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STYLE : INTERIORS : Moroccan Mirage

January 02, 1994|SUSAN HEEGER

With its sugar-white walls, arched windows and chopped parapets, this Silver Lake house might look right at home in Morocco. But its zany mosque-style dome and minarets give it away as the kind of revival folly popular in 1920s Los Angeles.

John Copeland, who bought the place in 1989, was drawn to its Old California spirit and its elements of Islamic design. Indoor and outdoor rooms flow together like the patterns in a Persian rug, offering privacy and freedom. Wishbone doorways frame sweeping views, and French doors flood the house with natural light.

Having acquired the house in a dilapidated state, Copeland, executive director of the Virginia Robinson Gardens in Beverly Hills, has meticulously restored tiled walls and beamed ceilings. He has also added tile to fireplaces and kitchen cabinets, and hand-painted decorative borders around doors and at the base of stairways.

To furnish his ornate aerie, Copeland began with his collection of vintage California pottery. Over time, he has added flea-market finds, such as inlaid Moroccan tables and old Persian and Turkish rugs, which he restores himself. "Character, age and history are very important to me," he says. "Even with all the humor of this house, it harks back to the reign of centuries-old Islamic architecture. That's an inspiration in itself."

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