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INNER LIFE

Fashionably extreme

If house and owner can be kindred spirits, then clothing designer Sue Wong and her gloriously restored Cedars estate were destined to find each other.

October 12, 2006|Valli Herman | Times Staff Writer

What Wong didn't hold in her vivid memory she compiled into 12 volumes of resources, prices and estimates. "I'm very systematic and organized," says the designer, who creates 500 dress designs each of five seasons a year.

"There wasn't much time to devote to this," says Wong, who runs the business with her son, Josh Homann, 29, and Raabe. "I did it with stolen moments."

Having now built the Sue Wong label into a worldwide enterprise, she's exploring licensing deals to create designer furnishings.

"Sue has this innate desire to create three-dimensional items as her art," says artist and friend Jayme Odgers. "This house has brought her to a really high level. It's so her. She's a diva."

Many in Wong's inner circle, particularly Raabe, came to understand that the house isn't a vanity project but a new application of her fashion design abilities.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday November 18, 2006 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 2 inches; 105 words Type of Material: Correction
Sue Wong's estate: An Oct. 12 Home section article about fashion designer Sue Wong and the renovation of her Los Feliz estate, the Cedars, quoted Zoltan Papp, who redid the ceilings of the home, as saying that they hadn't been "touched in 80 years." The article also said that the previous owner was a professor who had ignored the upkeep of the home since purchasing it in 1969. In fact, the estate had been sold to another party a few years prior to Wong's purchasing it in 2004, and that owner had done some renovation work, which included the ceilings, before selling it to her.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday November 23, 2006 Home Edition Home Part F Page 5 Features Desk 2 inches; 103 words Type of Material: Correction
Sue Wong's estate: An Oct. 12 Home article about fashion designer Sue Wong and the renovation of her Los Feliz estate, the Cedars, quoted Zoltan Papp, who redid the ceilings of the home, as saying that they hadn't been "touched in 80 years." The article also said that the previous owner was a professor who had ignored the upkeep of the home since purchasing it in 1969. In fact, the estate had been sold to another party a few years before Wong's purchasing it in 2004, and that owner had done some renovation work, which included the ceilings, before selling it to her.

"It reconfirms my belief in Sue's unlimited reservoir of talent to create new environments," Raabe said. "I think that ultimately she could create more visible and lasting examples of her talent."

She'll have more opportunities. To expand her international reach, Wong has just opened a New York showroom in a fabled Garment District building. The couple has also expanded their 8 1/2 -acre property in Hawaii with the recent purchase of 35 acres that Wong plans to turn into a botanical garden.

She's still not quite done with this house, which her son says is typical: "Every house we've lived in is a work in progress."

"This is an old gal," says Wong as she finishes the tour, "and she's definitely, definitely high maintenance."

valli.herman@latimes.com

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