For art adviser, Will Kopelman, the peaceful California retreat is a perfect reflection of his tastes and passions.
This article originally appeared in the March 2015 issue of Architectural Digest.
“I wanted to create a space that is a completely unfiltered expression of my aesthetic,” says Kopelman, a notably dashing dresser—think Rat Pack raiment accented by perfectly folded white handkerchiefs—who advises high-profile collectors from the Bay Area to London. “It’s my own personal bubble of peace.”
Judging by the suite’s felicitous flourishes and architectural details—all conceived by the man himself—Kopelman’s aesthetic is idiosyncratic and adventuresome. Located off the master bedroom and entered by way of a door upholstered in tufted suiting fabric, the lair is a tripartite space, divided into an office, bath, and dressing room, each with its own distinct personality. “Will is not a snob, but he knows quality,” says actress Gwyneth Paltrow, a longtime friend. “I’ve been on a mission to get him to start his own design firm.”
The office is luminous and skylit, with a beamed ceiling and beadboard walls as white as the glossy epoxy-resin floor. In a bit of decorative chiaroscuro, Kopelman accented the pristine setting with well-worn vintage leather armchairs and robust dark-wood furnishings. The magisterial bookcase holds scores of artist monographs as well as special mementos: a pre-Columbian artifact that was a gift from his father, Arie, a former president of Chanel; a Campbell’s soup can, autographed by Andy Warhol, from a dinner party his grandmother attended; and a baseball signed “To Willy, Best Wishes, Willie Mays,” which he received at age five. As for the Ed Ruscha painting with the words KILLER INSTINCT on it, it has a personal relevance too. Notes the artist, “Will thinks and acts like a true gentleman, but, as his wife says, he has a killer instinct.”
The office’s showpiece, however, is an art gesture on a much larger scale—a full-size reproduction (nearly eight by 12 feet) of John Singer Sargent’s ecstatic ode to Spanish Gypsy music and dance, El Jaleo, the original of which hangs in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. “I love the sense of motion and fluidity in the picture,” Kopelman says, shortly before pointing out that his stunning simulacrum is actually a magnetic bulletin board.
Highly polished French mahogany doors lead to the bath and the clubby dressing room. The latter boasts black-lacquer cabinetry and millwork punctuated by brass hardware. A niche hosts an antique taxidermy ram’s head that once cast its glassy gaze across an English hunting lodge; now mounted among Kopelman’s tailored jackets and French-cuff shirts, it underscores the room’s masculine élan.
The bath, meanwhile, looks like a set piece from Grand Hotel, the celebrated 1932 movie that costarred John Barrymore, Drew’s grandfather. Sheathed in elaborately veined brown marble and illumined by a faux skylight of milky glass, the space features a wood-paneled tub and a shower enclosure that resembles a gilded cage. (It was fabricated from Art Deco steel doors that Kopelman backed with glass.) One can easily picture Mr. Barrymore or some other Tinseltown boulevardier taking a soak here while puffing on a Montecristo and fielding phone calls from cooing starlets and demanding producers.
“They really understood sophistication in those days,” Kopelman avers. “There’s an element of cinematic fantasy in the bath’s design, but I tried to evoke a certain mood without resorting to clichés or cartoonish gestures.”
One might reasonably wonder what Kopelman’s wife makes of her husband’s exceptionally smart sanctuary. “I was awestruck when he finally showed the space to me. It was so beautiful and modern, in a completely unexpected way that is pure Will,” Barrymore says. “I actually cried—partly because it’s so much nicer than my bath, which looks like something from an old folks’ home, and partly because it was finally done after nearly three years.”
To be fair, the protracted construction was a stop-and-go affair dictated by the couple’s part-time life in New York City and their children’s arrivals: Olive is two, and Frankie was born last April. “I was less concerned with the timeline than with getting everything exactly as I wanted it,” Kopelman says, adding that the finished suite pays daily dividends in comfort, delight, and domestic harmony. If good fences make good neighbors, as poet Robert Frost once wrote, then surely separate baths make for happy marriages.
For more information about this blog Click Here!