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The Maximalist

Modern and minimal? Not here. Decorative styles from varied eras are right at home in this Westwood penthouse.

March 20, 2010|David A. Keeps, Special to the Los Angeles Times

The guest powder room uses glass and gold Italian mosaic tiles and a Venetian mirror to create a sense of Hollywood Regency grandeur. With its Louis XVI chair and nod to Napoleon's bookcases, the library is French neo-classical. The master bedroom exudes Art Deco glamour via silver walls painted with a strie finish, oversized chenille club chairs that Hoffman designed and an elaborate mural by the contemporary Russian artist Katya Kompaneyets. Yet the space also incorporates a Vienna Secessionist-era armoire with figurative wood inlays, an Empire-style sleigh bed and contemporary table lamps with pleated shades made from frosted resin by Donghia.

In the rooms where Hoffman spends most of her time, the mix is even more ambitious. Her office has a Russian Empire reproduction desk by Baker, a Josef Hoffmann side chair and a 19th century Korean daybed that serves as a couch. The living room — large enough for two seating conversation areas— is a showplace for the Kozma chairs and three 1930s Hungarian walnut tables. It also has a hearthside arrangement of upholstered roll-arm furniture she has owned since the 1980s.

"I was thinking of getting rid of it," says Hoffman, who recovered it instead. "I think it comes from the mindset of the way people lived in the old times. I am not a big proponent of throwing something away and getting something new. I like keeping and restoring things because they are beautiful and mean something."

The open plan also has room to seat 22 for dinner at one long table and a smaller table flanked by a pair of chairs and a settee.

"Every apartment in Hungary had one," she says of the small, more formal sofa that sits against a wall under a gold leafed painting by the Hungarian surrealist graphic artist Endre Szasz. "Anyone who came to visit, we had cakes and coffee there, never around a low coffee table."

Hoffman went to high school here, graduated from UCLA design school, got married here and raised her son here, but she says her soul belongs in Budapest.

"I was born there, where there is still a café society and gorgeous old 19th century buildings," she says. "It's a place where modernism and even the most contemporary design have a connection to the past."

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