With the theme “Leonard Cohen in Greece” in mind, Mandy Cheng transformed a West Hollywood home into a Mediterranean-inspired destination, where vintage pieces and natural elements abound.
Photos by Madeline Tolle
Designing a space for two film industry insiders is tricky territory. As a former production designer,understands that when your day job is rooted in the fantastical, it’s only natural to crave some movie magic in your after-work life, as well.
“I was acutely aware that I was designing a space for people that fabricate imaginary worlds we see on the big screen,” the designer shares. “And I was tasked with creating a home that they would feel inspired by, and comfortable in every day.”
Mandy and her clients’ shared backgrounds served them as they established a direction for the West Hollywood living room and entryway.
“After our first meeting, as I was driving back to my office, I received an email that said, ‘I think if I had to name the style I have in my head, it’s like the luxe version of Leonard Cohen in Greece’,” Mandy recalls.
Informed by the house’s Mediterranean details, this theme feels just as at home in the couple’s West Hollywood abode as it did in Cohen’s whitewashed house on the Greek island of Hydra. Mandy instantly embarked down a rabbit hole researching old Greek residential architecture until she and her clients settled on an aesthetic that tilts more pared-down than opulent.
“Under different circumstances and clients, this space could be much more dressed up: wall sconces, baskets under the console table, a much more ornate or complex chandelier, non-white paint, and window treatments,” the designer explains. “Understanding that the client wanted a uniquely curated space that wasn’t overpowered by decor really drove the entire design.”
Mandy accentuated the space with carefully curated pieces, and selecting them quickly became an adventure of almost cinematic proportions. She and her clients looked at a minimum of 45 different tile patterns and colors before landing on a mosaic tile handmade in Tunisia, as well as a surrounding tile of French limestone laid in a herringbone pattern. The most time-consuming architectural feat in the design process, the tile traces the perimeter of both the living room and entryway and also serves as the inspiration for the room’s focal point: a custom, crescent-shaped blue couch in a plush blue velvet that lends the space a luxe, yet comfortable feel.
The redesign also came with an unexpected twist: the project spiraled into a full-gut renovation when the client requested the room be soundproofed. Mandy jumped on the opportunity to add texture to the walls and integrate a built-in media cabinet. She was equally as pleased to replace an eyesore of a wall vent with an ornate, black iron vintage vent cover.
Inspired by the hallmarks of old European homes, she also embraced natural elements, like wood and stone.
“I wanted the clients to feel like I brought the outside in, and then wrapped it in a luxurious blanket of different, beautiful textures,” she explains.
For the reclaimed wood floating shelves near the French doors, Mandy requested that her carpenter source thick, live edge pieces that mimic the heavy, structural build of shelves you might find in an older Mediterranean home, before the advent of power tools.
Mandy’s reverence for older Greek style led her to source a number of vintage pieces that fill each room with a warm, inviting feel and pull the space together. Each vintage piece—from the Soumak rug to the two framed blue and green textiles—feels like it was plucked from a timeworn Greek home and replanted here to begin its second life. Mandy’s favorite? The Bonacina hanging chair.
“It gives the space a sense of airiness and carries your eye up to the ceiling, seamlessly tying in the wood beams and pendant light,” Mandy shares. “If you squint and imagine the room without that chair, it feels completely different.”
A real scene-stealer if there ever was one.
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