Thomas Callaway helped his clients travel back in time. That is not a goal an interior designer is often called upon to achieve, but the Los Angeles–based Callaway managed to honor such a request to invoke the past by creating four related buildings on a single piece of property in Brentwood.
“The clients wanted to live in a home that made them feel they were embracing an earlier time period,” says Callaway. The resulting complex or compound of structures—a Spanish-style main house, a stone and stucco chapel, and two picturesque casitas—works as a kind of self-sustaining village. “Although these buildings are new, they feel like something from the past that have been kept and preserved,” he adds. “There is a prevailing sense of peace and quiet on the grounds, with the sounds of a dripping fountain, making it all seem like a park in the middle of Los Angeles.” While the clients were actively involved in the conception of the structures, inside and out, they did entrust Callaway to design, as he characterizes it, “every inch, every exterior, every interior, and every planting.”
The project began with the main dwelling, whose dramatic interior spaces evoke a California Mission house from centuries ago. Vaulted areas, coursed by massive stenciled beams and trusses, doorways topped with thick lintels, and a mix of European and Western and Southwestern furnishings work in consort to invoke the early life of California. “When you design something truly accurate to a period, in this case the early California Mission vernacular, it doesn’t become kitschy or cliché,” says Callaway. To accomplish some of the painterly techniques in evidence, he used what he refers to as “two of the greatest faux painters in America, Esther Carpenter and the now-late Garth Benton.”
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INTERIOR DESIGN AND ARCHITECTURAL PLANNING BY THOMAS CALLAWAY
PHOTOGRAPHY BY LISA ROMEREIN
WRITTEN BY DAVID MASELLO
This story appeared in the Winter 2019 issue of MILIEU.