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European Reverie

December 16, 1990|BARBARA THORNBURG

The rich patina of age glows from the rooms of designer Linda Chase's home. Wrought-iron Gothic-revival torchiers stand in front of terra-cotta-colored silk draperies bound with 19th-Century gold cords. An Old Master painting hovers over three clay putti standing atop a 18th-Century hand-painted Italian desk. It's an environment so steeped in the textures of the past that a colleague of Chase, seeing a photo of one of the rooms, asked which European country the house was in. He was startled to learn that he was looking at Chase's recently restored 1927 home in the Hollywood Hills.

Purchased a year-and-a-half ago, the house once belonged to a Canadian opera singer. "There was an existing fairy-tale quality to the house with its medieval weather vane, turreted roof line and small-paned windows: I just enhanced that magical quality," Chase explains. Letting the bones of the house guide her, she left it as undisturbed as possible. The woodwork remained untouched except for a lone living-room beam that was beyond repair: She painted it parchment and then embellished it with hand-painted cartouches. The major face lift for the house came in the multilayered paint scheme: It's the layers of paint that give the walls depth and opalescence. The living room, for example, takes its color from a parchment base diluted with an Italianate blue then tinted with three additional ochre glazes.

Against that backdrop, she's arranged an inspired collection of genuine antiques and reproductions. "I mix all kinds of things if I feel the effect is right," explains Chase, who works with clients worldwide and wrote the recently released book "In the Romantic Style." Armfuls of cut flowers and candles create a peaceful reverie--"a world," Chase says, "that's in a different point in time."

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