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Sleeping Beauty

A neglected Mediterranean estate is transformed into a modern sanctuary.

When Chad Eisner first laid eyes on the 1930 Mediterranean manse atop Tower Road in Beverly Hills—an estate that once belonged to the late Ron Wilson, interior designer to the likes of Cher, Princess Diana and Johnny Carson—he couldn’t help but note the fairy-tale resemblance: “It was like a crumbling castle,” recalls the interior architect and designer behind C.W. Eisner, Inc. “Everything was gold leaf and swags.”

Eisner had been working with longtime clients Danica and Charles Perez to find an updated home for their family that would complement the couple’s art collection, which includes works by Robert Graham, Christopher Wool and Albert Oehlen as well as Danica’s own surreal photographs. “Unlike many of the cold and contemporary boxes we looked at, this house had spirit,” he says. “You could feel it when you walked in the door.”

Danica fell in love with the 11,000-square-foot property instantly. “It had the possibility of becoming a modern Mediterranean villa. It’s so romantic—it’s a Romeo and Juliet house,” she says of the terrace-wrapped blueprint. “Everywhere you look there’s a view.”

Eisner opened up walls to reclaim space and light and modernize the interiors. “The art was a big inspiration,” he says. He chose a toned-down palette, bleaching out the oak floors and painting walls in Benjamin Moore White Dove to allow more vibrant pieces by emerging artists to, in his words, “hold their place.”

Clean-lined, era-straddling decor fills out the floor plan; a chrome club chair from Milo Baughman and Art Deco Harris dining chairs by Joseph Jeup keep company with contemporary pieces such as a 1970s Venini Spazio Murano glass and chrome table with a high-lacquered top and custom pieces designed by Eisner himself. “Even though it’s all current and contemporary, it’s also comfortable,” he says.

Today the bright and airy transformation has given new life and vision to the once-neglected estate—complete with a cinematic ending. “It’s a magical place,” says Danica. “A lot of good Old Hollywood parties happened in this house, and we’re continuing that tradition.” 

By Heather John Fogarty.
Photographed by Lisa Romerein.

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