A Mid-Century Gem Gets a Family-Friendly Makeover

Designer Hillary Thomas applies her chic aesthetic to a client's enviable home.

The living room's rich, soothing palette brings the home's verdant surroundings indoors. 
The living room's rich, soothing palette brings the home's verdant surroundings indoors. 
Photography by Patrick Cline. Original text by Robert Leleux.
Designer Hillary Thomas. 
Designer Hillary Thomas. 

When people think about life in Los Angeles," says designer Hillary Thomas, "they forget about neighborhoods like Rustic Canyon. It's a wonderful place to raise a family." The mid-century modern home that Thomas decorated for a single mother of three appears tucked into a lush forest of sycamore and eucalyptus trees, and boasts the kind of low, graceful architecture that's as suited to after-school playdates as it is to candlelit cocktail parties. "This style of house can have very masculine connotations," says the designer. "Tom Ford even filmed parts of A Single Man nearby. But we chose to emphasize its softer elements.

Top left: The exterior of the mid-century home in Rustic Canyon. Top right: With a subtle blend of patterns and textures, the living room takes on a multilayered dimensinoality. Bottom left: By creating a series of conversational nooks, the designer created an inteiror that's ideal for entertaining. 
Top left: The exterior of the mid-century home in Rustic Canyon. Top right: With a subtle blend of patterns and textures, the living room takes on a multilayered dimensinoality. Bottom left: By creating a series of conversational nooks, the designer created an inteiror that's ideal for entertaining. 

Thomas, cofounder of Chic Shop, a spirited purveyor of cheery, mid-century treasures, was the ideal choice to lend a feminine touch to the home's Mad Men-era design. "The whole idea behind Chic Shop is to pay tribute to our grandmothers," she says, the sort of high-style doyennes that Slim Aarons loved to photograph, the kind of ladies who served cocktails at five."

Period-appropriate pieces throughout the home provide wit, sparkle, and sophistication. 
Period-appropriate pieces throughout the home provide wit, sparkle, and sophistication. 
A Mid-Century Gem Gets a Family-Friendly Makeover

It was this spirit of old-school civility that Thomas sought to evoke in her client's Rustic Canyon residence. Through a careful series of fabric and color selections, the designer brought warmth to the house's cool lines. In the light-filled living room, for instance, she covered sleek, modern furnishings in cream-colored wools and mossy green velvets. For the walls of the master bedroom, Thomas opted for a richly textured grass cloth and upholstered the bed in a soothing pink Jim Thompson textile.

Thomas delighted in the home's mid-century amenities, such as its swank bar closet. The dining room's elegantly understated decor is accentuated by a lush succulent centerpiece and sculptural pendant lights. 
Thomas delighted in the home's mid-century amenities, such as its swank bar closet. The dining room's elegantly understated decor is accentuated by a lush succulent centerpiece and sculptural pendant lights. 

And throughout the house, Thomas contributed dashes of the vintage-inspired flair for which she celebrated, such as the bar closet's zebra-printed Scalamandre and the asymmetrical reading nook she fashioned from one of the house's deep, angular windows. "Our client wanted to create a real home for her family," says Thomas. "She found a fabulous house. And at every opportunity, we underscored its elegance and poise."

In the master bedroom, Thomas created a mid-century-inspired cocoon. 
In the master bedroom, Thomas created a mid-century-inspired cocoon. 
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