Growing up, Ryan Murphy always had a taste for the eccentric and colourful things in life, so when the opportunity presented itself in creating in own interior design (even if it was in his childhood bedroom), the TV mogul jumped on the opportunity, going for olive-green walls, chocolate-brown shag carpeting—and a gold disco ball. That same taste for over the top designs certainly transitioned into adulthood, as he still prefered bold rooms, collections of items, colour and more colour. But has time passed, and his family grew larger, Ryan Murphy realised, maybe more was just… more? Discover how he adjusted his out-of-box ideas to a more contemporary design inside his luxury homes.
Ryan Murphy‘s career took off right around the time he and his partner had their son, Logan, in 2012, and the TV producer went from having one or two shows on the air to sometimes having 12! Those shows, too, were often colourful and baroque. One day, it suddenly dawned on Murphy that he wanted to live with less: less colour, less clutter, fewer things. An edited life.
When a call came in to take a look at a possible luxury home, with high ceilings and oversized rooms, fit for a growing family, Ryan and David saw the potential for their dream home and bought it. Then they turned to AD100 designer extraordinaire Stephen Shadley, to help breathe new life into it.
Together, they took it down to the studs and then changed the footprint by adding more rooms, with more negative space. Out of that process came three rules of what Ryan Murphy calls “minimalist luxury” that Stephen and David and himself returned to over and over again:
- Repeat, repeat, repeat. What this came to mean is find three materials you love and just keep using them: For the LA luxury home, they chose blindingly white chalk plaster walls, black and white Malibu tiles done in a modern geometric way, and dark tile and wood floors.
- Make it big. From Stephen Shadley, Ryan Murphy learned the great lesson of monumentalism, that grand gestures help focus and declutter a space. Everything in the luxury home was done with this in mind. All of the brick fireplaces, for example, were put up and taken down at least three times to get the regal, walk-in effect we wanted. Huge plaster horse-trough fountains were designed for the front of the house, and they were so large and long we had to take out lap-pool permits from the city. But they are instantly grounding—calming, almost—as they loom large and give architectural order to the façade.
- Don’t use colour. This was Ryan Murphy‘s favourite, and perhaps the most difficult to achieve. All the repeated materials were ordered specifically in muted shades.
AD100 interior designer Pam Shamshiri, who worked on the interiors, got all this in their first meeting. All of the furniture—the Rick Owens dining table and bench, the Haas Brothers bathtub sculpture, the Vincenzo De Cotiis sofa, the matted silk shaved Tibetan rugs—are big, bold statements, but in calm natural hues. The luxury home now has a weird monastic hush—you enter into an absence of noise and brightness and you feel nourished, forcibly calmed. Grounded.
Oddly, just as they were in the midst of construction hell in L.A. came a gift from the gods: a house in New York City in the Zen-monastic style Ryan Murphy craved. He had begun to shoot several television shows in NYC and had always dreamed of having a luxury home there. The second David and he walked in the door, they knew we were going to buy it. It was exactly the same vibe they were going for in Los Angeles, only . . . done! No fireplaces to redo and obsess over. Everything was warmth and wood and air.
With help from AD100 designer David Cafiero, they set out to make it a little more them. Their children are half Swedish, so the duo wanted to pay homage to that heritage, too, with the furnishings and the delicate pottery. David also immediately understood the notion of bigger and bolder and quieter and designed some of the larger pieces in the house—most notably a spectacular linen master bed—to help ground the spaces.
Most magnificent, he came up with a wonderful and quite warm solution to fill the yards of bleached birch shelves that line the library floor: a comprehensive array of arts and sciences books amassed over decades by an acquaintance of his who had recently died in his 90s. The collection of a lifetime was about to be sold off book by book, but he rescued the whole lot and filled the house with them. A Barry X Ball sculpture called Envy stands sentinel, looking down at the street below.
“Ironically, both houses were completed at exactly the same time. We have loved our year in them, calmed and nourished by their monochromatic subtlety and purposeful restraint. But wouldn’t you know it, I feel an attack of colour and Legos and bright Magna-Tiles coming on. We are expecting another baby, a boy, in August.” – Ryan Murphy
Source: Architectural Digest
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