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Gilded glamour, all the way

A fan of Regency puts her golden stamp on an Asian-accented Craftsman. It's fusion to the nth degree.

December 20, 2007|Craig Nakano | Times Staff Writer

MORGAN LAWLEY directs television commercials for a living, but ask about her full-time job and she'll point to her Eagle Rock house, where for four years she has played design alchemist, tricking out a Craftsman with her giddy vision of Hollywood glamour gone wild. "I'm psycho," she says matter-of-factly, and anyone who saw the house long ago just might agree. The 1911 residence was in disrepair, its pagoda-style roof -- an addition by previous owners, who were of Chinese descent -- had fallen in. Still . . .

"I thought, OK, I could rock this house out and make it really glam," Lawley says.

Witness the gilded effects: the living room ceiling, the dining room table, the lotus light fixtures. "I know that in two years I'll be saying, 'What was I thinking with all the gold?' " she says.

"I think this is a perfect time to have done this house because it's opulent and glammy and dramatic -- that's what's happening in the design world, versus the whole midcentury look, which didn't jell with my dramatic sense of everything. 'More is more' is my philosophy."

The result is a collection of spaces that seem designed for the holidays: a bedroom bathed in red and white, a lantern hung in the entry like some giant Christmas ornament, plus all those golden accents tucked away like treats in an advent calendar. Open the closet doors, and voila: a gold bar for hangers, gold pulls on the drawers.

"I told you, I'm mental," Lawley says, laughing. "What, I'm going to open the doors and have Closets by Whatever? No. Wait till I get my gold hangers!"

With the help of friend Tamara Honey, an interior designer who served as a sounding board, Lawley recently wrapped up work on her redesign. Here's a tour, in Lawley's own words.


More photos online

For an expanded tour of Morgan Lawley's house, look for the gallery posted with this story at

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