For the lounge at the Standard, Alesch and Standefer designed a sleek, glamorous… (Rizzoli )
There's a reason you feel like cameras are rolling as you're traversing the dramatic, richly layered hotels designed by the firm Roman and Williams. Husband-and-wife principals Stephen Alesch and Robin Standefer met in L.A. while working in production design for films such as "Zoolander" and "Practical Magic."
A fireplace that the duo had designed for the Ben Stiller-Drew Barrymore comedy "Duplex" — richly glazed Craftsman tile, ornate peacocks carved out of walnut — caught the eye of Stiller, who was in the midst of a renovation at his own home.
"We were using real wood on the set, and he said they were using fake wood at his house," Alesch said.
PHOTOS: Ideas to steal from Roman and Williams' 'Things We Made'
When Stiller showed Alesch and Standefer the plans for the actor's Spanish-style home in the Hollywood Hills, the couple offered to essentially art-direct the project for him. Over the course of a weekend, Alesch drew new gorgeous watercolor concepts, Standefer gathered together a lookbook, Stiller hired them for the renovation, and Roman and Williams (named for Alesch's and Standefer's paternal grandfathers) was born.
Since then, the firm has produced interiors for high-profile projects such as the Ace and Standard hotels in New York and, most recently, the book "Roman and Williams Buildings & Interiors: Things We Made" ($75, Rizzoli). It's a compellingly handsome book that celebrates 10 years of their narrative-driven interiors — visual conversations peppered with high design, found objects, natural materials and industrial rarities. And the designers give ample credit to their Hollywood roots.
"Film gave us a lot of bravery for how to approach these projects," Standefer said. "I think we've realized how much objects are like characters."
On a drizzly and appropriately cinematic morning at the Chateau Marmont, Alesch and Standefer shared their inspiration, sources and philosophies for 10 of their designs.