Designer Bryan Wark conceives a neutral modern retreat for a family of four
By Paola Singer | Photography by Bethany Nauert | September 23, 2016
Planning a home from the ground up—and with nearly full creative license—is an interior designer’s dream. That’s just the situation Bryan Wark was lucky enough to find himself in last year, when clients decided to practically tear down an existing Tudor-style construction in L.A.’s leafy Fryman Canyon area, giving the designer the go-ahead to imagine something completely new.
"I drew this house with a general contractor drinking beers in a pub," says Wark, who studied architecture long before establishing Bryan Wark Designs in the early aughts. “It’s rare that I have so much control.”
The inspiration for his sketch, which translated into a modern 5,000-square-foot rectangular house with white siding and black-framed windows, was the work of Irving Gill, an early-20th-century California architect who pioneered efficient, cubic dwellings. The streamlined look of the exterior is echoed in the interiors, which feature a similar combination of white, black, and wood (part of the home’s façade is covered in reclaimed slats).
“It’s a perfect starting palette; then you can decorate any way you want,” says Wark, who often chooses a medley of antique, vintage, and contemporary furnishings. “As long as you pick timeless things, it’s pretty easy to mix different styles.”
Wark’s clients, a creative couple with two young kids, agreed on this eclectic approach. “[The wife] and I had a very similar aesthetic, and she was really willing to take risks,” he says. The result of this daring—paired with an eye for balance and functionality—is an effortlessly elegant home that blends organic elements with hints of retro glamour. In the dining area, for example, the designer fashioned an ample table out of two Saarinen Tulip replicas, maintaining the pedestal bases beneath a slab of reclaimed Douglas fir.
“It’s so nice to sit at that table on a warm L.A. night with the scent of jasmine in the air,” Wark says, mentioning the room’s fully retractable 25-foot-long glass doors. “I’m fortunate to be invited over there often.” Such are the perks of a job well done.