photos by Steve K. Zylius/The ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
rion Jeannette might be best known for jaw-dropping, traffic-stopping architecture – from Portabello in Cameo Shores to the Rock House in Laguna Beach. But at Jeannette’s own home in Newport Beach, the architecture, interiors and lifestyle are low-key, down-to-earth and relaxed – much like the architect himself.
Aesthetic sensibility of the house:
Southwestern. We wanted it to be very inviting, very comfortable, a place where you can kick off your shoes and go barefoot.
One thing he can’t live without in his house:
The seasoning, the patina we get from all our friends visiting. Our furnishings are somewhat eclectic. We have a lot of treasures from the trips we take with friends. Each piece of art has a story.
Mostly Impressionist works from Italy and France, western American art, carved Kachinas, handwoven rugs, a collection of masks and my wife Bonnie’s paintings.
It isn’t a chair. It’s a banco, like a banquette, in the master bedroom. It’s my favorite place in the morning. There’s a window on the right with a wonderful view of the ocean. I sometimes find Bonnie asleep on it first thing when I wake up in the morning.
The best place to think and imagine:
My studio. It was intended to be a guest room, but we remodeled it a couple of years ago. It’s a perfect spot. I can view a garden from the room. That’s where I do my drawing.
We have a little library upstairs and it’s filled with two kinds of books: those about architecture and the rest about wine.
The Pillars of the Earth by Kent Follett.
Plants or flowers:
Succulents and orchids. Bonnie is a fanatic about orchids.
On entertainment centers and home theaters:
We have them where we want them – in the family room. There’s a 60-inch Runco TV that floats off the wall and has an articulating arm so we can turn it toward where we want it to face.
Linens in the master suite:
Coyuchi organic cotton sheets, 400 thread count. They feel like silk.
On his bedside table:
It’s not really a table. It’s a cantilevered shelf with a flagstone top. There’s a simple phone and digital clock on it.
On small intimate gatherings or big parties:
The house does very well with either. Bonnie’s a marvelous cook. But I’d say we’re the happiest with six to eight guests.
On wine or cocktails for entertaining:
Typically, both. Mostly wine, but we always have Brion’s killer margarita. It’s made with the best tequila and with limes picked off my neighbor’s tree. The secret ingredient is a dash of damiana. I serve it on the rocks.
On summer at home:
We have many friends over. We sit on the backyard patio, which has a fountain and a fire ring. After Brion’s killer margaritas, people are ready to take a nap. And they do. There are bancos everywhere and when someone disappears, we usually find them napping somewhere. The place is sleep-inducing.