Cool, Calm, Collected
A few canyons over from the illustrious Getty Center, Rosetta and Balthazar Getty curate a gallery-inspired space for their young family.
Rosetta Getty is heading for her hyperbaric chamber. She barely got any sleep last night, having spent the evening at Cuban-themed Los Angeles nightspot La Descarga, where her husband, Balthazar Getty—actor, record label owner and DJ—was performing with his band, Abstrakto. She’s also fresh off market week in New York, where she presented the pre-Fall 2016 collection of her namesake fashion label to retailers and editors. And before that, she was in Miami for Art Basel over the weekend. Oh, and she has four kids, ages 8 to 15. The woman needs some oxygen.
Fortunately, there’s plenty of fresh air on offer at her house, which she designed and built for almost four years on a property the couple bought in 2003, close to Mulholland, perched on one of the highest bluffs in L.A. “It’s a magical place,” says Getty. “You really feel the city, every moment of the day, the season, the ocean, the snowcapped mountains. We’re surrounded by nature.”
Getty, who grew up in Silver Lake and around the skateboard culture of Venice Beach, has always had an aptitude for design. At 7, she talked a neighbor into teaching her how to sew. She fell into modeling, at age 15, while taking a drawing class and being photographed by one of the other students, and subsequently ended up working with such renowned lensmen as Paul Jasmin and Bruce Weber, and living in Paris, Milan and New York. While studying at Otis College of Art and Design in L.A., Getty made a dress for a friend’s daughter, who was to be the flower girl in a wedding, and “accidentally” started a line of children’s clothing, Rosetta Millington, sold in 350 boutiques. “I was the computer programmer, patternmaker and shipper. I did everything,” she says. When her youngest started school, she launched yet another clothing line, her eponymous ready-to-wear women’s label (this February marks its two-year anniversary). The “clean, wearable and also eccentric” offerings are globally distributed via the likes of Net-a-Porter, and Harvey Nichols and Selfridges in London. Soon, she hopes to translate her sophisticated and sumptuous aesthetic into a home collection, including pottery.
Like the fashion pieces she creates, her interior design focuses on architecture and construction; it’s pared down with crisp, geometric elements. The Hollywood Hills house offers a glimpse into her masterfully streamlined world: “It’s minimal for sure, but also balanced, because I do have a family,” she says. “Sometimes I can get too conceptual, which isn’t comfortable—they have to be the same; they have to work together.” The rooms open up to a white stucco exterior and white cement floors, making space not only for indoor-outdoor living and entertaining, but also a basketball court, trampoline and a wall for watching films, “so everyone can be together, but doing different things.” She likens her house to two films: a cross between legendary French director Jacques Tati’s classic Mon Oncle—with the woman constantly cleaning and the family constantly messing it up—and Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums—“people coming out of the crevices at all times,” she says, adding, “everyone is really eccentric—though no one is smoking yet, thank God.”
Getty brought in new furniture customized for the space that she designed with a local craftsman, which mixed well with her collection of midcentury modern pieces including a wood and cream linen Charlotte Perriand daybed, industrial-looking Jean Prouvé kitchen chairs composed of bent plywood and black metal, and an Illum Wikkelso black leather couch. And although her husband is the great-grandson of late oil magnate and art patron J. Paul Getty, it is she who does the collecting. “Especially of late, art is more and more important to me,” she says. Her rooms showcase modern and contemporary pieces from artists including Piero Golia, Mark Hagen and Olympia Scarry.
Currently, she is obsessed with a photograph of bright-yellow lemons by L.A.-based Zoe Ghertner that’s on view in the kitchen and displayed next to a bowl of real lemons—the perfect example of her own everyday California life imitating art.
“I’m forever adding and taking away,” she confesses. And sleep-deprived though she may be, the very notion of drawing a line under this particular labor of love runs counter to her better instincts. “It’s always a work in progress; I don’t think you’re ever really done.”
Photography by FRANÇOIS DISCHINGER.
Written by MARTHA MCCULLY.