Monday, October 7, 2013

New and Exclusive to The Style Saloniste: Airy Opulence

A Los Angeles house designed by French interior designer, Jean-Louis Deniot. The chic residence, designed in 1938 by noted architect Paul Williams, was recently remodeled, redesigned and newly decorated, with completion in July. 

The house is being published first exclusively here.

I know you all love the work of Paris-based interior designer, Jean-Louis Deniot. He’s a favorite designer on THE STYLE SALONISTE. I’ve posted several exclusive stories about him, including the Artcurial designs he created, as well as the chic Paris interiors he is known for. 

A House on Doheny Drive, Los Angeles

Jean-Louis Deniot brings his inherent refinement to the interiors of the Paul R.Williams house.

Deniot, a classically trained architect with an impeccable sense of balance, harmony, and comfort has created rooms that are California-light and fresh, with a subtle Paris perfume. A whiff of Jean-Michel Frank drifts in the air, with a color palette of pale taupe, ivory, sand, and a series of grays. But into the mix are Vladimir Kagan sofas, new work by Los Angeles artists, African artifacts, custom-made rugs designed by Deniot, chic Maison Jansen treasures, and the airiest raw silk curtains.

Under his eye, with his team in action, it all seems effortless. 

Custom Nepalese Rug. 19th century African wooden urn. Large Harry Balmer table lamp. Jean de Merry gray parchment daybed covered in abstract silk damask. Onyx and brass coffee table. 1950 Murano glass lamp. Jean Royère wall lights. Brass sculpture by C. Jere.  Terracotta sculpture by Sy Rosenwasser. Plaster sculpture by Sy Rosenwasser. 1950 Bronze Fire Dogs. T.Robsjohn-Gibbings armchair and stool. Jean de Merry bronze and painted eglomiséd glass-top coffee table. Abstract stone sculpture by Cleo Hartwig. 

Vladimir Kagan sofa. Robsjohn-Gibbings chair. 

Long Edward Wormley sofa covered in baby alpaca by Loro Piana. Set of wall sculptures by Sally Anderson, 2000. 1950 Jacques Adnet floor lamps. 
Jean Royère wall lights.

Jean de Merry XXL Marble, Bronze and Parchment Console. Bronze obelisks. Large Abstract painting by Claudia Aronow-Roush, 2003

A Passionate Fanbase

Over his almost two decade career as an architect and designer, Jean-LouisDeniot has attracted a passionate following—with clients around the world, including in Delhi, Kiev, Caracas, Miami, New York, Chicago, Moscow, Antwerp, Madrid, Chandigarh, Monaco, Capri, Tangier, and Los Angeles.

He has also an avid following on my blog, I am very pleased to say. I can track his popularity (and my readers constant passionate interest in John Dickinson and others) on my blog traffic counter. Readers and followers of THE STYLE SALONISTE continue to pin images of the designs of Jean-Louis Deniot onto Pinterest. Some days, THE STYLE SALONISTE pages on Pinterest look like the 'Jean-Louis Deniot Fan Club'. I love it. Fans love the sheer originality and bravado of his two Artcurial concepts—and take great delight in posting his portrait all over their Pinterest inspiration boards. My readers have fantastic taste and style and discernment.

I’m very pleased

Come and join my unveiling of his newest work, just completed and wonderfully photographed by Jonn Coolidge. No-one has seen it. 

1940 Maison Jansen coral lacquered desk. 1950s ceramic lamp. Resin stool by Claudio Salocchi – 1970. Large Curtis Jere lantern.

Jean de Merry Gray Stained and natural parchment console. 18th century French gilded candlesticks. 1950 Jacques Adnet mirror

Essential Pragmatism

Deniot spent over a year restoring and renovating the 1938 house, creating new terraces, enhancing the poolhouse, and refreshing, improving, polishing, and enhancing every corner of the house.

He changed the layout, opening up small rooms, and somehow carved five bedrooms from artfully reconfigured schematics.

His goal was to reveal the elegant Thirties Hollywood style of the house, and not to ‘modernize’ it or reinvent it. Many features—the glorious stairway from the entry—were improved and lightened up. 

Jean-Louis Deniot told me: 

“My goal was for the original architecture to stand out, not noticing where I actually modified elements. I worked with the architect Paul Williams always in mind, as if he was still making the decisions .

I have high respect for his architecture. I implemented the decor with all my European influences, wich suited the house style perfectly .

The goal was to preserve the European aesthetic, but showing off in a very subtle way that the house is located in Beverly hills and not anywhere else.” 

Jean de Merry Large Custom Dining Table with Bronze Base and Matte lacquered top. Set of accessories: Large Malachite Eggs, 1920s Austrian Vase and Modern Marble Sculpture. Set of eight 1950s Dining chairs, recovered. Emilio Terry consoles. Bronze Roman-style Bust 

Jean-Louis Deniot said to me in recent conversation:

“Respect of the exterior / interior architecture and additions were priority. Once the canvas of the architecture was cohesive I added my version of how a Paul Williams house should look today .

I surely did not wanted a Hollywood Regency full look—fun but not the look I wanted. I did not want mid century. I played with my own influences, French, neoclassical, American classics, trying to acheive the perfect balance between style, history and contemporary living.” 

Large Louis XV-style crystal chandelier. Antique urn on stand. Terracotta planters by David Cressey.

Jean-Louis Deniot said: 

“I love challenges , it is something about me against myself , i question myself , like an internal analysis to figure out the adequate answers . I am not interested in the predictable so I want elements to be juxtaposed in new ways. I enjoy the interactions of eclectic pieces So here i mixed very contemporary rugs, Robjhon Gibbings, contemporary paintings, Paris salon objects, Napoleon, Vladimir Kagan, Jean Royere, and Louis XVI.” 

It’s the dream of Beverly Hills—a pool, an elevated terrace, chaises longues, and LA’s endless summer. 

Jean-Louis Deniot noted:

“America is famous for beautiful and rich beiges. French are famous for their grays, and especially the elegant grays we call ''gris gratin'' by which we mean ''chic people gray''. It’s a very classical French gray that you see a lot in Paris, that has some green in it, and some slightly ivory-ish tones, and it’s not dark or too bright…very understated and timeless. I could not stand doing another beige house in LA . Why? It’s been done. So I went gray introducing it on the façade on all shutters and all throughout under different tonalities blue gray, quite cold in the stair hall, gray/green, vert-de-gris type in the dining, to give a winter garden feel, and beige-gray in the living room, taupe- gray in the family room, silver gray in the kitchen and taupe-gray in the master suite.”

Jean-Louis Deniot told me:

“The house is 4,500 square feet, and had an existing ‘driver’s waiting room, telephone room and hidden bar from the prohibition period’. It also had only 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.

I cancelled driver’s quarters, bar and telephone room, and turned it as a guest suite/sitting room, with closets and separate bath.

This new volume was crucial, to create an independent guest suite on the ground floor , located between the grand living room and the familly room. By reconfiguring the upstairs layout I turned the existing 2 bedroom 2 bath , into 3 bedroom 3 bath, with independent closets.” 

Master Bedroom: Custom Nepalese rug. Hollywood Regency-style headboard. 1940 French Maison Carlian sofa covered in Loro Piana wool and cashmere. 

Brutalist coffee table by Daniel Gluck. Chairs by Harvey Probber. 

Jean de Merry Rock Crystal chest of drawers. 

Parchment Console by Karl Springer 

Master Bathroom

Jean-Louis Deniot commented to me:

“Architecturally , I also worked on the dining room, as the room was very boxy and bare. I added neo-classical columns and floor to ceiling built it trumeaux with antique mirror glass.

Telephone Room:  Bean-shaped coffee table by Robsjohn-Gibbings. 1950 Jacques Adnet day bed. Set of eight 19th Century Prints. Dunbar 1960 desk. Raw silk curtains.

Guest Bedroom

Pool Room

About the Architect

Paul Revere Williams, FAIA, 1894-1980
During the 1920s and 1930s (including the depression, which had little effect on his firm), Paul Williams’ great success was in designing homes for wealthy clients in Bel-Air, Brentwood, and Beverly Hills. Sought by entertainment industry leaders, Williams became known as “Architect to the Hollywood Stars.”

As Gary Dauphin said recently on Los Angeles radio station KCET: “This overwriting of black L.A. by Hollywood takes on another layer of complexity when you consider that Los Angeles does indeed have a singular black architect, a man responsible for over 2,000 private residences, so many of them designed for the bold faced names of the local dream factory.”

For stars with limited exposure to classical architecture, but with great familiarity with the fantasy architecture of film, modern interpretations of Tudor-revival, French regional Chateau, Regency, French Country, and Mediterranean architecture were all within his vernacular.

Elegant houses designed by Paul Revere Williams attracted generations of stars — Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Bill Cosby, and Denzel Washington. Actress Debra Messing recently sold a residence he designed in Bel-Air for $11.4 million.

Williams' residences were graceful, and a formal entry was always a strong point. Ceilings were high. Generations in Beverly Hills and Bel-Air discovered his houses, with their welcoming entries, winding staircases, and light-filled breakfast rooms. Williams was known to place grand exterior-style doorways inside the residences he designed. He incorporated built-ins and bars, even during Prohibition hidden behind walls.

And always, there was a connection between the indoors and the outdoors. With or without a celebrity pedigree, having the Williams name attached to a property is a significant draw. And Los Angeles real estate connoisseurs seek out Paul Williams houses, for their grace, their timeless comfort, and for their pedigree. 


Breakfast Room:  Leather-clad table. Kipp Stewart chairs. 18th Century Swedish portrait. 1930s beaded chandelier.

The Final Words: Jean-Louis Deniot

“The design for each room’s decor follows its function .

Entry: a grand effect with the coral desk, and abstract giant lantern to set the tone .

Living room, grand salon: lots of seating to create interesting interactions and perspectives for all guests. Day bed added for maximum attitude , and other pieces playing contrasts between sharp and loose and rounded shapes .

Dining :with all wooden twigs in Louis XV chandelier in référence to local Icon Tony Duquette and to achieve a festive effect .

Familly room: more loose, but very composed, trying to work with and against the existing stone fire place.” 


Jean-Louis Deniot, Paris and Los Angeles.

Jonn Coolidge
All photography is by Jonn Coolidge, used here exclusively with express permission of the designer and photographer. 


  1. Ooh, so much to admire in this house. If I had one favourite piece of furniture, it is the Jean de Merry XXL Marble, Bronze and Parchment Console, which is so beautifully placed within the lines of the panelling, and the elegant placement on top of it. Thank you for sharing with us!

  2. Dear Friend in Bangkok-

    I've loved your recent posts on AUCTIONS and BIDDING...WONDERFUL. THANK YOU.

    Yes...I is so fresh.
    It's not the usual styling as you noted...but in particular I find it so intelligent and refined.
    The rooms and materials and floors are all FUNCTIONAL rather than merely decorative...and certainly note a statement. I liked his comments on his approach.
    Lots to love--and I'm really happy to have the exclusive presentation of this new house.
    PAUL R. very wonderful.
    best as always, DIANE

  3. Not only does he look chic but the home is so streamlined and accessorized all at the same time! I love that gris gratin he refers to. I think the natural surrounding light complements certain colors better and which is why beige just looks better in Californian light! Lovely post as always

  4. Absolutely delightful, and definitely fresh and new! Those rugs are absolutely to die for.

    I wonder if M. Deniot would share the names and brands of the stunning greenish grey paint color and wallpaper in the guest bedroom before the pink poolroom.

  5. The lovely Margot von Muhlendahl said:

    What a very nice post, Diane. You are so good at this blogging and thus it is so REFRESHING to get your posts! I especially like that you identify the "furnishings and fittings" by maker and style, that you let the designers speak, and that the photos are so good.

    thank you, Margot

  6. Dear Friends-

    Take a new look at the JEAN-LOUIS DENIOT post...I added the correct new portrait of him...and it is just perfect.

    Thank you for your lovely comments--here and on FACEBOOK and via email and other messages....I love to hear from you. DIANE

  7. I am a huge fan of Jean-Louis! I love the perfect blend of Parisian chic and California modern in this project. The pool room almost looks like it was done in another era. Just beautiful!



  8. Dear Claudia-

    Thank you for your kind comments.

    I'm so pleased you were inspired by these new designs, and that you enjoyed the artistry and creativity of Jean-Louis Deniot.
    He is one of the top designers in the world today--and I'm very happy to present this new Los Angeles house exclusively on THE STYLE SALONISTE.

    very best, DIANE

  9. Congratulations Diane. This is a beautiful piece, and a beautiful house!
    Tha photography is also incredible.
    Eduardo Ardiles

  10. Dear Eduardo-

    I'm so happy to hear from you.

    I agree--this is one of the greats of Jean-Louis.

    The rooms are fresh and light--and feel so LA with a French air. It's the perfect mix for Los Angeles...and I agree with Jean-Louis that to follow Paul Williams lead with every decision was exactly the right direction.

    Stay in touch--all best, DIANE


    I received a wonderfully provocative message from my dear friend MEREDITH ETHERINGTON-SMITH--

    "Why is EVERYTHING so beige! Are all contemporary architect/interior designers frightened of colour? I'd love to see something where colour (shocking pink? Orange? Scarlet?) was FLUNG around!"

  12. What a AMAZING post:) your blog Is so beautiful and Im now following ..hope you follow back.

    Check my blog...with stylish Swedish fireplaces:)

    Have a great Sunday dear

    LOVE Maria at inredningsvis - inredning it's, Swedish for decor :)