Laura Wasser said “I do” to a charming craftsman and enrolled Vanessa Alexander to design it
Words by KELSEY McKINNON
Photography by AMY NEUNSINGER
Laura Wasser has famously uncoupled such high-profile clients as Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Kim Kardashian, Britney Spears, Ashton Kutcher, and Heidi Klum (and literally dozens of other A-listers) earning the nickname the Disso Queen. But despite the fact that Hollywood’s most famous divorce lawyer spends her billable hours untangling high-profile emotional mayhem, she’s not immune from making decisions of the heart herself.
Laura Wasser, in a vintage hanging daybed from Dekor Ojai, and her son relax on the porch.
During the fall of 2019, a few months after her beloved mother, Bunny, had passed away, Wasser found herself in the pastoral hamlet of Ojai. “I had been to Ojai a couple of times for wedding showers and stayed at the Inn. We also have friends there. It was right around when my mom’s birthday would have been and we were walking and I was like, ‘This is so tranquil. It’s so loving,’” she remembers. “That’s when I really fell in love with it and started looking at homes.” Her search lead to the historic East End, a quiet neighborhood saddled between the storybook town and the sprawling citrus ranches. Against the backdrop of the Topatopa Mountains at the end of a tree-lined cul-de-sac, she found a handsome Craftsman bungalow that would be the perfect escape for her own modern family—Wasser, whose primary residence is a Spanish abode in the West Hollywood Hills, was married briefly in her 20s, has two sons from different fathers, a college-age “step-daughter,” a yellow lab and a rescue pit bull.
The dining table from Petersen Antiques is accented by chairs from Stahl + Band and an antique pendant light from the original house.
Her first call was to her friend Vanessa Alexander, the celebrated Malibu-based designer who she’s known for a good 20 years [Wasser also has a small vacation home in Malibu’s tony Point Dume enclave, which she purchased from Alexander in 2007.] The pair set to work lightening and updating the interiors (stripping the floors, gutting the bathrooms and kitchen), cleaning up the landscaping, putting in a pool and painting the outside of the house a moody graphite. Alexander sourced vintage pieces both near and far and custom fabricated items such as the cozy breakfast banquet.
The living room sofa is from Stahl + Band with fabric from Romo. There’s a set of vintage rattan chairs from 1stDibs and another from Eneby Home that flank the coffee table from Amber Interiors.
There was only one hiccup: Alexander is well-known for her edited, neutral spaces, while Wasser loves color. Of course, they were able to reach a compromise: Wasser’s mother’s favorite hue was yellow, so the pair kept the backdrop of the house neutral and added sunny accents throughout, including the front door, a cherished Danish sofa in the living room, and books and flowers. “She pushed me to use color a little bit more strongly, which I loved, but I also similarly might’ve pushed her to do it in a little bit more of an edited manner. I think we were a good yin yang in that way,” says Alexander.
“Laura is a dichotomy: she’s elegant, but also down-home. She kind of rides a lot of different roads in her personality”
With Ojai’s bohemian community of urban ex-pats, artisans and farmers, Wasser surprisingly blends in. She bought an old-school 1982 Jeep Wagoneer for the property and places bread orders to pick up after the Sunday Farmers’ Market like a local. “Laura is a dichotomy: she’s super successful and connected, but then she’s also very real, and down to earth. She’s elegant, but also down-home. She kind of rides a lot of different roads in her personality,” says Alexander.
In a nod to Wasser’s mother’s favorite color yellow, she and Alexander used it as an accent throughout the house including this Danish sofa from Dekor Ojai.
Weekends are spent relaxing by the pool and entertaining, but Wasser is never fully off duty. These days she’s splitting her time between private clients as a managing partner at Wasser, Cooperman and Mandles (started by her father, Dennis Wasser) and her online divorce platform It’s Over Easy. “I’m always working. My clients need to be able to reach me even on the weekends. They have questions, they want to check-in. And because it’s a difficult time, I’m happy to talk,” Wasser says, noting that she often takes calls from the hanging rattan day bed off the master suite. While her relationship with Ojai may still be new, it certainly looks promising.
Poolside shower by Strand Boards.
Feature image: The exterior of the Craftsman bungalow is painted a custom mix from Benjamin Moore to create the perfect moody-graphite hue.
October 13, 2021
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