Partners Ryan Brown and Diego Monchamp transform a 1960s Hollywood Hills house to reflect their signature warmth and sophisticated style.
It takes a singular house to lure a couple who have moved 20 times in the past 13 years to drop anchor and stay awhile. For interior designers and California natives Ryan Brown and Diego Monchamp, it was ultimately a 1960s Hollywood Hills home that had the couple hook, line and sinker. “I was obsessed the moment I saw it,” says Brown, a former cast member of Bravo’s reality series “Flipping Out” and partner with Monchamp at Brown Design Group in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. Brown and Monchamp were living in the neighborhood with their 8-year-old daughter, Chloe, when the house came on the market. “We bought it from the family who built and originally owned it,” Brown says. “They took care of it wonderfully, but nothing had been upgraded since the ’60s. It was like walking into a time capsule.”
The couple, who are known for their eclectic but clean residential and commercial interiors, were designing with a very specific end-client in mind: themselves. “In some respects you would think clients would be more challenging,” Brown says, laughing. “But doing a house for myself—I eat, breathe and sleep it.”
Monchamp and Brown opened up a warren of smaller rooms to create an expansive great room with vaulted ceilings in which they installed a glass wall using vintage factory windows to separate the kitchen from the dining and living areas. Monchamp found the factory windows before they bought the house, and Brown arranged the entire space to accommodate them as well as an expansive farm table that comfortably seats 12. “The dining table is the soul of our home,” Brown says. “We entertain a lot. It’s the only piece of furniture that has stayed with us in every house.”
A masculine, neutral palette presents a warm backdrop for clean lines and organic textures. In the living room, a curvilinear-patterned Paul Smith rug sits beneath a custom sofa and armchairs. The couple replaced the original lava rock around the fireplace with fish-shaped cement tile from Arto Brick, and hung vintage oars above. “I grew up on the coast, so the oars are a reminder of being on the water,” Brown says. A vintage nautical lamp used to signal Morse code that Brown found in Amsterdam and a fishing net add another marine layer to the mix.
The master bedroom was inspired by a trip to Bangkok. “We had an awesome, open hotel room that I’ve never forgotten,” Brown recalls. “I don’t like a lot of doors and separation, and for us this feels like we’re living in a great hotel suite!” A vintage carnival sign depicting a billiard ball acts as a reading light and hangs above a custom bed with a headboard made from hand-stretched leather tiles.
Throughout the space, Danish modern pieces blend seamlessly with eclectic pieces from Etsy and local antique shops as well as finds from trips to Amsterdam, Buenos Aires, Paris and beyond. But will the couple’s wanderlust find them relocating again, or are they here for good? “We plan to stay,” Brown says. “Of course I always say that and then we move.”
By Heather John Fogarty.
Photographed by Matt Wier.