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C At Home

House Tour: Sydney Holland’s Modern Art-Filled Mulholland Drive Mecca

Spot the Urs Fischer

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of C Home.

“If we didn’t have a backyard, it would be a problem,” says Sydney Holland, sipping a sparkling water in the living room of her expansive Mediterranean-style home while her 1-year-old twin sons, Liam and Harrison, eat breakfast with their nannies in the kitchen (her 3-year-old daughter, Alexandra, is due home at any moment).

The pronouncement follows introductions to Lucien Smith’s rain painting 7th Heaven 2, which hangs on the far wall, and the petite Jeff Koons balloon dog and Dan Colen M&M sculptures installed in her built-in bookcase: “I’m always worried they’re just going to come in here and take a marker to it all,” she says of her brood, with a laugh.

Of course, Holland does have a backyard—complete with a manicured lawn, a pool, a limestone Buddha bust, a custom oak pergola hung with Indonesian lanterns, and an array of James Perse outdoor furniture. But from the marker-free looks of things inside, her offspring have inherited a respect for the finer things from their mother, an avid collector and patron (she recently underwrote the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles’ Doug Aitken exhibition) in addition to being a film producer (whose credits include The Seventh Fire, a documentary about Native American gang culture on which Natalie Portman is also a producer), co-owner of jewelry line Huckleberry LTD, and founder of an eponymous foundation dedicated to supporting at-risk youth and their families. (She also has a passion for flipping houses on the side.)

Holland made her way here in August 2014, after selling her Beverly Hills residence to actor Jennifer Lawrence. She was looking for a “more livable,” family-friendly abode, and found it on a quiet cul-de-sac in a gated community off of Mulholland Drive. She enlisted a longtime collaborator, decorator Tracie Butler, for the project. “We have the same appreciation for aesthetics—we’ve always connected,” says Butler, who has worked on five residences with Holland.

The results blend California bohemian moments with all-out modern glamour (think pervasive natural crystals and geodes crossed with vintage Persian rugs, mirrored velvet ottomans and custom Louis Vuitton luggage furniture). It’s ultimately a backdrop for Holland’s museum-worthy art collection, which covers every surface of the 8,000-plus-square-foot digs: from the checkerboard limestone-floored entryway, where Tracey Emin’s Trust Yourself light sculpture shares space with Wes Lang’s Perfect From Now On and John Baldessari’s portrait of Karl Lagerfeld; to the dining room, furnished with a Jean de Merry chandelier and Chris Levine’s holographic portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, Lightness of Being, Marilyn Minter’s Deluge and Ed Ruscha’s That Was Then This Is Now. Even her children’s rooms are outfitted with works by Ruscha, Paul Rusconi, Yoshitomo Nara and Urs Fischer.

Her latest conquest, a quartet of color-drenched Beatles portraits by Richard Avedon, has yet to be hung—she rushes over to her office to offer a sneak preview. As she lifts one of the frames aloft to showcase it in all its glory, she considers the method behind her obsession—she may not have a “type,” per se, but there is a definite strategy at play: “I buy what I like—I don’t ever buy for an investment,” she says, as she reverently returns it to its box. “I buy art to keep it.” 

Photography by ROGER DAVIES.

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