Bruce Gregga and William Laman curate a collected, global home in Montecito.
Interior designer Bruce Gregga and antiques-shop owner William Laman have carried their beloved art and furniture from home to home over the course of 30 years, so a look inside their Montecito living room is a bit like peeking into their well-worn passports. Collections of porcelain, artwork and rare furniture span the globe from Mexico City to Paris to Argentina.
“You’ll never see a lot of clutter here; Bruce edited everything,” Laman says of the seamless mix of styles and centuries. “You enjoy the empty spaces as much as those that are filled with furniture.” After finding their 1960s California ranch home three years ago, Gregga opened up a few rooms to create a better flow. The airy allure can also be attributed to Gregga’s signature custom blend of white paint, a shade that his former Chicago design team dubbed “BG White.” It’s a warm hue he calls “not yellow, just mellow” that is as flattering in a bare entryway as it is for a backdrop to their worldly art and furniture collection, which includes an original Botero oil painting and bookcases that once belonged to legendary composer Cole Porter.
While the home’s palette is mostly neutral with metallics, the kitchen gets a brilliant shot of blue and white, playing off the couple’s collection of English china and Delftware from Holland. Here Gregga turned a former maid’s room into an adjacent sitting room, lining the walls with indigo linen and surrounding the fireplace in discontinued decorative tiles made in L.A.—there were so few remaining in the batch that they finished the project with less than half a piece left.
The partners go on frequent buying trips for their Montecito store, finding pieces and inspiration everywhere. When it came time to re-engineer the exposed, circular driveway, they recalled wandering down a lane of rounding hedges in Paris, wondering where the magic might lead. To their surprise it spit them out in front of an Abercrombie & Fitch, but nevertheless they used that mental postcard to transform their front yard into a more private entry filled with hedges, boxwoods, topiaries and pea gravel.
After creating a private oasis inside and out, Gregga says he’s happy to walk in and close the door, surrounded by their possessions, which really are memories and stories. “Bruce was inspired by that curve and rhythm and understated elegance; it really is a breathtaking approach,” Laman says. “When you travel and are inspired, it translates.”
By Jennifer Blaise Kramer.
Photographed by Victoria Pearson.