Caron Veazey’s classic Edward Fickett house in the Hollywood Hills gets a contemporary update.
As music manager to Pharrell Williams, Caron Veazey has often felt, as the performer sang in his hit song “Happy,” like a room without a roof. But when she purchased a midcentury home in the Nichols Canyon section of L.A.’s Hollywood Hills, she had no idea that she would literally be standing in one. “Our plan initially was to make a few adjustments, like opening up the kitchen a bit and combining two smaller bedrooms to make a large master suite,” she says of the 2,000-square-foot house, which was designed by celebrated Los Angeles architect Edward Fickett in the 1950s. What she and husband Lou Robinson didn’t know when they purchased the property was that the house had been slowly rotting away, requiring a yearlong renovation to address its structural damage. “We ended up taking the house down to the studs and essentially re-did everything.”
To do that, Pharrell hooked the couple up with New York architect Alexander Gorlin, who enlisted L.A. architect Dan Brunn to help rebuild and update the structure while remaining true to Fickett’s design. “The house wasn’t as cared for as it could have been,” says Gorlin. “The original house was remodeled at some point, so we wanted to bring it back to what it was,” adds Brunn. They collaborated on a floor plan that opened up spaces that had been previously closed off, including the kitchen, a small walled-in room that wasn’t conducive for contemporary entertaining. They also combined two of the house’s three bedrooms to create a serene master suite in the back of the house, adding storage and shifting the third bedroom-slash-office to the space once occupied by a pair of closets.
But perhaps the most transformational improvement came with the restructuring of said roof and the addition of windows throughout the property—a skylight in the master suite, triangular clerestory windows in the kitchen, and a wall of sliding doors in the living room that open to the pool and patio area—creating a light-box effect that informed everything from the flooring to the upholstery. “We knew we wanted to keep it light and bright,” says Veazey, who wished for a completely different feel from her apartment in New York and designed the interiors herself with an eye toward warm minimalism. “Sometimes too much white can feel austere,” she says, “so we contrasted with maple wood accents, gray quartz countertops in the kitchen, and varied textures in the living area and meditation nook.” Veazey also peppered in vintage and custom furnishings for a one-of-a-kind look. “Our custom couch from Croft House is one of my favorite pieces,” she says. “It’s the anchor for the living area.”
The result is a home that honors its past as much as its present, maintaining historic roots while providing contemporary comfort. “Although the house is a midcentury, I didn’t go with purist midcentury decor; eclectic is more our vibe,” says Veazey. Though the couple’s work takes them across the world for much of the calendar year, the house has become an inviting refuge during off days. “Our home is very relaxed and calming,” she says. “I feel super peaceful as soon as I walk in the door.” And probably a little happy, no doubt.
Article originally posted on Architectural Digest on March 28, 2018.