This weekend marks the opening of the Greystone Mansion Designer Showcase House in which 25 of Southern California’s top interior designers transform the 56,000 square foot Tudor estate with “The Titans of Business and the Best of Design”, as inspiration for their design.

The designer, Laura Schwartz-Muller

This past Tuesday was “Press Day” and I had the pleasure of stopping by Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills to visit with my friend, Laura Schwartz-Muller, principal and founder of Four Point Design + Construction, who transformed the upstairs kitchen, “La Petite Cuisine” with her beloved Titan, Julia Child as inspiration.  Growing up in Pasadena (which happens to be Julia’s hometown), I have walked into many similar kitchens in my lifetime, but none that captured the essence of Julia as Laura’s did.  Her design was a throwback to the home’s 1920s past with a twist of modern.  A little bit industrial and a tad bit of understated glamour.  Just like Julia would have designed her own kitchen if she were alive today.

“…shades of lovely French dove and blue-grey; deep blue-graphite; and creamy off-white.  Utilizing new and antique industrial pieces in brushed stainless, bronze metal, and burnt brass blended with the original 1920s hardware, which has since become blissfully graced with a dark bronze patina.  Tying it all  together will be textures such as linen, wood…and of course there will be a few surprises!” -Laura Schwartz-Muller, Allied ASID

Entering into the space, I immediately felt Julia’s presence in the kitchen.   Laura even included Julia’s beloved range of choice, the La Cornue Château in her kitchen, which would not have been possible without the help and kindness of Eric Remmer of Purcell Murray, the US Distributor of La Cornue.  A chance run in at Westedge Design Fair less than four weeks ago brought the two together and they hit it off immediately!  As you may remember, I wrote about La Cornue in my post on high end kitchens at Westedge and the exact matte black La Cornue Château 120 range that you see pictured in Laura’s kitchen is also pictured in the photos I included on Westedge.

Laura had a big challenge on her hands, as she was not allowed to alter the original kitchen.  She simply floated the wood paneling and wood countertops to cover the dated tile and built everything up and out.  Once the show is over, she will remove everything that was installed to restore the kitchen to its original state.

Because pictures will be published in a top shelter magazine in the upcoming months, I am only allowed to publish vignettes of the room to whet your appetite and will be revisiting the room in all its glory after the NewYear and going over it in more detail. You can always visit the show house until November 24 if you can’t wait that long!

Eric and Laura in front of the La Cornue Château 120
The original “ice box”
Laura’s fellow ASID LA member, Allan Dallatorre, fresh from his launch of Hinge Decor, designed pillows specifically for Laura’s space at Greystone.
Julia Child with Laura Schwartz-Muller’s mother at her graduation from culinary school

There is much more to see in person, as “La Petite Cuisine” is only one of the many fabulous rooms on display.  In addition are rooms inspired by Jim Henson, Creator of the Muppets, John Jacob Astor, William Rancolph Hearst, and Coco Chanel, to name a few.  Greystone Mansion will be open to the public from November 2-24 from 10am-3 pm.  Visit Design House International for tickets and details.

A Little Bit of Greystone History: 

Greystone Mansion was built in 1927 by oil tycoon Edward L. Doheny for his son and only heir, Ned and his young family.  Since 1976, Greystone has been recognized as a historic landmark on the national registry of Historic Places and has been a site for numerous motion picture and television shoots.  The spectacular 56,000 square foot Tudor estate has quite a bit of history that comes along with it, as less than 6 months after the Dohenys moved into Greystone, it was the site of a scandalous murder-suicide that to this day, leaves many questions unanswered.  The New York Social Diary tells the story, but one can only wonder what actually happened on that fateful night.  With the mansion’s thick limestone walls, slate roof, intricately carved wood doors, it is no wonder why rumor has it that Greystone is haunted.

As I was leaving for the day, a few of us gathered outside the kitchen to chat, where we caught a few whiffs of a faint lavender/lilac scent traveling through the space.  It was there, then it was gone.  It has been said that a spirit of a lingering woman is seen wandering the halls with the scent of lilac perfume. I am the biggest wimp when it comes to ghosts and the paranormal, so I attribute it to the scented oil sticks and open window in the adjacent room, but I could be wrong…