“Clean lines with not an arch or a column in sight” was the directive given to Anna Kimmel by a Los Angeles power couple who had tasked her with creating their dream home. After two decades of living in a traditional-style Bel Air mansion, Gracie and David Fermelia, the COO of an investment management firm and a surgeon, respectively, were ready for a change.
It was time, they decided, to say goodbye to the ornate flourishes of their past in favor of a sleeker aesthetic more suited to their rapidly evolving tastes. The couple purchased land in the city’s Brentwood neighborhood, and hired Kimmel, the principal designer at Finley Grace Design. “They wanted a home that was modern, but because they come from a close-knit Greek family and often host their two nieces, it also had to feel warm and inviting,” says Kimmel, who spent the next four years working closely with the Fermelias, both passionate about design; the architect Steve Giannetti; and RT Abbott Constructionto bring this vision to life.
“We wanted to use Old-World materials that would provide texture and patina,” says Kimmel, “but we didn’t want the house to feel like it had been picked up out of the Italian countryside and dropped in L.A.” The solution? Taking warm, rustic materials, like hand-plastered walls and rubble stone, and giving them polished, uniform finishes that look fresh and modern.
When it came to the furniture, Kimmel was inspired by the couple’s fashion choices. “Opening their closet revealed a monochromatic sea of edgy black clothing,” she recalls. Kimmel drew upon their wardrobe to create a masculine, sophisticated aesthetic—think highly lacquered surfaces, leather-fronted case goods, and patinated bronze finishes, softened by layers of luxurious mohair, parchment and long-pile wool rugs.
Selected with painstaking care, each and every piece in the house feels like a work of art. (Not to mention the gorgeous art itself, chosen with the help of consultant Tiffiny Lendrum.) Take, for example, the show-stopping Hervé Van der Straeten light fixture, a mass of interlocking loops that hangs in the dining room. “It was a challenge trying to balance so many curated pieces in one space without it resulting in an art gallery feel,” says Kimmel. “But ultimately, the time and collaboration that went into each decision resulted in a truly unique and stunning space that feels like home.”
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