This Eclectic L.A. Home Harks Back To Old Hollywood
Think orange trees and Lucille Ball's country house.
As strange as it might sound, it's not all that unusual to keep chickens in L.A. In fact, Eliza Gran has a whole brood.
"We have about 15 chickens in all different shapes and sizes," explains the textile designer. "Currently, there's two geese, a turkey, and a very old duck staying with us. It’s a very peaceable kingdom."
"We moved from the Venice Canals where we had a tiny cottage but no real outdoor space," Gran says. "Now we sit on an acre of land on the oldest block in The Valley, which is strangely zoned as agricultural. Everyone on our block, including us, keeps a lot of animals."
The expansive property boasts a whopping 3400 square feet and six double bedrooms. With its soaring angled ceilings and white terrace doors, the restored English Tudor lends itself to a European aesthetic, harking back decades before the city below was blanketed in smog. Gliding through Gran's airy home, it's easy to forget that downtown L.A. is a mere 40 minutes away — an hour if you're stuck in traffic. Roaming through the garden, you half expect someone to pop out from behind a tree with a pitcher of freshly squeezed orange juice.
"Our home is part of the original San Fernando Mission, so there are tons and tons of beautiful, huge old orange trees," Gran explains. "We also grow tangerines, grapefruits, lemons, grapes, figs, and pomegranates. In the '50s, this was where all the celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, and Pearl Bailey had their country houses — so the house is really spacious and open."
Inside, bursts of color decorate the bleach white walls. Vintage records, stacks of worn novels, and leafed through magazines add character and charm, while vintage rugs layer the floor. Recovered gems and furniture salvaged from estate sales and trips abroad provide personality to the designer's home, situated in a leafy little neighborhood that feels so very far away from it all.
As a textile designer, Gran feels most at home when surrounded by colorful things. While her home is awash in Benjamin Moore's Decorator's White, there's an almost art gallery aesthetic. A refined, clean approach to color, texture, and form, and a thoughtfully pared back restraint is something Gran has perfected over the years. A mere five minutes inside her home and it shows.
"I really don’t travel all that much, although I’m glad it looks like I do," she admits. "Some things in my house were found in other countries, but most I either inherited from my parents or found at thrift shops or estate sales. The best part of living in The Valley is the estate sales — I’m obsessed."
It's difficult to describe Gran's home without first calling out the sheer scale of it. Six large bedrooms, complete with private quarters and double french doors trickle out onto green, grassy lawns. There's a long, Italian-style shared table — sourced via Design With Reach — holding pride of place under one of the aforementioned citrus trees, decorated with red CB2 dining chairs.
Upon entry, living areas maximize space with angled ceilings and flooded skylights. Japanese woodblock prints — dating back to the '50s and collected by her father during his time in the U.S. Navy — sit perched on the mantle. A vintage Baldwin piano and a small stool, that once sat inside the Condé Nast office at 4 Times Square, are steeped with family history. Floor lamps by IKEA cozy up to Peruvian wall-hangings, original posters, and reupholstered armchairs plucked from the streets of Brooklyn. Furniture rendered in everything from rattan to sheepskin and buttery soft leather complete Gran's overall vibe, while sun-soaked reading nooks call out for a midday martini and an old record.
"Our living room has a ton of books, high ceilings, a fireplace, and lots of art and plants, so I guess that’s where I’m happiest," Gran explains. "I can’t imagine steering clear of color, but I do believe in reining it in a little bit and I’m constantly editing myself, when I go too crazy."
"There is no blue in the living room, only bright colors in the kitchen, and a sense of calm in the master bedroom. It's all very basic, but you do need a few rules." Born and raised in Brooklyn, the daughter of a New York City architect, Gran admits she's forever fusing the best bits of her childhood home with her slow burning love affair with SoCal style.
"I’ve been a designer for about 25 years," Gran says. "The pom-pom baskets began when I first moved from New York to California and seemed to fit in well with my beachy Venice lifestyle at the time. They sold like hotcakes for about three years. However, they’ve now been copied by just about every company in the universe so we eventually stopped selling them in 2017."
With plans to release a new line of home furnishings in the very near future, there's inspiration at every turn at home with Gran. In the kitchen — a space that the designer admits fits the "hippie-Martha Stewart-meets-homestead-type" aesthetic — chickens roam and the smell of fresh cut herbs and veggies fills the air.
"I’ve always dreamt of having a garden and growing my own vegetables and having lots of citrus trees," explains Gran. "We trade eggs with our neighbors for kumquats and persimmons. It really is a great way to live. I also love my houseplants — I used to not be so good at keeping indoor plants alive but there are so many great resources now, it’s hard to fail."
Chili red bar stools by CB2 pop against the white-washed kitchen counter and cabinetry, while Le Creuset decorates the stovetop. Gran's is a kitchen that's readily in use, that much is obvious, whether she's pickling, preserving, or prepping fruits and vegetables foraged from her own backyard or trading homegrown produce with the neighbors.
"A lazy day, for me, is very domestic," she admits. "That usually means never leaving the house. I'll gather eggs, pick flowers, fruit and herbs, and make something delicious and organic — like preserved lemons or pickled grapes." Gran's bright Northridge retreat feels more like a country home for tired movie stars or crooners craving a change of pace. Despite its scale, the space feels wholesome, old-world, and deliciously warm. The designer is quick to admit that although she feels like she lives out in the country, almost all of her neighbors work in the movie business. "I guess that's very L.A.," she adds.
It's this artful blend of family treasures, accessible finds, and verified vintage gold that makes Gran's home quintessentially eclectic and hard to pigeon hole. "I really am trying to buy only used things from now on," she says, matter-of-factly. "I really believe there is too much crap out there and I really don’t want to contribute to the never-ending cycle of buying brand new furniture only to get rid of it after a couple of years. Plus, I definitely prefer vintage over new things. Some of my favorites are from yard sales or even the garbage. I love nothing more than finding good garbage."
Among the best of the garbage, recycled and rehoused rugs, sourced everywhere from Craigslist to eBay are given new purpose. In the bedrooms, each as personalized and unique as the next, vintage credenzas and family artwork, assorted vases, and pinned photography are testament to Gran's refreshingly authentic outlook on what it means to possess true style — in spades.
"I love to mix up patterns that you wouldn’t normally put together but I actually don’t like too many different patterns in one space," she adds. "I love a graphic vintage Marimekko print with a small scale Indian textile, alongside a neutral texture like rattan or a cane basket. You have to throw some solids in there — like black — and neutrals, or it starts to look too chaotic."
"I just gather stuff and keep moving it around until it works," Gran explains. "I need to have pretty things wherever I look, that’s really my only design philosophy."
Chaos — at its prettiest — is managed with artistry throughout Gran's home. But as any avid green thumb might tell you, there's always room to grow — both inside and out.
"Our outdoor space is a work in progress," she says. "It was a mess when we bought the property a year-and-a-half ago and we are only now planting as much as we can. We love eating outside with the dogs and the chickens running around. We are building an outdoor pizza oven, and I want to start a mini farm — maybe a lavender farm. Maybe I could even start growing artichokes."