior.

The Beverly Hills area is studded with houses designed by famous architects. Richard Neutra, Hal Levitt, Gordon Kaufmann, Wallace Neff, J.Martyn Haenke, Paul Williams and Craig Ellwood are a few who, especially in the first half of the 20th century, ventured to give free rein to their creative imagination here. They were encouraged to do so by their clients – many of whom were creative themselves and were keen on innovative architecture. Architect Amir Farr design this house in the early 1970s. He was a colleague of Oscar Niemeyer, the famous architect who designed the city of Brasilia and was co-architect of the United Nations complex in New York City.

This house is part of Trousdale Estates, a renowned, luxury enclave that was developed in the early ’fifties on the land of Doheny Ranch. The main house – Greystone Mansion – is still the largest house in Beverly Hills. Soon the first villas sprung up and the estate became associated with the promise of ‘a Life above it all’. Clearly it appealed to everyone who was anyone, as is confrmed by the list of stars having homes there: from Groucho Marx to Frank Sinatra, from Quincy Jones to Arthur Elrod and from Elvis Presley to Jennifer Aniston.

Maxime Jacquet was recently asked to modernise the house designed by Farr. He has created a comfortable, opulent ensemble filled with large artworks. But he has addressed the grandeur of the original architecture with fitting respect. The designer: “When I restored this house I sought to return everything to the way it was to start with, respecting the original design as far as possible. It’s a splendid piece of architecture that we have adapted to the present day. The interventions were chiefly cosmetic: the introduction of large window walls to create a luxurious feeling. The relocation of the swimming pool was more drastic. In the original design it was closer to the house and in fact beneath a large roof overhang. I shifted the pool more towards the edge of the plot which has resulted in an unimpeded view. The pool deck is made of teak.”

The house has a floor area of around 740 m2 and has five bedrooms and five bathrooms. The ground floor is designed as one vast space containing the living and dining areas. The gourmet kitchen has been closed off from the television room. The first floor houses a game room and an office in open plan. Maxime has made sophisticated use of wood, glass and stone in the interior which creates a harmonious ambience. The different spaces flow together and the interaction between interior and exterior is also enhanced in this way. “When you see the house for the first time, you’re struck by the scale and the openness. That openness continues into the interior, with the large living area forming the hub of the house. The high ceiling actually soars into the big roof. Large window walls access the pool deck and garden, emphasising the entertainment aspect.

Also, there is plenty of natural light which serves the owners’ extensive art collection well. I designed the interior to be consistent with the architecture and, as far as possible, attuned the finishes to the original design. Now the overall effect is classical-modern: vintage with comfort and timeless elegance prevailing. We have enhanced the ‘Californian feel’ by avoiding cold materials and opting for quality cottons in the soft furnishings. The result is a perfect balance between tradition and modernity, between luxury and severity, and between fashion and comfort.”