Shag Rug, Sunken Living Room, and Hermès Wallpaper: A Vintage-Loving Model’s Hollywood Dream Home

Shag Rug, Sunken Living Room, and Hermès Wallpaper: A Vintage-Loving Model’s Hollywood Dream Home

When Brynn Jones and her fiancé, Ness Saban, first set foot inside their Hollywood Hills house, they felt like they were stepping into another era. The three-bedroom, Robert Lee–designed split-level still boasted many of its original mid-century features—right down to the shag carpet in the sunken living room. “We both really fell in love with all of it: the wood-paneled walls, the big brick fireplace, and the amount of natural light that comes through the house,” recounts Jones, a self-proclaimed vintage lover who recently opened her own boutique in Los Angeles. The couple knew immediately they’d found a gem—a place brimming with character that they’d be thrilled to call home.

Still, the house, which was built in 1963, was definitely in need of a few updates. The kitchen, in particular, “was very insane,” says Jones, laughing. “Each cupboard was covered in a different blown-up fashion photo, so it was kind of like walking into a giant fashion collage. Up until the remodel, it was quite the conversation piece when we hosted parties.”

Though the couple didn’t foresee having to make a ton of other major changes, they still thought it best to call in reinforcements. So, they tapped Frances Merrill—a designer known for creating immersive, personality-driven interiors—of the Los Angeles–based firm Reath Design. It was a match made in aesthetic heaven—especially since all three agreed that preserving the groovy, ’60s-era swagger was a priority. “This house had already stood the test of time—the wood paneling, the brick fireplace—it was all perfectly worn in,” says Merrill. “We found it all pretty vibe-y and we just wanted to keep the good vibes flowing,” says Jones, agreeing.

First up in the good-vibe redux was eliminating the light gray hue that dominated much of the interior’s wood trim. “We painted all the existing doors and built-ins emerald green. It set the palette and gave the house a warmth and cohesiveness that had been missing,” Merrill explains. After that, a series of small additions and tweaks—printed Hermès wallpaper and custom cabinets in the office, a custom leather daybed from Garza Marfa in the living room, and new carpet throughout—rounded out the decor. “We actually replaced the carpet in the living room with one identical to what had been there,” Merrill notes.

Finally, it was time to tackle that “very insane” kitchen. “Our goal with the kitchen remodel was to create a space that could evolve and improve with time, keeping pace with the rest of the house,” explains Merrill. To achieve that, she embarked on a complete rebuild with custom walnut-trimmed cabinetry and an acid green tiled backsplash from Heath Ceramics—a choice that proved surprisingly uncontroversial. “I really love chartreuse and was really happy that Ness was open to making it the tile color for our backsplash,” Jones admits. A series of open shelves provided the ideal display for the couple’s collection of glasses—some vintage and some handblown by Saban’s mother.

Other cherished pieces from the couple’s personal collections found easy homes, too: A painting gifted from Saban’s parents presides over the dining room table, a framed photo of Jones’s grandmother as a baby sits on a windowsill, and a series of Polaroids featuring friends plasters one wall of the bathroom. It’s a mix that Merrill says allows the couple’s individual personalities to shine through. “When a client comes to us with a variety of things they have collected over time, it makes our job much easier. Brynn and Ness have excellent style and the architecture of the house is so striking. Once we combined that with their wish to have a vibe-y house for all their friends to hang out in, the design flowed easily.”

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