Photographed by Ye Rin Mok
It was Marysia Dobrzanska Reeves’s daughter, then nine years old, who first spotted the ultramodern Venice, California, house that would become their family’s home. “We were walking along when she pointed and said, ‘Mommy, let’s go look at that!’” Reeves recalls. The sleek, angular, David Hertz–designed house was just as high-tech as you’d imagine, with each floor’s ceiling acting as a speaker—perfect for its previous owner (a musician), but slightly less conventional for a family with young children and pets. “The challenge,” says Reeves’s interior designer, Martha Mulholland, “was to work with what was already there—this really cool contemporary house—and make it suitable for a SoCal family that wanted something beachy and earthy.” Spoiler: She pulled it off.
A designer herself, Reeves—who is the creator of the high-fashion swim and clothing line Marysia—knows good style. Before hiring Mulholland, she frequented The Apartment by The Line on Melrose Place, which is Vanessa Traina Snow’s shoppable concept boutiqueset up as a fully furnished apartment. “I kept going back and buying things until the guy finally said, ‘Do you want the designer’s name?’ and so I called Martha,” she remembers. When Mulholland got to work on Reeves’s open-plan house, she realized she needed to carve out intimate spaces in order to create coziness. In one particularly creative use of space on a wide landing, a curtain creates a bedroom for Reeves’s daughters. There are soft outdoor benches and cushy reading nooks; even the dining room feels comfortable and welcoming. “Marysia’s home is very spare, so it was about finding pieces to warm it up and give it that bohemian feel.” Careful not to go too rustic, Mulholland incorporated enough modern elements (like iron legs on rattan chairs) to tie everything in with the rest of the house.
Incredibly, Mulholland did not buy a single item online. “Every piece in the house is local, which was a real challenge but also fun,” she says. “Fortunately, L.A. has everything imaginable.” She brought in options from local vendors—sofas and dining chairs and rugs galore, many antiques, from stores like Hammer and Spear, Stahl + Band, JF Chen, and Orange—then she and Reeves spent a day sitting, testing, and swapping things out. “Marysia knows what she likes,” Mulholland says, “but like many people, she’s very busy, so the timeline was tough.” Going 100 percent local allowed Mulholland to dodge annoyances like disappointment and returns. (Who among us hasn’t, say, opened a box to find that celery-toned pillow you ordered more closely resembles wilted lettuce?) “Sometimes,” Mulholland says, “you just need to see it.” She also had to consider the light, another great perk of L.A. living, which is abundant in the home that Reeves and her family call the “glass house.” Mulholland wanted to let it all in, to capitalize on the way it hits furniture and creates sculptural elements. “With a modern design and plenty of natural colors and textures,” Mulholland says, “it’s a place where you can walk in after a long day and be at peace.”
“Art should be personal,” says Reeves of her favorite piece featured in the living room, along with the Plank Armchair and Plank Sofa by Michael Boyd Studio for Hammer and Spear. Every piece in the home is locally sourced in Los Angeles, a challenge that Mulholland and Reeves eagerly accepted.
A ceiling-to-floor window brightens the master bedroom, which features a wall sconce by Serge Mouille and a Gio Ponti mirror from The Apartment by The Line (the same store where Reeves first discovered her love of Mulholland’s style).
“I loved not having to do much to this house,” says Reeves, an acclaimed swimwear designer with her own eye for style. Behind her hangs a large driftwood mobile she found on her own, which Mulholland incorporated into the dining area.
“The dining room is the perfect expression of the house working: It has an airy, modern feel with earthy materials,” says Mulholland. Pictured here are dining chairs by Carlo Graffi and Franco Campo that mix rattan and iron.
Behind a custom Japanese elm dining table made by Dos Gallos, a 5G hanging shelf by Jonathan Nesci—the pair a prime example of Mulholland’s ability to blend modern and rustic elements.
In a creative and effective use of space, a wide landing became the children’s bedroom. It’s partitioned off by a curtain, with the beds backing up to one another to save space (which turned out to be a fun arrangement for the kids).
The playroom features Le Farfalle chairs by Lo Design in a comfortable and cheerful space. Mulholland was careful to pick pieces that were practical for family life.
Mulholland was challenged to carve out spaces for a family in the home’s preexisting open plan, such as this peaceful nook on one side of the children’s bedroom featuring a Te-Ve Chair by Alf Svensson for Ljungs.
Naturally toned stools, baskets, and frames in this section of the children’s play area instill warmth.
Designed by David Hertz and decorated by Martha Mulholland, the home features numerous outdoor spaces that echo the vibe of the home’s interior: Contemporary design mixes with natural elements from local vendors, like these Ellipse chairs by Stahl + Band.
“I wanted to create peacefulness through color and texture, so that meant using lots of natural materials,” says Mulholland, who also made sure that surfaces were durable and easy to wipe down (essential for life with kids and pets).
“Lots of people come to L.A. for the light,” says Mulholland, who embraced the brightness of the Reeves family’s home, using light throughout the house as a design element.