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Hang Loose

Kelly Sawyer Patricof enlists designer Brigette Romanek to work her magic on her young family’s Malibu Colony beach cottage.

For most of the year, Kelly Sawyer Patricof appears to be everywhere at once. As co-president of Baby2Baby, an L.A.-based nonprofit that provides child-care essentials to 80,000 children in need, she organizes fundraisers and the collection of donated goods all over town. As creative director of modish fashion boutique chain Satine, she travels around the world seeking out the latest must-have womenswear designers. And as a mother to two young daughters, she and her husband, film producer Jamie Patricof (whose recent projects include Tim Burton’s Big Eyes and the upcoming Mississippi Grind starring Ryan Reynolds), manage a steady schedule of birthday parties and sporting events.

But during the summer—and any weekend she can carve out some time away—she’s in exactly one place every day: a cozy 1950s beach cottage in the Malibu Colony that the couple purchased three years ago this summer. “We will drive up here on a Friday, park the car, and won’t get in it again until we have to go back,” she says. “The girls ride bikes everywhere. We can walk to the Colony for lunch. And what usually happens is that I sit down on the sofa and don’t move for hours!”

With help from their creative friend, handbag designer and interiors mastermind Brigette Romanek, the Patricofs transformed the whitewashed one-story ranch-style cottage into a family refuge for the kids and the perfect place for hosting, with a lawn spacious enough for a crowd and a back patio with a large stone fireplace. The goal was to make the home equal parts family-friendly and cocktail-party ready, and Romanek used the clear azure Malibu sky as a launching point, choosing pale blue chambray upholstery, paint and even wall-to-wall carpet in the girls’ room. A neutral, layered scheme also
prevails; the kitchen is a study in white-on-white, with utilitarian
dishware readily accessible thanks to open shelving, and a bull’s skull placed just-so on the countertop, to keep things interesting; in the living room, milky-hued cabinetry displays a multitude of vintage pottery and objets.    

“The door is always open in that house,” says Romanek, whose daughters are the same age as the Patricof girls, and who has become a close friend since she and her husband,

director Mark Romanek, moved to Los Angeles from London three years ago. “People come and go all the time, and they love to entertain. But it’s also a beach house!” she adds. “There will be sand on the floor and kids running around, and that’s the way it should be.”

By Christine Lennon. 
Photographed by Douglas Friedman.

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