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SOCAL STYLE / Home & Garden

From Bau Haus To Wow Haus

A Brentwood Home Warms Up To Its Canyon Setting

March 12, 2000|BARBARA THORNBURG

They were sitting on lawn chairs in their driveway having breakfast," recalls interior designer Thomas Beeton. The Hederers had brought in Beeton, along with architects and landscape designers Brian Tichenor and Raun Thorp, to redesign their Brentwood home. "That's where the sun was warmest," says Beeton by way of explanation.

The German-born couple--he's a car parts importer and she's a travel consultant--love Southern California's weather and its year-round gardening. However, their backyard, which faces a canyon, often proved too chilly to enjoy. "We could only use the backyard in the summertime, and even then it was often too cold at night to sit outside or entertain," says Angelika. "We wanted the garden to be part of our life," adds Hanns. "It's what living in Southern California is all about."

The pair fell in love in the mid-'70s with their Brentwood property, with its spectacular canyon views. A two-bedroom 1930s ranch house sat on the one-acre lot, surrounded by fruit orchards of avocado, apple, cherry and banana. Upon moving in, they remodeled the one-story home into a sleek two-story Modern. "It was our Bauhaus-with-leather-sofa period," says Angelika with a laugh, adding that after 25 years of living in a very modern home, they wanted something a bit warmer.

Thorp, of Tichenor & Thorp Architects in Beverly Hills, says the main emphasis was to create outdoor rooms. The three designers turned the existing garage into a new gym-meditation room and guest suite. Then they built a new garage adjacent to the original to form a U-shaped courtyard. To fully enclose the space, they added a 6-foot-high wall painted white, with an ebonized gate evocative of Japan. "We essentially created a new entrance to the home," says Thorp. "It's very private now, and the large space is protected from wind so they can entertain outside." But perhaps the most dramatic element of the new courtyard is the 12-by-20-foot terrace, just outside the living room, which has a fireplace and reflecting pond. "We extended the living room visually," says Beeton of the new outdoor room with its square-columned pergola and trellis. In the pond, jets gently sheet water over the sides of three large Asian urns, creating a soothing sound. Underfoot, a stained concrete floor evokes the mottled gray stone of a Roman temple. "We wanted the feeling of an open pavilion," explains Beeton.

Nearby, a bed of sun-loving plants--succulents and flax, crocosmia and helichrysum--adds a colorful backdrop for the courtyard, while chocolate and peppermint geraniums, rosemary and angel's trumpet perfume the garden. Giant kangaroo paws from western Australia flank the front door, adding drama and a splash of red. "They grew seven feet in 3 1/2 months," recalls Hanns, an avid gardener who is often found on weekends with a bottle of Miracle-Gro in his hands. "I'm still totally flabbergasted at how fast everything grows here--in Munich the ground would still be frozen."

Inside, the designers continued the warming trend by enhancing the living room with a palette of natural materials inspired by the beauty of the canyon setting. Ebonized-oak floors are swept by gauzy silk drapes. Madagascar grass cloth covers the walls, formerly a stark white. The newly enlarged foyer features a striking mahogany-and-oak-clad stairwell carpeted in a variegated sisal. On the floor, an African slate set in a random ashlar pattern adds rich, earthy texture.

Beeton selected an eclectic, global mix of furnishings for the house, incorporating family antiques with Asian pieces the couple love. In the dining room, a vintage George Nelson Bubble lamp hangs over Beeton's Directoire-style dining table, accompanied by Italian Modern chairs and a late-19th century Japanese chest. Upstairs in the master bedroom, he combined an antique Japanese screen, a mid-century Edward Wormley night table and a vintage Hermes leather lamp. A simple white mesh shade covers the corner window. "The idea of the interior furnishings came from the way Angelika dresses--mixing Hermes bags with slacks from the Gap," says Beeton. "She has this casual-elegant, European flair, and I wanted to reflect it in the house."

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A Few of Brian Tichenor and Raun Thorp's Favorite Things:

* Peach-colored angel's trumpet, for its luscious color and divine scent.

* Bronze-red Sharry Baby 'Sweet Fragrance' oncidium orchid --"for its delicious chocolate fragrance."

* Susan Orlean's "The Orchid Thief." "If you weren't obsessed with orchids before, you will be."

* J.C.N. Forestier's book "Jardins," for its richness of invention.

* Montecito's Casa del Herrero, for its brilliant plan and beautiful ornamentation.

* Villa Rufolo's open belvedere in Ravello, Italy--"a breathtaking, evocative garden element."

* Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons restaurant just outside Oxford, for its lush kitchen gardens.

* The Gardener's Multi Tool from Restoration Hardware--"It does everything but mow the lawn."

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