The City of Angels has always sparked millions of people’s imaginations. It has seen by many as the zenith of lifestyle, the place to be, and to live. Home of Hollywood and most of our favorite films, Los Angeles has slowly turned itself into a cultural hotspot around the globe. So it would only be natural if some of the top interior designers lived and practiced there. And now it’s time to meet some of them.
1. Amy Sklar
While Sklar no longer is performing comedy sets — she leaves that to her husband, Randy, one half of the Sklar Brothers — she still has an off-kilter sensibility that endears Amy Sklar Design to a growing roster of funny men and women that includes Patton Oswalt and Rob Corddry. “We take our job seriously but gag around a lot,” says Sklar, who then deadpans, “It’s better that way. Trust me.” Alongside architect Barbara Bestor, Sklar’s working on a house for Almost Family writer-producer Annie Weisman.
2. Atelier AM
Shy by nature, Michael and Alexandra Misczynski, founders of Atelier AM, keep a notoriously low profile. This is quite a feat when you have clients like Tom Cruise and collaborate with consummate modern architects like Richard Meier. The husband-and-wife duo met in Manhattan while working on different projects for the same client. Relocating to Michael’s hometown of Los Angeles, they founded the preeminent firm Atelier AM. The power couple is known as the choice designers for art connoisseurs.
3. Brigette Romanek
As glamorous as her clientele — Gwyneth Paltrow, Beyoncé, and Jay-Z, Joe Jonas, Kelly Rowland, The AllBright social club — Brigette Romanek launched her Romanek Design Studio from the Laurel Canyon home she shares with her director husband, Mark Romanek. The hillside home, once owned by Rick Rubin and possibly haunted, required an overhaul by the ex-handbag designer (her Rockstar purse was carried by Kate Moss, two Kardashians, and Eva Mendes).
4. Cliff Fong
Cliff Fong was born in New York and has had a diverse upbringing, living in many countries around the world. He has been a part of Los Angeles’ fertile design community for two decades as an interior designer, fashion designer, and entrepreneur. As an interior designer, Cliff creates unique, personal, and often unexpected environments, drawing from various inspirations. His work is largely residential but also includes notable commercial spaces such as Michael Voltaggio’s Ink restaurant.
5. Disc Interiors
Restrained and understated, David John Dick and Krista Schrock layer the colors of the California desert into livable spaces like the Silver Lake home Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis just picked up for $3.5 million. “So many rooms are beautiful in photos, but they’re not rooms you want to live in,” says Dick. Adds Schrock, “‘Warm’ and ‘calm’ are words we hear a lot from our clients,” including Innerscope Records head of A&R Sam Riback, director and screenwriter Leigh Janiak, producer Greg Jacobs and SNL‘s former co-head writer Chris Kelly, among others.
6. Jake Arnold
Jake Arnold landed in Los Angeles six years ago under the wing of glamorous interior duo Woodson & Rummerfield, then joined up with Steve Wunderlich of 4C Design Group. While the British designer’s moody monochrome interiors have pushed him past 39,000 followers on Instagram, Arnold is more interested in the atmosphere over strict aesthetics. At the end of the day, it’s all about how you feel in a space,” he says.
7. Jamie Bush
A New Yorker who grew up in a family of notable designers and artists, Jamie studied architecture and design in New Orleans and Italy. After receiving his Masters in Architecture from Tulane University, Jamie relocated to L.A. and opened his own interior design firm in 2002. Featured in such major publications as Architectural Digest, Dwell, and the Los Angeles Times, Jamie is highly regarded for his keen understanding of architecture and design.
8. Jeff Andrews
The designer for the famous Kardashian family, Jeff Andrew’s talent is seen by millions who watch their reality television productions. A highly coveted decorator, his expanding list of diverse celebrity clients also includes Ryan Seacrest and Michael C. Hall. The native Southern Californian’s magical interiors push creative boundaries, but remain true to traditional design aesthetics. Originally a choreographer, it should be no surprise that Jeff has a well-balanced approach to decorating and an eye for beauty.
9. Jeffrey Alan Marks
Another famous face from Bravo’s Million Dollar Decorators, Jeffrey has been a trendsetter in the design world for over twenty years. In addition to Malibu beach houses and London homes, the internationally acclaimed designer has created iconic commercial interiors, including The Hungry Cat in Santa Monica. He is currently at work on an exclusive fabric line for luxury brand Kravet.
10. Kathleen and Tommy Clements
The mother-and-son team have impressed clients like Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux with their pared-down but richly layered aesthetic. Tommy joined his mother’s firm, Kathleen Clements Design, in 2006 and has since flourished as a designer. The talented duo is keeping it diverse this year, with projects as varied as a mid-century modern to the renovation of a 1930’s Georgian.
11. Kelly Wearstler
Since its establishment in 1994, Kelly Wearstler’s interior design company has blossomed to include clothing, jewelry, and home collections. Described as a “branding virtuoso” by Architectural Digest, her vibrant interiors and lifestyle boutique make her a leading name in modern American design. The multi-talented author and fashionista have been featured both on the Los Angeles Times‘ bestseller list and Vogue‘s Best Dressed list. Her famous clients include the ever so stylish Gwen Stefani and Cameron Diaz.
12. Kim Gordon
A mixed-media artisan and longtime resident of Venice Beach, Kim Gordon showcases steel-framed floor-to-ceiling windows, hand-troweled walls, and open floor plans that transform sand shacks into buoyant indoor-outdoor abodes. Says Gordon, who has worked with long-established interior designers Madeline Stuart and Kerry Joyce, “A lot of my aesthetic came from my wondering”.
13. Martyn Lawrence Bullard
Martyn is a household name in America and the UK, thanks primarily to his television shows Million Dollar Decorators (on Bravo TV) and Hollywood Me. Not surprisingly, the British-born designer moved to Hollywood 20 years ago to become an actor. His role in an Ed Wood film landed him the job of decorating the offices of Wood’s production company. These days, he has furniture, fabric, and fragrance lines. Fashion and jewelry product lines are in the works. His commitment has earned him the respect of such notable clientèle as Tommy Hilfiger, Elton John, and Cher.
14. Michael S. Smith
Honored by all the top shelter publications, including Architectural Design and Elle Décor, this A-lister is one of the top talents in the design industry. Not to mention that Barack & Michelle Obama chose him to decorate the White House and makeover the Oval Office. His early days included studies at the Otis College of Art and Design and abroad, as well as a partnership with designer John Saladino in New York. The Californian returned to his roots to establish Michael S Smith, Inc. in 1990.
15. Oliver Furth
Alongside consulting for LACMA’S Decorative Arts Council as chair emeritus, Oliver M. Furth shares his vast knowledge of the city’s creative scene with such clients as Imagine’s Michael Rosenberg, Arianna Huffington, Beautycon Media CEO Moj Mahdara, UTA’s Jim Berkus, and CAA’s Michael Rosenfeld.
16. Studio Shamshiri
Their exit from powerhouse design studio Commune hasn’t slowed down brother-and-sister duo Pamela and Ramin Shamshiri. The two Shamshiris, born in Tehran of an Iranian father and Roman mother, find inspiration in history, filtering it through a multicultural lens, and in their deep-seated belief that good design is the launching pad to a better life.
17. The Archers
Richard Petit and Stephen Hunt’s boutique agency, named after the English production company behind such evocative films as The Red Shoes and Black Narcissus, is known for visually dramatic, highly composed moments. Case in point: the neon yellow spiral staircase in the Silver Lake renovation for film producer Sharon Oreck and her cinematographer husband, Bill Pope.
18. Trip Haenisch
Originally from the Midwest, Trip embraces the quintessential California lifestyle, particularly when it comes to connecting outdoor living with airy interiors. With clients like Courteney Cox and Hank Azaria, it is no wonder his work is profiled in publications like Elle Décor, House Beautiful, and Vogue. He established the design firm Martynus-Tripp with Martyn Lawrence Bullard in 1996 and has continued his design excellence in his independent practice, Trip Haenisch & Associates.
19. Vanessa Alexander
“Malibu wasn’t known for its architecture,” says Colony native Vanessa Alexander, “but it always had this big surf break that attracted people,” including clients David Duchovny and Gerard Butler. Now living in Bonsall Canyon with her husband, ICM partner Steve Alexander, the designer has helped change that. While her design for the Malibu Farm restaurants exports the more casual side of California style to Miami, Hawaii, and New York, it’s her interpretation of its relaxed luxury that endears her to attorney Kevin Yorn, director Marc Webb (The Amazing Spider-Man), producer Matt Tolmach, Reese Witherspoon and Jim TothJ.
20. Waldo Fernandez
The Cuban native made himself home in New York before relocating to Los Angeles and enrolling in UCLA to study design and architecture. He started out as a set designer for Walter Scott, but it was his furniture commissions that earned him his early reputation. After designing for film director John Schlessinger, his work caught the attention of a plethora of celebrity clients, including Elizabeth Taylor. Waldo’s Design has been a fixture on Almont Drive for over 28 years.