Big Screen Chic
A newly built house in Newport Beach takes its design cues from a Hollywood-starring home in the Hamptons.
Design inspiration can strike at any time. For interior decorator Robin Strickler, when it came to dreaming up her own Newport Beach family home, that moment came when she first watched Something’s Gotta Give, the 2003 Nancy Meyers romantic comedy with Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson. For Strickler and countless other design junkies, however, the true star of the film was the sprawling Hamptons home with its soothing and textured palette of neutrals. “It was that movie that inspired me to create a home that is more Hamptons, as opposed to a beachy cottage look. For me, it’s all about a look that is clean and cozy at the same time,” says Strickler, who is the owner of Design Works in Costa Mesa.
More research ensued – as in, Strickler watched the movie more than a dozen times, closely studying not just its furniture and accessories but also its architectural elements and finishes, like transom windows, dark wood floors and high-ceiling spaces. “The dark hardwood floors set the tone,” says Strickler. “Then pretty much everything else is white. The overall effect is to go with the cooler, monochromatic palette and leave the color to the artwork. It suits the house and is a soothing backdrop to the architecture.”
Hence, there are no fuchsia throw pillows, bright yellow wallpaper or vibrant green armchairs here. Instead, Strickler, who sourced much of the furniture from vintage stores as well as Hickory Chair and Lillian August, created a rainbow of textures instead of colors. “There are velvets and flax linens and woven fabrics. Gray was actually my accent color,” she admits. “We’re probably the only firm in town that designs without a lot of color.”
And while the home has a wine cellar, a chef’s kitchen and indoor-outdoor flow, the scene-stealer is the great room. The large space, with its mix of new and vintage elements, its high ceilings and cleverly differentiated areas that don’t disrupt the flow, works as a stylish anchor to the entire home. “I put in pieces that look good, but that will also get used,” says Strickler.
Not that the decorator got every last film-inspired design detail that she dreamed of. One of her favorite spots in the movie is Diane Keaton’s master bedroom desk, an area where the actress writes, ruminates and cries (a lot). Strickler hoped to create a similar space in her home, but the approval process intervened. “I loved that office off the bedroom, but the city didn’t approve it, so instead we did a window seat there. Now I’ve grown to really love and use that space, too.”