M.K. Quinlan: This Spanish bungalow is about half the size of your former home in Beverly Hills. Why did you downsize?
Wade: We realized that 6,000 square feet was too much space for just the two of us! Dave and I wanted something that felt a little more human in scale. We had looked for a long time and knew we wanted to be in the Bird Streets — a neighborhood in the Hollywood Hills where the streets have names like Oriole, Nightingale, and Blue Jay Way. And actually, we looked at this house five or six times, wondering if we were crazy enough to buy it. It was in really bad shape and was very dark and gloomy inside. But what’s amazing is that it cascades seven stories down the side of a hill and has incredible views of Hollywood from each level. It reminded us of Italy — specifically Positano, where we go almost every year. We spent six months painting and refinishing every inch of the house — inside and out — before we moved in.
What were your tricks for letting the light in?
The foyer was closed off behind an awkward half height wall. We removed it, and now, when you enter the house, you can see straight through to the dining room and the French doors to the balcony outside. It helped to circulate light throughout the space. Many of the rooms are small, but we have a large collection of art. To display it, we opted for a simple backdrop: furniture in neutral linens, sea-grass rugs, and White Dove paint. When we moved, we shipped a 40-foot trailer of objects and furniture to my family in Oregon. But even still, we had so much stuff! The challenge was displaying everything in a way that didn’t feel overwhelming.
As a creative director for fashion and home brands — you’ve worked for companies like and — I’d say you were the right man for the job.
My goal is to put things together in a way that tells a story, whether it’s about a certain color or a theme. I am constantly moving things around and refining. In every room, I laid all the art out on the floor and planned where and how everything would be hung before I nailed a single piece onto the wall. Even our books are organized by color! I designed the guest bedroom around our collection of red books, art, and accessories. The shelving in the breakfast room was built to showcase our Astier de Villatte ceramics from Paris, which we’ve been collecting for 15 years.
Quite a lot of your art and antiques — like that grand four-poster bed in the guest room — was purchased in London. Are you Anglophiles?
We travel there frequently. Our favorite shop is Guinevere Antiques in Chelsea. Both Dave and I are attracted to simple pieces with scale and masculinity. I don’t like things too old lady! The master bathroom was designed to have the ambience of a gentlemen’s hotel in London. We added traditional wainscoting and wallpapered it in a Phillip Jeffries raffia that we keep coming back to. The oil paintings are from Brenda Antin’s gallery here in Los Angeles. I often opt for large-scale paintings in a bathroom. The formality is unexpected, and it reminds me of Blakes, one of the best boutique hotels in London.
So the bath is formal, but meanwhile, the pool room is downright playful!
This room is literally four feet away from the pool and has incredible views. It’s like everyone’s dream of Los Angeles! We collect a lot of blue-and-white dishware, and we wanted to display it. It works really well here with the bright blue-and-green palette. I wanted the space to feel like it could be in a Slim Aarons photograph — to capture that whimsical 1950s or ’60s attitude. And with the room’s high ceilings, it is an amazing place to showcase our more colorful art. When I hang a gallery wall, I always like to mix horizontal and vertical images so the collection doesn’t seem too repetitive. I also try to leave a similar distance between each piece. For frames, it’s all about having a mix of woods and metals, wide and narrow.But really, an art wall shouldn’t be too regimented. You want to be able to move pieces around if you feel like it, to create new juxtapositions or just change things out.
Isn’t that sofa a little dressy for a pool room?
We bought that sofa 25 years ago and have re-covered it four times — it’s now in a forgiving and sturdy cotton. It’s indestructible. We entertain here all the time, and we decorate it like any other living space, with layers of books, textiles, and art. The important thing is that we are surrounded by the things we love, and that every room in our house feels like home.
This story originally appeared in the December/January 2018 issue of CQ.