Step Inside This Old-Meets-New Beverly Hills Home by AD100 Designer Billy Cotton

While classic Spanish-style houses in Los Angeles have much to recommend them, the qualities of youthful joy and bright airiness are not generally considered their primary attributes. In fact, quite the opposite. These homes traditionally exude an aura of gravitas, underscored by heavy beams, dark wood, chunky plaster, and wrought-iron architectural details. Film producer Grace Morton had grown up in L.A. admiring the city’s rich trove of Spanish-influenced residences, so when it came time to find a suitable home for her and her fiancé, fellow film producer Matthew Budman, she naturally gravitated to a house in the Spanish Colonial Revival style. Somber interiors, however, were not part of the plan.

Vintage Tarcisio Colzani chairs join a Billy Cotton sofa covered in Schumacher fabric in the family room. Photograph by Norm Clasen.

“I always loved the soulful vibe and sense of history in Spanish-style homes. I was definitely not looking for new construction or anything aggressively modern,” Morton explains. “But Matt and I are both young, and we wanted something more attuned to our energy and lifestyle. So we decided to lean into those contradictory impulses and accentuate the contrast.”

After locating a 1927 house with the appropriate style and scale in Beverly Hills, Morton engaged AD100 designer Billy Cotton, who had recently renovated her father’s country home in East Hampton, to help plumb the tension between the structure’s historic bones and the sprightly, colorful decor she imagined. “Grace has genuinely adventurous style. She grew up with serious art and design, and she has traveled extensively. Villa Borsani near Milan and Yves Saint Laurent’s home in Marrakech were two of the touchstones for this project. Our challenge was to weave all these divergent threads together in a way that felt easy and unpretentious,” Cotton says of his assignment.

Pierre Chapo chairs pull up to a Green River Project table in the dining room. Painting by Josh Smith.

Wallpaper by artist Alvaro Barrington wraps the breakfast room.

Rejecting the dark, brooding furniture endemic to many Spanish-style dwellings, Cotton and Morton outfitted the home with a broad range of pedigreed yet casual pieces by the likes of Mario Bellini, Gio Ponti, Pierre Chapo, Charlotte Perriand, and Paavo Tynell. The capacious living room, where a suite of low-slung vintage Bellini seating covered in sunshine-yellow velvet floats on a massive Moroccan carpet, perhaps best exemplifies the fresh, breezy spirit of the transformed home. “Billy and I had a big debate over the beams and ceiling. I wanted to leave the wood exposed, but Billy insisted that we should paint it all white. I knew I had to trust him, and I’m happy I did. The room feels fun and flooded with light, perfect for hanging out with friends,” Morton says.

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