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The Best is Yet to Come
By Maile Pingel | Photo: Interior Photography by Sam Fros | Portrait by Robert Benson | February 2, 2017
A family home on Frank Sinatra’s former estate pays homage to its history with a smashing new house that hits all the right notes.
When a young, growing family outgrew staying with grandpa in Palm Springs and a nearby empty lot came on the market, the answer was clear: They would build their own vacation home. But it wasn’t just any old empty lot, it was part of the former Frank Sinatra estate in Rancho Mirage. Respecting the site’s pedigree, Orange County couple Kristin and Peter Taylor set about designing their dream home on the property, calling on Corona del Mar architect Eric Olsen, Showalter Construction in Costa Mesa and Newport Beach interior designer Brittany Stiles to help them create a house that could handle four little boys—and look good doing it.
“They were fantastic clients,” says Stiles of the project. “We worked a lot on the concept and feel but Kristin really let me do my thing.” The designer envisioned a fun, fashion-forward take on midcentury design, but one with an especially spirited vibe befitting a weekend and holiday home. “It’s a little bit like a boutique hotel, but it’s playful,” adds Stiles. “This is a second home, so it’s got to do a lot of things.” Most of the rooms’ designs started with wallpapers and fabrics, like the living room sofa’s floral pillows and the grass-cloth wallpaper in the master bedroom. “I love that shade of green [in the master]; it makes a huge statement,” Stiles notes. “We used fun colors and patterns throughout the home, but we used them all thoughtfully.” The result of that thoughtfulness is that the whole of the 3,200-square-foot home feels perfectly balanced. Key factors in tying the spaces together are the walnut cabinets built throughout the home by Newport Custom Woodworking and the fact that most of the rooms offer views, if not direct access, to the family-friendly landscape by Costa Mesa garden designer Molly Wood. “Each space has its own personality, but it’s all unified,” says Stiles.
“Her style was exactly what I wanted,” says Kristin, who found Stiles online and looked no further. “She was the first and only one I interviewed!” Kristin, a former wedding coordinator and now a stay at home mom, had, at first, thought she would handle the interiors, but she quickly felt overwhelmed by the task. “I just couldn’t think about doorknobs anymore. I couldn’t pick a couch,” she says with a laugh. “Brittany was never daunted, and I could see her excitement. She really became the bright side of it all.” The pair worked remotely (Stiles was based in L.A. at the time), but they would also meet at Orange County design centers to look at samples. “It was just so much fun,” recalls Kristin—a feeling that’s palpable in every room, from the entryway with its 6-foot mug shot of Sinatra (a surprise for Peter, a defense contractor, who had wanted to acknowledge the property’s previous owner in some way) to the architect’s signature floating mirrors in the bathroom to the kids’ room with bunk beds created by Peter, who built in a written memento for the boys. “We anticipate the kids coming here when they’re grown and bringing their own children,” says Kristin.
“It was the chance to create something really unique, something eclectic and contemporary,” adds Stiles, who is currently at work on a ground up-home on Bay Island in Newport Beach, along with several other Orange County projects. “Most clients love a presentation but start picking it apart. Kristin knew that changing one thing meant changing others. How much she trusted me made all the difference to this project.”
So how did the big reveal Stiles planned for the homeowners turn out? “We were in tears!” exclaims Kristin. “She just made it all come to life.”