Posts Tagged: Los Angeles


It is always a treat to see one’s own work in print. We were thrilled to see the latest issue of Charlotte Home Design & Decor featuring us in one of my favorite columns where they showcase a different designer each month. Read below for our favorite finds s scouted from around the world…



Tailored, classic, understated, and sophisticated are just a few of the adjectives that come to mind when looking at the interiors of Leslie Hunt. From her attention to detail to her mastery of mixing colors and patterns, Leslie’s training is evident in all of her designs. A fortuitous internship with renowned designer Mark Hampton in New York led the UC Berkeley graduate into the world of design. After working as lead designer for Stephanie Stokes, Sandra Nunnerly and Scott Snyder, she launched her own design firm in 2003.

Known for her enthusiasm and impeccable eye, Leslie creates unique spaces for each of her clients based on their individual tastes and style. This personal touch accompanied by her professionalism has added to her rapidly growing residential design business which has also expanded into restaurants, country clubs and corporate offices.



After designing a cafe for her best friend in Santa Monica, Leslie began working on her friend’s home gutting the interior to make it more cohesive for a family of four. The courtyard and back house provide an ideal place for entertaining and taking advantage of the gorgeous Southern California weather.

A fountain original to the property provides a quaint focal point for the outdoor dining area.


A flag photograph by Oberto Gili purchased through Nathan Turner in Los Angeles inspired the red, white and blue palette. A variety of patterned pillows found at the Rose Bowl Flea Market play off of the stripes and colors in the artwork. This play on patterns creates a story in many of Hunt’s interiors.



What began as a kitchen and bath renovation evolved into a larger project including the dining room and living room. The kitchen and family room were taken to the studs and ceilings raised to create a more spacious atmosphere where the family spends most of their time. A dining nook off of the main living area includes Roman blinds in a Tilton Fenwick blue and white print for Duralee, navy lacquered bamboo chairs and banquette pillows in indigo hues from Hollywood at Home. A brass and ebonized pendant from Visual Comfort lends a modern touch to the space.


A sectional sofa with patterned pillows continues the blue and white scheme. A rattan cocktail table with shagreen boxes, design books, and blue beads add layered interest to the interior.


A pink rug by Madeline Weinrib was the starting point for the living room that inspired this warm and cheerful color palette. Diminutive barrel back chairs from Grace Home are upholstered in a pink and blue floral fabric by Tilton Fenwick for Duralee. Sofas by H.D. Buttercup are decorated with pillows made with fabrics by Peter Dunham, Schumacher, John Robshaw and Duralee. A large aviary painting purchased by the client in Montecito finishes the interior.



In the dining room, crimson red pulled from the Persian rug covers the walls. A gilded pagoda lantern from Horchow and blue leather used on the dining chairs contrast with the jewel colored walls. A Brunschwig and Fils multicolored suzani adorns a window seat. More printed pillows in blue and red mix enhance the vignette without overpowering it.




A mutual affection for the color blue inspired every space in this Pacific Palisades cottage. By using different shades of blue in each room and accenting with natural elements, the designer was able to achieve the client’s vision.

Leslie scoured local flea markets, estate sales and consignment shops to help the clients start their collection of blue and white porcelain displayed in the family room bookcases. Touches of orange seen in the flowers, accessories and sofa pillows by Carolina Irving play off of the blue and white color scheme. The client’s dog, Cupcake, is curled up on her favorite chair.


The living room continues the same palette but in a more formal fashion. A variety of blue hues found in a large abstract landscape are used throughout the interior. A sofa by Hollywood at Home in a deep blue textile by Kravet anchors the space. Lighter blues are found in the carpet and sofa pillows by Ralph Lauren and S. Harris. A larger patterned print by Kravet is used for Roman blinds and drapery panels.


The airy master bedroom is another variation on the blue and white theme. Against a white backdrop, an upholstered bed by Kravet is decorated with linens by Deborah Sharpe and vintage pillows. A leopard fabric by Schumacher is used on the bench for additional seating. An abstract fabric by Tilton Fenwick for Duralee frames the windows. Greek key bedside tables are from Mecox Gardens and Bunnys William’s iconic brushstroke lamps were purchased at Harbinger.

Photography: Stafanie Keenan and Amy Bartlan



Recognized for her classic yet eclectic style, Los Angeles based designer Leslie Hunt merges formal design with a relaxed and understated sophistication. Specializing in the creation of uniquely personal and chic interior spaces tailored specifically to each client is Leslie’s formula that has broad appeal to all ages and styles. Her motto is simply decorating the interior of people’s lives.

As an art history major as UC Berkeley, Leslie studied abroad in Europe and then moved to New York to begin her training with legendary designer Mark Hampton. It was there where she developed her use of colors, patterns, and textures. Over the next six years, Leslie worked as lead designer managing multiple high-end projects throughout the country with influential designers Stephanie Stokes, Sandra Nunnerly and Scott Snyder.

In 2003, Leslie successfully launched her own interior design company on the West Coast. Fusing the best of her inspirations and experiences in New York and abroad with her native California style, Leslie is known for her distinct ideas and passion that she brings to each project. She has a youthful flair and merges her knowledge of the past with an eye on the future.

Over the years, Leslie’s enthusiasm, attention to detail and follow through have been highly valued by her clients. With the growth of her residential business came the inevitable expansion into commercial spaces ranging from corporate offices to restaurants and to private country clubs. Working with different mediums and requirements in a commercial environment has been instrumental in expanding Leslie’s scope of work as a designer.


Please click HERE to see the rest of Peachy’s summer issue featuring Los Angeles.

For more design inspiration, be sure to follow along on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and subscribe to Bespoke Banter. Thanks for reading!




Eight weeks and counting until my favorite design event of the year! LEGENDS is a 3-day celebration of design in the La Cienega Design Quarter that brings together thousands of design and architecture enthusiasts, tastemakers and editors from across the country and around the world. VIP Passes are on sale now by clicking here.

Opening with the prestigious LEGENDS GALA, the design festival features receptions, panel discussions, book signings, trunk shows, personal appearances and social events from dawn to dusk. Here are some highlights from 2015…


LEGENDS GALA – at a new and spacious location, Fig & Olive, Melrose Place.
Hosted and sponsored by Coldwell Banker Previews International and Fig & Olive


Blogger Breakfast and Legends 2016 Kick-Off
Hosted by Anna Brockway, co-founder, Chairish, and Newell Turner, Editor in Chief, Hearst Design Group and Metropolitan Home

Identity Theft: Maintaining Personal Identity in a Professionally Designed Home
Moderated by Linda O’Keeffe, Author, Creative Director and Journalist

Putting Social Media In its Place: Are You Social Media Elite or Are You Too Elite for Social Media?

Power Lunch with the movers and shakers in the design world
Hosted by Michael Boodro, Editor in Chief, Elle Decor

The Age Factor: Integrating Objects From the Past into Current Design
Moderated by Pamela Jaccarino, Editor in Chief, Luxe Interiors + Design

Celebrity Status: Who is the Celebrity? Designer or Client?
Moderated by Stephen Drucker, Design Journalist and Former Editor in Chief of House Beautiful, Martha Stewart Living
and Town & Country

Celebrating the new Richard Shapiro Studiolo showroom and a book signing for the designer’s recently published “Past Perfect: Richard Shapiro Houses & Gardens”

Tribute Party honoring 2016 window designers, moderators and panelists


Wake-Up Call Breakfast
Hosted by Jenny Bradley, Design and Lifestyle Editor, Traditional Home

The Well-Travelled Home: Cultural Diversity in Private Spaces
Sponsored by
Moderated by Jenny Bradley, Design and Lifestyle Editor, Traditional Home

When Disaster Strikes! An honest appraisal of bad clients, bad business and how to avoid making the same mistakes,
over and over
Moderated by Madeline Stuart, Architectural Digest Top 100 and Elle Decor A-List Interior Designer

Celebrating the memorable moments and highlights of LEGENDS 2016
Hosted by Pamela Jaccarino, Editor in Chief, Luxe Interiors + Design

Creating an Exit Strategy: Buying, Designing and Building a Dream Life in Mexico
Followed by a book signing for Annie Kelly and Tim Street-Porter’s “Casa Mexico: At Home in Merida and the Yucatan”

Collected: Living With the Things You Love in A Well-Curated Home
Moderated by Nate Berkus, Author, Interior Designer and Television Host

Group book signing featuring:
• Will Taylor, “Dream Decor: Styling a Cool, Creative and Comfortable Home, Wherever You Live”
• Eddie Ross & Jaithan Kochar, “Modern Mix: Curating Personal Style with Chic & Accessible Finds”
• “Tricia Foley Life/Style: Elegant Simplicity at Home” with the author
• Danielle Rollins, “Soiree: Entertaining with Style”

Outdoor Living Redefined
Moderated by Andrea Stanford, Design & Interiors Editor, C Magazine

Moore & Giles cocktail party with Hearst Design Group, and book signing for Ike Kligerman Barkley

Finale Party – a toast to a legendary week in the LCDQ


Get to know the shop and showroom owners and managers and discover the treasures behind the doors of each of the 56 members of the LCDQ.


60+ legendary windows in the LCDQ imaginatively transformed by designers from across the country and around the world, including:

Alisa Moffett – Hollywood Sierra Kitchens

Alison Davin of Jute – Remains Lighting

Amy Meier – Janet Yonaty

Andrew Brown – Dragonette

Antonio Buzzetta – Dragonette

Beth Webb – Harbinger

Bill Ingram – Kristen Buckingham

Brian Pacquette – Cote Jardin Antiques

Cari Berg – Reborn Antiques

Christina Karras – Marc Phillips

Christina Rottman – Paul Ferrante

Christos Prevezanos – Farrow & Ball

David Desmond – McKinnon & Harris

David Netto – Hollywood at Home

Delta Wright / Curated – Mehraban Rugs

Elizabeth Dinkel – Serena & Lily

Erinn Valencich – George Smith

Espace Design – Tufenkian Artisan Carpets

Hallworth Design – Fuller &Roberts

James Magni of Magni Design – Stark

Jamie Bush – Richard Shapiro

Janice Francois – Natural Curiosities

Jay Jeffers – Arteriors

Jeff Andrew – Mansour Modern

Jeffrey Alan Marks – Jonas

John Turturro – Antique Rug Co./Rug Affair

Kate Stamps of Stamps & Stamps – Claremont Fabrics

Kay Kollar – Jamal’s

Ken Kehoe – Reborn Antiques

Kim Alexandriuk – Downtown

Kim Colletti – Mehraban Rugs

Kirk Nix – Janet Yonaty

Lonni Paul – Gina Berschneider

Mark D. Sikes – Mecox

Malcolm James Kutner – Harbinger

Mark Cutler – Gina Berschneider

Marmol Radziner – Marc Phillips

Marjorie Skouras – Downtown

Mark Cunningham – Dessin Fournir

Melinda Ritz – Hollywood at Home

Michelle Workman – Baker Furniture

Molly Leutkemeyer – Harbinger by Hand

Natalie Kraiem – JD Staron

Nate Berkus – Lee Stanton

Nicole Gordon Studio – Maine Design

Nina Campbell – Hollyhock

Pamela Jewell – Woven Accents

Parker Kennedy – Barclay Butera

Platner & Co. – George Smith

Ramey Caulkins – Elizabeth Eakins

Robert Stilin – Lee Stanton

Ryan Brown of Brown Design Group – Marc Phillips

Ryan White of Quigg – Waterworks

Sam Allen – Barclay Butera

Sebastien Leon – Jean de Merry

Sheldon Harte – Jamal’s

Studio William Hefner – Renaissance Design Studio

TagFront – Sherle Wagner

Tammy Connor – Hollyhock

Tommy Chambers – Reborn Antiques

Vance Burke – Nicky Rising

Vincent Jacquard – Compas

Windsor Smith – Laurel & Wolf



And a HUGE favor to ask all of my readers….please take 5 seconds to vote for me to be one of the 2016 Trad Home Rising Stars by clicking HERE! You can vote once a day for any and all of your favorite designers between now and March 15th! Finalists will be announced on March 15th and voting continues for the finalists until April 15th.


For more design inspiration, please follow along on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and subscribe to Bespoke Banter. Thanks for reading!


Calling all design aficionados! The theme and dates for LEGENDS 2016 have been announced…


May 3-5, 2016


I have ranted and raved to all of my design collesgues that LEGENDS is by far the most spectacular design event in the universe!  If you are still on the fence about whether or not to attend, take a peek at these videos which will surely help you make up your mind…Trust me, once you have attended “Designerpalooza”, it will become an annual pilgrimage every year!

I was thrilled to be an Ambassador for last year’s event with these talented design folks. To read more about our expericences, please click on images below for a full recap of the events!










Be sure to check out LCDQ website for more videos from all of the keynote speakers and for updated information on speakers and  special events for next year!


For more of my design inspiration, please be sure to follow along on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and subscribe to Bespoke Banter.  Thanks for reading and please come back again!



I fell under the spell of Greystone Mansion seeing it in the pages of Veranda magazine as their showhouse in 2009. Designed by favorite talents Mary McDonald and Nathan Turner, the courtyard was transformed into a chinoiserie themed backdrop in crisp apple green and white for the opening gala. (Gala images via Veranda Magazine)






I finally had the chance to see the house and gardens with a group of fellow designers and was not only mesmerized by its beauty, but captivated by the story behind this grand estate filled with murder, mystery and intrigue. Special thanks to Tricia Jacobs and Leslie Newsom Rascoe for sharing their articles and stories about this incredible work of architectural history. Rumor has it that the ghost of Ned Doheney occasionally reveals himself…only to guests who appreciate the beauty of Greystone.



HISTORY (via website)

Greystone Mansion, and the surrounding grounds it shares its magnificent beauty with, are rich in California history. Edward Laurence Doheny, the original proprietor of the Greystone land, was born in 1856 in the small Midwestern town of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. By the time he was a young teen, Doheny’s adventuresome spirit and love of the wilderness led him to prospecting for gold and soon thereafter, oil. In 1892, Doheny and his friend Charles A. Canfield, were the first to strike oil in Los Angeles. They later discovered large oil deposits in Mexico which, combined with their Los Angeles holdings, made them the largest producers of oil in the world at that time.




Edward Doheny and his wife Carrie Louella Wilkins had two children. Their first, a daughter Eileen, passed away when she was just seven years old. On November 6, 1893, their only son, Edward “Ned” Laurence Doheny, Jr., was born and grew up as heir to one of the world’s great financial empires. Ned went on to marry Lucy Smith of Pasadena and in 1926 Edward Laurence Doheny Sr. gave his son as a wedding gift a premium parcel of land consisting of 12.58 acres with sweeping citywide views.

Construction of the palatial manor home began February 15, 1927 and although Ned, his wife Lucy, and their five children moved into the residence in September 1928, the estate took three years to complete at a cost of over $3 million, an almost unimaginable sum in real estate at the time.
The original cost to construct Greystone’s entire estate was $3,166,578.12, the Mansion alone cost $1,238,378.76. The extraordinary result became known as Greystone for its abundant use of stone construction and its rather somber gray appearance. In addition to the Mansion, originally located on the grounds were stables and kennels, tennis courts, a fire station, gatehouse, swimming pool and pavilion, a greenhouse, a lake, babbling brooks and cascading waterfalls.

But on the night of February 16, 1929, only five months after the family had moved in, Ned Doheny was found shot to death inside the home, at the age of 36 and the victim of an apparent murder-suicide perpetrated by his longtime personal friend and aid Hugh Plunket. Lucy continued living at Greystone until 1955, after which she and her second husband Leigh M. Battson sold the majority of the original land to the Paul Trousdale Corporation, developers of Beverly Hills’ prestigious “Trousdale Estate” homes. The following year Lucy and her husband sold for approximately $1.5 million the remaining 18.3 acre parcel, including Greystone Mansion, to Henry Crown of Chicago-based Park Grey Corporation. Mr. Crown, however, never formally occupied the site but instead leased it out as a popular filming location, a legacy Greystone still maintains today.

The City of Beverly Hills purchased the property from Mr. Crown in 1965 for approximately $1.3 million with plans to install a 19-million gallon water tank on the property as its hilltop site provided tremendous natural water pressure. This site continues to serve as the City of Beverly Hills’ largest reservoir. On September 16, 1971, the entire 18.3 acre site, including its centerpiece Greystone Mansion, was formally dedicated as a public park by the City of Beverly Hills. Five years later, on April 23, 1976, Greystone Estate was officially recognized as a historic landmark and was entered into the Registry of Historic Places.


Greystone Mansion was designed by the renowned Southern Californian architect Gordon B. Kaufmann and was constructed by the P.J. Walker Company. The landscape architect was Paul G. Thiene who used a potpourri of Gothic and neoclassic architectural styles.

The structure of Greystone Mansion was built of steel reinforced concrete, faced with Indiana limestone and is roofed of Welsh slate. Upon entering the Mansion, the hand railings and arch-framed stairway typify both the opulence and craftsmanship of the era and of the entire Greystone property. All of the oak banisters, balustrades and rafters were hand carved, while each of the seven chimneys was designed and crafted by a different artist. The floors of the grand hall showcased black and white inlaid marble and an elaborate living room held a balcony where musicians often performed on special occasions. The kitchen featured a pantry built to secure a large adjoining wall safe that was used to store the family’s silver and gold services. The Mansion was built with a servant’s quarters which occupied two floors of the east wing and accommodated a live-in staff of fifteen.

There are fifty-five livable rooms within the 46,054 square feet of living space in the Mansion. While the Mansion’s bedrooms were spread throughout the second floor, the master bedroom suite was located in the west wing and featured an accompanying sitting room, two baths, a dressing room and a massage room. All the rooms with southern exposure offered a panoramic view of the Los Angeles Basin, from downtown to the beaches of Santa Monica Bay. In the north wing where the two oldest boy’s bedrooms were located, a circular staircase led into an adjacent recreation wing that contained a movie theater room, an original Brunswick bowling alley, billiard room and a hidden bar.












00019602-thumb-600x478-78193Greystone, ca. 1928 | Security Pacific National Bank Collection, Los Angeles Public Library

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again… or was it Wuthering Heights, or Henry James’ Bly House, home of the ghostly children of “Turn of the Screw?” No, it was not a fictional English country estate, filled with regrets and windswept gardens. And it was not a dream. It was Greystone, the awe-inspiring, grey-green estate built by the oil rich Doheny clan in the 1920s. Looking down on Beverly Hills, with its bright blue sky and terra cotta Mediterranean mammoths, this stone-faced Tudor mansion looms above a field of honeysuckle. This capitalist dream is now a public park, and the grounds are open year round, although the mansion’s interiors are rarely subjected to mere plebeians, most probably for reasons of economy.

00019617-thumb-600x473-78195‘Cyprus Lane’ at Greystone, ca. 1928 | Security Pacific National Bank Collection, Los Angeles Public Library

As if by design, the day I visited Greystone was one of those rare days of lovely Los Angeles gloom. It was drizzling and warm as I made my way up the winding hillside. I stepped into the rain, and into another world. Beautiful terraced gardens, more akin to the palaces of Europe than L.A., were filled with outstanding views, trickling fountains, towering trees and overgrown paths leading to cozy nooks. The house itself was silent, its grey walls of Indiana slate glimmering like an exotic pearl, slightly darker than the overcast sky. I peered into the windows of the mansion, trying to imagine which ground floor room was the guest bedroom where, on February 16, 1929, Ned Doheny and his best friend Hugh Plunkett died — each man killed by a single bullet to the head.

00019615-thumb-600x477-78189Greystone, ca. 1928 | Security Pacific National Bank Collection, Los Angeles Public Library

But I was snapped out of my gothic reveries by the sound of children belting out the lyrics to the musical “Grease.” A quick walk to the mansion’s large circular driveway and further up to the filled-in Gatsby-esque Grecian pool revealed gaggles of children, the enthusiastic members of a local summer camp. They were practicing with the unfocused ease of children, shrieking and dancing, unaware and unafraid of their macabre surroundings. Life goes on even at Greystone, a palace of dreamlike beauty borne out of the deadly dealings of corrupt commerce.

Give Them Everything

00075969-thumb-250x325-78232He had developed the Midas touch. Gold flowed out of the grounds at his command.- The New York Times 1

Ned said to me at the dinner table, “Mama we could be awfully happy if we were poor couldn’t we?” I asked him “Dear, dear little tot, why?” He said “Because Papa wouldn’t go away so often.”– Letter from Estelle Doheny to E.L. Doheny 2

The story of Edward Laurence Doheny is one of Wild West legend. The son of poor Irish immigrants, clever Doheny spent his early adulthood kicking around the rough and tumble mining towns of the West, searching for gold and other precious metals. By 1892, he was in his late 30s, broke, with a troubled wife, and a sickly daughter who would die that same year. But sadness over his personal life was matched by sudden professional success. That fall he struck liquid gold, when on a hunch he dug his first oil well in the sticky tar fields of Los Angeles. He was further overjoyed when on November 6, 1893, his wife Carrie gave birth to a son, E.L Doheny Jr., known to the family as Ned. Doheny viewed Ned as his second chance, “swearing that he would achieve great wealth to provide a secure life for the boy.” 3

He made good on his oath. Over the next two decades, Doheny would become wealthy beyond his wildest dreams. In addition to virtually controlling the oil markets in California, he would make even more money at Tampico in Mexico, where he drilled some of the most productive oil wells in the world. Tampico was practically his own fiefdom, and he developed close and (according to many critics) questionable ties with the Mexican government. To his great sorrow, he lived apart from Carrie and Ned, who resided in San Francisco. The couple was divorced in 1899. E.L. soon married Estelle Betzold, a telephone operator whom he had fallen in love with over the phone lines. Carrie, always fragile, killed herself by ingesting battery acid, and Ned came to live with E.L. and Estelle. Estelle took the job of raising Ned seriously, and the pudgy boy was soon very attached to her. The two became close, playing games in their big mansion on Chester Place while E.L. was often away, overseeing his kingdom of oil.

Ned was educated at private Catholic schools, and spent a year at Stanford before graduating from USC. He grew into a spoiled, easygoing, funny and handsome man with a “heart of gold,” who idolized his father and adored his step-mother. In 1913, while courting his future wife, Lucy Smith, he met a working-class young man named Theodore “Hugh” Plunkett. Hugh worked at the Smith family’s gas station near Chester Place. They became great friends, and soon Hugh became one of the Dohenys’ many servants, acting as chauffeur for the entire Doheny family. Both men served in the Great War. When they returned from service, Hugh acted as Ned’s personal secretary, often traveling with him as he became more involved with his father’s businesses. But according to Attorney Fredrick R. Kellogg, although Hugh acted as secretary to Ned, “their relationship was more than that of friends.” Another associate, Dr. E.C. Fishbaugh, put it more succinctly — “They were like brothers.” 4

But, they were “brothers” with wildly different bank accounts. Upon their marriage, Ned and Lucy were presented with a mansion adjacent to the elder Doheny’s Chester Place castle, while Hugh and his wife, Harriet, lived in modest accommodations. The younger Dohenys were L.A.’s elite darlings. Their exploits were often the lead story on society pages, whether sailing on the family yacht, Casiana, or attending a dinner at a table that “glowed with a handsome mound of Richmond roses.” 5 They lived a life of refined excess, bankrolled by the Doheny millions. In 1919, even a car Ned purchased for Lucy was newsworthy. It was described as “the classiest creation of the year,” custom made by Earl Automobile Works:

A silver engraved monogram inlaid in red enamel is mounted on each door. On the panel between the door over the little extra fender [there are] specially designed coach lamps; these lamps were designed and constructed by the Tiffany Company in New York City. These lamps give the car a very foreign touch. The car is upholstered in bright long-grain red leather, which forms a great contrast with the body and wheels which are painted Willey’s battleship gray, with a satin finish.

mrmrsneddoheny-thumb-250x504-78234Mr. and Mrs. E. L. Doheny, Jr., in Fancy-Ball Costume | Los Angeles Times, February 18, 1929

But life for Ned Doheny was not all play and no work. In November 1921, Ned and Hugh checked into a suite at the Plaza Hotel. On the 30th, Ned walked into the New York banking house of Blair and Company. He withdrew $100,000 from a banking account he shared with his wife, and put the bills in a small black bag. He and Hugh then traveled to Washington D.C. where they met with Albert Fall, the Secretary of the Interior for the Harding administration, at the Wardman Park Hotel. Ned handed over the money to Fall, a friend of his father from the rough and tumble mining days. Fall handed Ned a promissory note. Within a month, Doheny Sr. had deposited $100,000 back into Ned and Lucy’s account.

This simple transaction would turn Ned and Hugh’s world upside down. E.L. Doheny was soon awarded the contract for the Elks Hill Naval Petroleum Reserve in Kern County, California. The exchange of money, which Doheny would call a loan to an old friend, and numerous government officials would call a bribe, was part of the infamous Teapot Dome scandal, which would consume the rest of the 1920s. In 1924, Albert Fall, fellow oil man Harry F .Sinclair, and E.L. were charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States. At a grand jury hearing in D.C. in May, Ned refused to answer questions regarding his role in the delivery, although he testified that neither he nor his father had done anything wrong. E.L. was acquitted in December 1926, with Estelle, Ned, and Lucy by his side. However, due to endless political duels in Washington, E.L. was soon charged again, this time with bribery.

In the midst of this chaos, doting (and perhaps grateful) E.L. decided to present Ned, Lucy and their five children with an extraordinary gift. Built on 429-acres overlooking the still sleepy village of Beverly Hills, Greystone was designed by Gordon Kaufmann, a prominent architect whose work included the Hoover Dam and the Los Angeles Times building. Begun in 1927, the 55-room mansion included a bowling alley with a hidden bar, walls made of leaded glass, a main hall of checkered Carrara marble, a personal switchboard, secret passageways, and grand rooms filled with European antiques. The exquisite grounds, including an 80-foot waterfall which could be turned on with a switch, stables, riding trails, a swimming pool, kennel, and the still awe-inspiring Renaissance inspired “Cyprus Lane,” were designed by landscape architect Paul Thiene. According to Thiene’s main designer Emile Kuehl: “The sky was the limit. I would ask Mr. Thiene what the client might want. ‘Give them everything, was the reply.'” 7

Bitter Death

We know so little about another. Not a ninetieth part. In a moment of fever and excitement, this man was not himself and his moment came. We leave him in God’s keeping.
— Eulogy of Hugh Plunkett 8
But to have to say goodbye to one in the full flush of manhood, to have to stand at the grave of one in the full bloom of life-this, in sober truth, is bitter death!
— Eulogy of Ned Doheny 9
It was to be Ned and Lucy’s home, but it was Hugh who oversaw the construction of Greystone. Ned was frequently in Washington supporting his father through the Teapot Dome scandal. According to another family retainer, “Hugh often signed checks for Mr. Doheny totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. He attended to most of the details of the new home and actually paid the contractors bills with checks made out in Mr. Doheny’s name.” 10

In the fall of 1928, with the house nearing completion, the Doheny faithful claimed that the once quiet, even tempered Hugh was starting to unravel. Some blamed trouble with his teeth, others a dependence on sleeping pills, the breakdown of his eleven year marriage, and other “unknown problems.” What no one, including the Los Angeles Times, mentioned was that Ned and Hugh had been called to testify in the upcoming bribery trials of Albert Fall and E.L. Doheny. And although Ned had been assured immunity, Hugh had not.

Against this tense backdrop, the Doheny clan moved into Greystone before Thanksgiving. Ned and Lucy celebrated their first holiday season at Greystone with a thirty-foot Christmas tree adorned with piles of presents. They hosted a party featuring one hundred couples dancing to Christmas songs played by an orchestra sitting in a special gallery above the mansion ballroom. On Christmas Eve, Hugh supposedly suffered a complete “nervous breakdown,” and was put in the care of the family doctor, Dr. Ernest Clyde Fishbaugh.

By February, the Doheny circle claimed Hugh was completely unhinged. According to Dr. Fishbaugh, on the afternoon of February 16, he, Ned, and Lucy confronted Hugh at Greystone. They urged him to take a “rest” at a sanitarium. Was this to get him mental help, or to exempt him from testifying at Fall’s upcoming trial? Or both? We will never know. Whatever the case, the doctor claimed that “Hugh refused. He simply sat there. Almost shaking at times. Hands clenched. Jaw set at times. He said he would come out of it all right. I could see it was no use to push him further and so I left.” 11

nedeldoheny-thumb-600x420-78237Ned Doheny with his mother and father | L.A. Times, February 18, 1929

According to the “official story,” in the early evening of February 16, Ned and Lucy went to visit Hugh at his apartment, again urging him to get help. During this visit, Ned uttered some “impulsive remarks” that upset Hugh. Ned and Lucy left Hugh, and went to the theater. They returned to Greystone. As they were getting ready for bed, Hugh called. 12 He was at the garage at the gates of Greystone, and said he wanted to come to the mansion. Lucy implored him not to. A little while later, Hugh let himself into the main house with his pass key. Ned found him in the guest bedroom he often slept in, and sat down to talk with his troubled friend. An hour or so passed, and the two men had drinks and smoked cigarettes. Lucy was in another part of the house. According to Doctor Fishbaugh:

I received a call at the Hollywood Playhouse from my maid at 10:30p.m. and was told to go to the Doheny home immediately. Upon my arrival there, one of the watchmen, whose name I do not know, let me in the house … As I entered, Mrs. Doheny was standing in the middle hallway approximately eight feet back from the door and greeted me. She said her husband was in a guestroom on the first floor, to the left of the hall leading from the front entrance. Both Mrs. Doheny and I started down the hall, side by side. A door, which partitions the hall, was slightly ajar, and I saw Plunkett walking toward it. ‘You stay out of here,’ he shouted at me and slammed the door shut. I then heard a shot. ‘You go back,’ I told Mrs. Doheny, and she returned to the living room, which was about 75 feet away from the guest room. I pushed the door open and saw Plunkett lying on his face opposite the door to the bedroom where I later found Mr. Doheny. Plunkett, to the best of my recollection, was fully clothed. The door to the bedroom was open, and when I looked in I saw Mr. Doheny lying on his back, a chair overturned between him and the bed. 13
Both men had been shot in the head and were dead. Frantic calls went out to Lucy’s brothers-in-law, to D.A. Fitts, and to the Beverly Hills police. Old E.L. Doheny was awoken at his home at Chester Place, and rushed to the scene. 14 Doheny arrived at Greystone and refused to heed the advice of family members to not go to Ned’s body:

“No, I must see Ned,” he said with a bowed head as he walked down the hall that leads from the front entrance to the chamber where his son’s body lay. “Yes, it is Ned after all. I had hoped against hope there was some mistake. “He staggered slightly, and then with a slow tread passed close to the head of his son’s murderer, who lay in the hall close to the door of the chamber and walked into the room. He gazed at his son’s body for a moment and then knelt beside it. He shook with emotion as he reached down and took young Doheny’s right hand. “Ned, my Ned,” he sobbed as he was half carried from the room. 15

00074554-thumb-600x410-78197Original caption reads: ‘Photo-diagram below illustrates police officers’ theory of the dual tragedy in which Theodore Plunkett killed his employer, Edward L. Doheny, Jr. and then committed suicide. According to the police theory, Plunkett held the gun at his waist and shot Doheny seated in a chair.’ | Herald-Examiner Collection, Los Angeles Public Library

The ensuing, if brief, media storm cast Ned as a hero who had “died the finest kind of death,” trying to help a troubled friend. Many in law enforcement, including forensic investigator Leslie White, doubted the pat story of murder-suicide. 16 While photographing and processing the scene, White found a smoldering cigarette in Hugh’s fingertips, a curious thing for a man who had just killed his best friend in a fit of madness and was about to kill himself. The gun used in the murder lay under Plunkett’s body, very warm, as if someone had heated it in the oven. Dr. Fishbaugh — the main mouthpiece for the Doheny family — was caught in several lies, including withholding the fact that Ned had been alive when the doctor burst into the room, breathing although already unconscious. White also observed that it appeared that Ned had been shot at very close range, while it seemed that Hugh had not.

The city of Los Angeles was titillated by this tragedy of titans. E.L.’s private security detail guarded Greystone, determined to keep lookey-loos away. Ned’s funeral at St. Vincent’s, the beautiful church funded by E.L. and Estelle, was filled to capacity. Hundreds stood outside the Catholic Church, held back by a special detail of traffic officers. Ned was buried at Forest Lawn in the magnificent temple of Santa Sabina, which once contained the bones of an Italian Saint of the second century. A day later, Hugh was buried only a 100 feet away from Ned on Sunrise Slope. Both his brother and sister collapsed at the graveside. Lucy Doheny sent a huge floral arrangement to Plunkett’s funeral, and two of her brothers served as pallbearers.

After the huge explosion of coverage in the local papers, all reporting on the murder ceased within three days. And after promising a “sweeping investigation”, District Attorney Buron Fitts proclaimed there would be “no inquest” and officially closed the investigation. Old E.L. was eventually acquitted of his bribery charge, but his heart had been broken. Rumors of a love affair between the two men, of a cover-up and bribes, linger to this day. A reporter at the Los Angeles Times summed up the whole saga within 48-hours of the tragedy, aware that this was a story already forever muddled by power and pride:

What transpired in the bedroom of that long, rambling mansion in its woodland setting, halfway up the side of the Beverly Hills mountainside, may never be known. Both Doheny and Plunkett are dead. 17

Diagram retraces the events that led to the deaths | Los Angeles Times, February 18, 1929

A Pleasant Kind of Palace

“I never got stuck,” declared Tim Doheny. “But I dreaded it, really did. Nobody would hear you, and you would be a skeleton by the time you were found.”
— Los Angeles Times, 1985 Lucy stayed at Greystone with her five children, and life began again. She married investment dealer Leigh Battson in 1932, in front of the living room fireplace at Greystone.

Spring blossoms and American beauty roses decorated the room in which the wedding took place, and at the wedding breakfast which followed it ,the brides table was laden with white flowers, orchids, gardenias and lilies of the valley … Her gown was simply made and it was set off by a single piece of jewelry, a baguette diamond and jade pin which was a gift from the bridegroom…While the wedding breakfast was in progress, Mr. C.C .Moseley, a family friend, flew low [in a plane] over the home and dropped a bouquet from himself and Mrs. Moseley upon the spacious lawn. 18
Despite its horrific beginnings, Greystone became a happy place, filled with opulent parties, and children scurrying across the expansive grounds or spraying away with a fire extinguisher in the attic gymnasium. Lucy and Leigh were regulars on the social scene, dancing at jet set balls, and hosting real European aristocracy at Greystone. Lucy was also heavily involved with charity work, and her daughter Lucy Estelle, called “Dicky Dell,” was one of the “loveliest and most popular debutantes” of the 1930s. Her engagement, during a dinner party at Greystone in 1936, was straight out of a Noel Coward play:

Guests were informed of the betrothal when each was served a decorated plate on which was an oyster shell containing a large pearl. Under the shell was a gold card with the engraving- “The pearls of wisdom within these shells predict for Van and Dicky wedding bells.” The bride to be found in her shell a solitaire diamond engagement ring… An orchestra played for dancing, and gaiety continued until late, with other amusements afforded guests. 19
After the children were grown, Lucy and Leigh found the giant estate burdensome and too large. Lucy sold it in 1955. In 1965, Greystone was bought by the city of Beverly Hills. It became an increasingly popular filming location, so it was fitting when AFI leased it from the city from 1969 to 1982. It is now a public park, and used for private functions. It continues to be a popular filming location, and numerous movies have shot scenes there. These include “The Holiday,” “The Bodyguard,” “The Witches of Eastwick,” and fittingly, “There Will Be Blood,” based on Upton Sinclair’s 1927 novel “Oil!,” which many say was inspired by the elder Doheny’s rise to power. Greystone is indeed a place of dreams and illusions — the sublime, the sophisticated and the just plain sad.

1 Richard Rayner, “A Bright and Guilty Place”
2 Margaret Leslie Davis, “The Dark Side of Fortune”
3 Ibid.
4 “Doctor asserts madness caused double death” Los Angeles Times, February 18, 1929
5 “Luncheon Party” Los Angeles Times, September 18, 1914
6 “Some class to this body” Los Angeles Times, May 11, 1919
7 “Mansion’s history rich, tragic” Los Angeles Times, August 25, 1985
8 “Brother and sister collapse at Doheny’s aide’s grave” Los Angeles Times, February 21, 1929
9 “Final tributes paid to Doheny” Los Angeles Times, February 20, 1929
10 “Plunkett rose from tire job” Los Angeles Times, February 18, 1929
11 “Doctor asserts madness caused double death” Los Angeles Times, February 18, 1929
12 “Doheny murder inquiry discloses controversy” Los Angeles Times, February 18, 1929
13 Ibid.
14 Ibid.
15 “No inquest on Doheny” Los Angeles Times, February 19, 1929
16 “Doheny lauded for friend aid” Los Angeles Times February 18, 1929
17 “Doheny murder inquiry discloses controversy” Los Angeles Times, February 18, 1929
18 “Mrs E.L. Doheny Jr., reweds” Los Angeles Times, February 19, 1932
19 “Spinsters engagement announced” Los Angeles Times, December 17, 1936

For more of my design inspiration, please follow along on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and subscribe to Bespoke Banter.  Thanks for reading and please come visit again!



As my Instagram feed has been blowing up with images of rainbows celebrating this epic day, I thought now would be a perfect time to feature the technicolored work of one of all time favorite artists…Jen Stark.  It is hard to fathom that this insanely talented lady is in her early 30s.  Her method for creating her intricate sculptures and paintings began out of need. As an art student in Aix-en Provence, she could not afford French pastels or oil paints, so she bought blocks of children’s construction paper and began cutting. She found the meticulous, sequential work felt meditative. The amount of discipline required to create a single work is extraordinary.


Each work is built layer by layer and can take months to complete. Everything is made by hand and the artist has a few tricks to protect her hands so she does not injure her fingers. Wearing mittens while working and padding her X-Acto knife with cotton balls helps greatly.




“I frequently use common materials such as paper and wood and strive to create complex structures that reveal how remarkable common materials can become. I’m interested in the idea of how math and science is intertwined in everything around us and am inspired by all types of things, from plants to outer space, microscopic designs in nature, color and mystery. My work concentrates on hypnotic, optical designs that mimic mandalas and sacred objects. I hope to help everyone discover the simplicity of beauty and mystery through my work”.





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“The aim of my work is to realize the potential of simple and common materials. There are no boundaries, and I believe it can be a great source of inspiration for others. I think with new ideas, our consciousness expands a bit more and our minds evolve. Hopefully my work will enable people to open their minds so that they are able to envision and discover new ideas. I am hopeful and open to the idea of evolving our consciousness”



Jen Stark was born in Miami, Florida in 1983 and received her BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2005, majoring in fibers with a minor in animation. Her artwork mimics intricate patterns and colors found in nature while exploring ideas of replication and infinity. Although Stark is most recognized for her paper sculptures, she has explored a variety of media including wood, metal, paint, plexi and animation.

Stark has exhibited globally with major shows in NYC, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, Thailand and Canada. Her work is included in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the West Collection, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale and MOCA Miami among others.

Stark lives and works in Los Angeles.








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All images and text via Jen Stark.  Be sure to check out her shop to purchase one of her brilliant works and to see some of her amazing collaborations. Don’t miss her amazing Instagram feed to keep up with her latest work!

For more of my design inspiration, please follow along on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and subscribe to Bespoke Banter. Thanks for visiting and please come back again!


“The life of a designer is a life of fight: fight against the ugliness.” – Massimo Vignelli


The final day of LCDQ certainly inspired all of us to keep the fight going….I was looking forward to some of my favorite showrooms hosting events and taking in all the incredible sources that LCDQ has to offer. The new showroom of Hollywood at Home is a feast for the eyes. Peter Dunham’s gorgeous space makes shopping an absolute delight. We were greeted by the new fabric collaboration of adorable Amy Meier and Peter Fasano. The first lecture of the day included LA designers Jamie Bush, Nickey/Kehoe, Amy Meier and Christos Prevezanos discussing creating custom fabrics for their projects with particular reference to Peter Fasano.  The always entertaining Robert Leleux, editor in chief of Domino, led a lively conversation with his usual panache.


The front of the showroom houses fabrics lines organized by designer and the back contains one of the chicest special event spaces I have ever seen.


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One of the most highly anticipated keynotes was “The Art of Authenticity” sponsored by Milieu at the sublime showroom McKinnon and Harris. Interiors editor Leslie Newsom Rascoe and renowned interior designers Nicky Haslam and Nathan Turner discussed the definition of enduring interiors in the context of short lived nature of decorating and why some spaces transcend time.

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The boisterous banter between these three was highly entertaining. Leslie cleverly dubbed the presentation “The Nick and Nate Show” and the two designers shared their advice and even entertaining tips with the group. Nathan compared the role of a designer as that of a captain and the importance of maintaining control of the ship.  Nicky elaborated to never compromise your own design aesthetic because that is why the clients hire you in the first place. He also gave his secret to a great party, “Too much to drink and chocolate pudding.”


Equally as entertaining was Nathan’s precious chocolate lab Nacho, who he referred to as an “attention hound.” Nacho charmed the crowd with his personality and even had the last bark at the end of the presentation.

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Next, a picnic lunch at Woven Accents complete with Moroccan rugs in lieu of picnic blankets and dueling DJs to entertain the crowd.

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Ginna Christensen, Denise McGaha, Tami Ramsay, Jennifer Mehitidash

After lunch, the next keynote was “Entertaining:The Home as a Social Stage” sponsored by California Homes at the Janet Yonaty showroom. Susan McFadden, editor of California Homes led a panel with Kathryn Ireland, Lulu Powers and Russ Diamond and how contemporary entertaining styles have changed including the extinction or comeback of the formal dining room, chef inspired kitchens and indoor outdoor entertaining.

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That afternoon, a flurry of book signings took place along Melrose and La Cienega. Windsor Smith, the Brentwood based design powerhouse, hosted a meet and greet to unveil her new collection at Arteriors.

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Mecox Gardens hosted a group signing including design icon Charlotte Moss (Garden Inspirations), Jane Scott Hodges (Linens for Every Room and Occasion), Justina Blakeney (The New Bohemians: Cool and Collected Homes) and Anthony Iannaci (Design in the Hamptons)

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The final keynote of the day featured some of my all time favorite design talents. Hosted by the Claremont showroom, “Chasing the Muse” featured designers Celerie Kemble, Schuyler Samperton and Hutton Wilkinson and was brilliantly moderated by Stylebeat founder Marisa Marcontonio. Using the 2015 LEGENDS theme of “Where Muses Dwell,” the designers discussed where they go to find find inspiration and if modern day muses still exist.

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Lindsay Fleege, Holly Phillips, Julia Buckingham, Me. Elle Toler, Rafi and Josh of Form LA, Tami Ramsay at Harbinger

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Joe Lucas of Harbinger certainly knows how to throw a party especially when he combines forces with Moore & Giles and the Hearst Design Group. Harbinger is another LCDQ favorite.  The showroom is always beautifully designed showcasing the latest and greatest from many bespoke fabric and furnishing lines. We always need to stop by at least twice…once to shop and once to socialize.





Holland and Sherry Rugs


Thomas Callaway Fabrics

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Hearst Design Group, Harbinger and Moore & Giles Teams in front of the celebrate Moore & Giles Airstream


California Homes sponsored the Finale Party at the loft like Marc Phillips showroom.It is amazing everyone was still on their feet and showing no signs of slowing down!

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Jennifer of The Proper Poppy, Danielle Rollins, Paloma Contreras


The last stop on the whirlwind LEGENDS LCDQ tour was attending an intimate dinner at the home of Kathryn Ireland.  This was certainly a “pinch me” moment because I have long admired her Santa Monica home and hilarious personality. Every single space from the outdoor seating areas to the guest house to the cozy nooks in the main house made you want to linger all night. Chateau Domingue hosted a stunning alfresco evening complete with craft margaritas, a mariachi band, and an amazing Mexican feast.




And to cap off a perfect night, we had a the chance to meet a favorite character from Million Dollar Decorators, Jacqueline, Kathryn Ireland’s chic confidante and right hand!


For more of my design inspiration, be sure to follow along on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook Twitter and subscribe to Bespoke Banter.  Thanks for reading and please come back again!

Photography by JL Photography unless otherwise noted.


“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”- Oscar Wilde

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3 days & 30 events…To give a sense of the incredibly content packed schedule at LCDQ’s LEGENDS event, I thought it would be fun to take you through one of the 16 hour days to see just how much creative energy you can absorb at this spectacular event. The logistics behind this event are mind boggling…not only do the organizers recruit and manage multiple speakers at various venues throughout the week, but they also throw amazing parties, each with their own distinct atmosphere.  Designers are by nature a very tough crowd to impress and the LCDQ hosts never disappoint.

The La Cinega Design Quarter was founded in 2007 to promote the burgeoning antiques and design neighborhood on one of LA’s oldest thouroughfares. Since the 1950s, it has been the design destination for legends such as Billy Haines, Elsie de Wolfe, Tony Duquette, and Frances Elkins. These creative spirits seem to permeate the atmosphere…especially during LEGENDS.

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Scott Meachum Wood, Me, Denise McGaha, Tami Ramsay, Will Taylor, Jennifer Mehditash

Our first official day began at the beautiful Renaissance Tile showroom for the Blogger Breakfast sponsored by Luxe Magazine. Knowing most of the crowd had very late nights, I was pleasantly surprised to see everyone bright eyed early in the morning to greet us.

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With fellow ambassadors Jennifer Boles & Paloma Contreras

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The first keynote speech was sponsored by Veranda at the Jonas Showroom. Entitled “Page Turners,” editor-in-chief Clinton Smith led a panel with designers turned authors and the highs of lows of publishing. Discussing the creative and business sides of publishing their monographs, they elaborated on how they translated their individual points of view onto the printed page.

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Clinton Smith, Markham Roberts, Winddor Smith, Brian McCarthy

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Next keynote, “Not Your Mother’s Traditional sponsored by Traditional Home at George Smith. Senior Design and Lifestyle Editor Jenny Bradley discussed the new meaning of “traditional” with entertaining panelists Elizabeth Dinkel, Madeline Stewart and Thomas Callaway.

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The Elle Decor Power Lunch at the stunning Compas Showroom is always one of the most elegant events.  The courtyard setting beautifully adorned with abundant flowers is breathtaking every year.

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Robert Rufino, Michael Boodroo and Guest

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Catherine Connelly, Celerie Kemble, Roxanne Hanna, Joe Lucas and Rebecca Dane


The Egg and Dart Showroom hosted “Branding Beyond the Candle” with interior and product designer Christopher Kennedy, photographer turned fashion designer Jonathan Skow (aka Mr. Turk) and moderated by the delightful Kelly Lee of Kelly Golightly. They shared their secrets of building a brand that appeals to a broad audience while staying true to their creative visions.

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Matching ensembles with Mr. Turk

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Complete with live mermen, the Tufenkian windows were some of the most visited during LCDQ. They hosted “Makers as Muse” moderated by Pamela Jaccarino, Editor in Chief of Luxe Magazine. She lead a conversation with Molly Luetkemeyer, Joe Lucas and Betsy Burnham on the artisans and craftsmen that serve and inspire them and what fuels them to keep their designs fresh and forward thinking.

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The final keynote of the day  “The Art of Upcycling” was held at the gorgeous Woven Accents showroom. Led by Domaine’s creative director Mat Sanders, actress and Honest Company founder Jessica Alba, Ginna Christensen of Woven Accents,’s Anna Brockaway discussed innovations in green living and the perks of up-cycling in interior design today.

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Next up the parties! House Beautiful and the Stark family hosted a cocktail party welcoming Sophie Donelson, the new Editor in Chief in the stunning stark showroom. The gorgeous rugs provided a beautiful backdrop for another insanely attractive crowd!


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Lovely Sophie Donelson taking center stage

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Sophie Donelson with Nate Berkus


With Tony Buccola, Holly Phillips and Shaun Smith

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The Sherle Wagner showroom hosted the Tributes party complete with live jazz, crafted cocktails and hilarious scenarios for photo ops with their products.

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Victoira Larson, Amy Meier, Tami Ramsay and Patrick Dragonette

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Danielle Rollins and Bill Ingram

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Kerry Joyce, Michael Boodroo and Chuck Comeau hosted the official LEGENDS After Party at the exquisite Therian showroom.  Knowing that the crowd had experienced and overload of visual stimulation during the day, they made sure to come up with some imaginative and exciting entertainment to capture everyone’s attention.

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Fire eating performers…

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Dueling musicians perched above the crowd….

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And the grand finale…Cirque du Soleil inspired performance artists to cap off an epic day.

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And was just the first day!  Be sure to check back to read about the final day of LCDQ which was equally as inspiring and entertaining.  For more of my design musings, be sure to follow along on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.  Thanks for reading and please come back again!

Photography by JL Photography unless otherwise noted.


“Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.” – Frank Lloyd Wright (via Beth Webb)


A creative tsunami is the best way to describe the  La Cinega Design Quarter’s LEGENDS event. Imagine having your entire design tribe in one spot…all of your favorite designers, vendors, artists and editors combined with the perfect mix of educational, inspirational and social events in sunny Los Angeles. Often referred to as the “Coachella” or “Fashion Week” of design, LEGENDS broke records this year with over 10,000 RSVPS coming from design aficionados representing 6 countries and 24 states in the US. The 3 day affair brings together VIPS and tastemakers from the worlds of interior design, decor, art, fashion, and architecture for receptions, keynote panels, cocktail parties exhibitions, book signings, personal appearances and special events. This year I was honored to be an ambassador covering the events for social media and mixing and mingling with all of the attendees.

Design fans are constantly seeking beauty and Los Angeles is the perfect backdrop to find inspiration with its stunning scenery, gorgeous showrooms and interiors, and insanely attractive Angelenos. I arrived a day early with my “blonde” (using that term loosely!) brigade/ travelling partners in crime: Tami Ramsay of Cloth & Kind, Julia Buckingham of Buckingham Interiors and Holly Phillips of The English Room who found us our amazing, yet dangerous house in the Hollywood Hills for our west coast adventure. While it may seem that it is “all play / no work,” it is quite the opposite. The ongoing conversation is a design think tank…linked to what inspires us, how to manage our respective practices, and how to troubleshoot different aspects of our businesses. I could not be more grateful to have this trusted group of confidantes. From Paris to High Point to LA, these girls provide constant entertainment and creative energy wherever we go.


Of course, we like to hit all of the LA hot spots to absorb everything LA has to offer. The Ivy is always the first stop with its bold colorful setting, amazing food, and hopes of always seeing a celebrity. Sighting #1: Lisa Vanderpump / Fedora Sightings : 2


Our spectacular view from our house nestled up in the Hollywood Hills.


Next stop…Palihouse in West Hollywood for a Viyet LA launch party sponsored by Traditional Home and Benjamin Moore. Viyet is a luxury consignment site for designer furniture and accessories.


Elizabeth Brown, Beth Felsen, Jenny Bradley, Jennifer Koen



Last year for LEGENDS we stayed in the iconic Sunset Tower Hotel.What amazed me about the setting was how the hotel transformed from day to night. The terrace and views are spectacular during the day, but the atmosphere at night above the twinkling lights of Los Angeles and the dramatic lighting is something to behold.



“Designed in 1929 by architect Leland A. Bryant, the Sunset Tower was a trendsetter from the moment it opened. Its dramatic setting on the Sunset Strip and elegant Art Deco styling, together with its proximity to famous restaurants and nightclubs of the 1930s & ’40s, contributed to its landmark status. West Hollywood has always catered to celebrities wishing to draw attention to their star power. The Sunset Tower embodied these aspirations, counting among its former residents Howard Hughes, John Wayne, Billie Burke, Marilyn Monroe, Errol Flynn, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Paulette Goddard, Zasu Pitts, and even gangster Bugsy Siegel. The Sunset Tower is a Hollywood landmark. Up to the 1950s it was as much a tourist attraction as the Hollywood sign itself. It has appeared in a number of films, including The Italian Job, Get Shorty, The Player and Strange Days. Its first literary mention was in Raymond Chandler’s Farewell, My Lovely (1940). The film version of that novel, Murder, My Sweet, released four years later, was its first screen reference.” – Sunset Tower Historian


Star Sightings: Supermodel Janice Dickinson and General Hospital’s Jack Wagner and of course Hollywood’s most famous Maître D’ Dimitri Dimitrov. Fedora Sightings: 0 (thank goodness)

Presiding over the Tower Bar six, sometimes seven nights a week, Dimitri makes everyone who walks into the bar feel like they are important. With his signature move of palms in front of his chest and a slight bow, he graciously took care of us during cocktails and dinner and even gave us a fabulous table next to his favorite spot, the curved banquette in the corner with the best view of the Hollywood Hills. Hotel owner Jeff Klein hired Dimitri 11 years ago after Tom Ford slipped him Dimitri’s name on a coaster during dinner. A special treat during LEGENDS was to hear an interview with Jeff Klein by Becky Birdwell for the Design Leadership Network hearing the history and legacy of the hotel.


To offset the late nights and nonstop cocktailing, Runyon Canyon is a necessity on our visits.


Star Sightings: 1…We think this little guy may have made a cameo in Caddyshack. Fedoras: 0


Of course we hat to hit the Chateau Marmont which has been described as “touched with scandal, commemorated in literature.” This was my virgin voyage to the Chateau and it did not disappoint. I cannot wait to see it under nightfall on my next trip.


“Hotels are the stuff of stories, of mini dramas, a world unto themselves – we leave our lives behind and become who we want to be. Arriving at Chateau Marmont you surrender yourself to a grandi-loquent environment, an infamous hideaway and the perfect getaway in the center of one of the world’s most exciting cities.Modeled after an infamous royal residence in France’s Loire Valley, Chateau Marmont is a fantastical folly in the land of make believe. While in residence you become part of a highly discriminating, international clientele desiring an experience at once luxurious and unique.

Chateau is the perfect co-conspirator; as Harry Cohn, founder of Columbia Pictures said in 1939, “If you must get in trouble, do it at the Chateau Marmont.” You can be yourself or, better yet, be whomever you want to be; don’t be surprised if your visit brings out your inner Howard Hughes, your Greta Garbo, your Jim Morrison. As public or private as you wish – there are those in residence who are desperate to be seen and others who choose to remain anonymous.The eccentric and highly personal history of the place, its luscious rich past, its tarnished patina are all part of the charm. This great castle on the hill is the set of a film waiting for someone to call action – this is the place where things happen. Checking in is like turning up in the middle of an ongoing party at a European country estate – there is always someone you know staying here. Mindful of its history – but always in the moment – it is contemporary as tomorrow morning – there is great comfort here. Sit in a wicker chair on the veranda writing post-cards imagining you are in an exotic outpost-far far away.

And when the dusk of evening settles, put on some smoky jazz and get lost – sink into the aphrodisiac of the deep couches, take your paramour on an elevator ride – at night everyone comes to Chateau Marmont – this is the pageant and parade that evening brings, they come for the martini, for the sex appeal, to make the deal–naughty or nice, everyone is your darling. And after hours – there is the Bar Marmont – an outpost for the foreign correspondent you’ve become – all hotel guests are insiders – there is no velvet rope here. You are on liberty, sabbatical, furlough from your familiar life, you feel the heat, the sweat, the late night lust that is LA. This is the place you can most be yourself and it is the only grand hotel you can call home.”- A.M Homes


Star Sightings: 0 Fedora Sightings: 5


Next stop…a visit to Julia’s fabulous Slim Aarons-inspired window for The Rug Company. Aaron’s iconic “Poolside Gossip” at the Kaufmann House  was reinterpreted 45 years after with the original models Helen Dzo Dzo and Nelda Linsk as “Poolside Reunion” by Palm Springs based photographer Fred Moser. Wife Kelly Lee of esteemed Kelly Golightly makes a cameo in the shot


With fab designers Holly Phillips, Julia Buckingham and Young Huh

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Amanda Reynal. Marisa Marcontonio and Joe Lucas

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Chad Graci, Fab photographer Sarah D’Orio, Danielle Rollins, and Bill Ingram

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Julia Carr Baylor and John Bossard

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Lindsay Fleege and Ellen Toler of Urban Electric

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Young Huh, Shaun Smith. Mercedes Desio, Alberto Villalobos

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Where is Julia? With Holly Phillips and Tami Ramsay

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Wit George Sellers, Julia Buckingham, and Bradley Clifford


WIth Charlotte talents Kathryn Dixon, Aida Saul and Holly Phillips


Design Trust Reunion with Sandra Lucas, Sarah Eilers, Mark Cutler and Julia Buckingham

Final stop….Soho House with gal pal Lizzie Wibbelsman of Holland & Sherry. A perfect end to a perfect day with all of my favorite people!

Soho House West Hollywood, Hollywood California.  Michaelis Boyd Architects.

Soho House West Hollywood, Hollywood California. Michaelis Boyd Architects.

Star/ Fedora Sightings: Boy George wearing a Fedora!


15 minutes of fame…attaching our mug shot to the photo wall!

For more of my design inspiration, please follow along on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and subscribe to Bespoke Banter. Thanks for reading and please come back again!

*Gala Photographs from JL Photography



Nathan Turner, Celerie Kemble, Joe Lucas, Windsor Smith, Nicky Haslam, Madeline Stewart Markham Roberts, Kathryn Ireland, Brian McCarthy

This time next week I will be headed west for my favorite design event of the year, LCDQ’s LEGENDS. The star studded line up includes so many amazing design icons. VIP Passes are sold out, but a few seats still remain at the Keynote Events. Don’t miss out on your chance to brush elbows with design royalty. See the schedule below and click here to make your reservations.

Untitled2To catch a glimpse of what to expect from these brilliantly talented, creative, hilarious and inspiring designers, be sure to watch the video below…

I am delighted to be an ambassador for this year’s LEGENDS event with all of these inspiring minds…Be sure to follow along on our design adventures next week!


Will Taylor of Bright Bazaar / London
Marisa Marcantonio of Stylebeat / New York
Paloma Contreras of La Dolce Vita / Houston
Holly Hollingsworth Phillips of The English Room / Charlotte, NC
Jennifer Boles of The Peak of Chic / Atlanta
Diane Dorrans Saeks of The Style Saloniste / San Francisco
Jeanne Chung of Cozy•Stylish•Chic / Los Angeles
Catherine M. Austin of Bespoke Banter / Charlotte, NC
Julie Carlson of Remodelista / San Francisco

For more of my design inspiration, please follow along on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and subscribe to Bespoke Banter. Thanks for reading and please come back again!