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Celebrity Dining: Home Tour: Inside This Couple’s Chic Hollywood Pied-A-Terre By Nate Berkus

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Celebrity Dining: Home Tour: Inside This Couple’s Chic Hollywood Pied-A-Terre By Nate Berkus

Celebrity Dining:

Celebrity Dining: Home Tour: Inside This Couple's Chic Hollywood Pied-A-Terre By Nate Berkus

n the terrace, a custom tufted sofa by Perennials Very Terry/ Paper Bag from The Flemming Group, Los Angeles and a pair of solid oak cube side tables by Rose Uniacke stand on checkerboard flooring by Clé tile

Businessmen Joey Luna and Lee Imperial collaborate with celebrity interior designer, Nate Berkus, to create a chic Hollywood pied-a-terre

“Based in Las Vegas and having to travel to Manila for business many times a year, my partner, Lee Imperial, and I found ourselves having to stop in Los Angeles each time we boarded a plane,” shares the international businessman, Joey Luna. “Having both lived in Los Angeles most of our lives, we decided that it was time to create a pied-a-terre in a city we both love.” So in 2017, the couple purchased a 93-square metre apartment nestled right above the Sunset Strip in a 1960s building with both a Hollywood and a rock’n’roll pedigree.

“One of the previous owners of our apartment happened to be a set designer for the Star Trek movies. When we first walked into the space, we realised that the kitchen resembled the command centre of the Starship Enterprise!” exclaims Luna. “Although I was not convinced that the preparation of chicken adobo would match the setting, the explosive view of the entire city, which ran the full length of the apartment, was a signal that we found our LA home.”

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Celebrity Dining: The owners Lee Imperial and Joey Luna (John Lichtwardt)

The owners Lee Imperial and Joey Luna (John Lichtwardt)

“One of the previous owners of our apartment happened to be a set designer for the Star Trek movies. When we first walked into the space, we realised that the kitchen resembled the command centre of the Starship Enterprise!” exclaims Luna. “Although I was not convinced that the preparation of chicken adobo would match the setting, the explosive view of the entire city, which ran the full length of the apartment, was a signal that we found our LA home.”

Celebrity Dining: The interior designer Nate Berkus

The interior designer Nate Berkus

Working together with celebrity interior designer, Nate Berkus, the couple wanted to create an abode that could maximise space and storage without sacrificing style. “Very often, the biggest challenge of a small apartment is storage,” the homeowner says. “Nate addressed that by researching yachts and the manner by which many of these floating vessels can become truly luxurious functional homes.” 

Berkus echoes the sentiment. “Space was at a premium, and we wanted to transform the apartment into somewhat of a ship—maximum storage while still feeling minimal and very international, like our dear clients and their lives.” This was achieved by meticulously measuring all the items and purposefully plotting out where they would be stored. “Once the project was completed, both Lee and I were in awe that we have more clothing and kitchen storage in our LA apartment than we have in our bigger home in Las Vegas,” says Luna. A perfect example of this is the king-size bed. Custom designed by Berkus, it has several built-in compartments. Berkus shares that “hidden behind many walls are closets for everything, from glassware to shoes”.

Celebrity Dining: The kitchen is equipped with an elegant La Cornue stove and hood

The kitchen is equipped with an elegant La Cornue stove and hood

Celebrity Dining: Italian 195src’s painted green enamel and brass oval sconces by IKB 191 strike a contrast with a Steve Martin 1974 photograph by Norman Seef

Italian 1950’s painted green enamel and brass oval sconces by IKB 191 strike a contrast with a Steve Martin 1974 photograph by Norman Seef

The one-bedroom apartment retains all the functionality necessary for smaller spaces while exuding an elegant yet cosy feel. “Two words came to mind when we were thinking of the design process,” Luna says. “Efficient and personal.” Contrary to most small spaces, Berkus and the homeowners resisted the urge to open up the kitchen; instead, French windows were installed that open into the living room and consequently, the view. “The result is quite brilliant!” he effuses. The highlight of the kitchen is the gorgeous black and gold La Cornue stove, paired with shaker style cabinetry and more gold accents, that gives a French countryside vibe rather than a condo feel.

“The main concern was to retain the elegance and quality of the renovation and design, while bridging a multi-cultural style that would speak to both homeowners,” says Berkus. “Plus, maximise storage and provide a soft place to land between their extensive travel.” With a mix of sentimental items, artwork collected over the years and poignantly purchased new additions, the home is full of beautiful design paradoxes. The chevron parquet flooring, vintage urn lamps and gilded mirror add that old world charm while mid-century lighting such as the 1960s Arlus chandelier and the 1950s Italian brass and enamel green wall sconces in the bedroom lend a nice contrast. “A mix of periods and styles make a home feel timeless to me. We worked with many vintage and antiques dealers from all over the globe. We wanted the design to feel well-travelled, eclectic and unique,” the designer adds.

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Celebrity Dining: An artwork by Romeo Britto, iron and glass doors by Pinky’s Iron Doors and a 195src’s Italian Stilnovo floor lamp by IKB 191 on 1stdibs make for a timeless vignette in one corner of the home

An artwork by Romeo Britto, iron and glass doors by Pinky’s Iron Doors and a 1950’s Italian Stilnovo floor lamp by IKB 191 on 1stdibs make for a timeless vignette in one corner of the home

When asked about some of his favourite pieces, Luna shares: “A vintage Austrian Chiffonier from 1830 juxtaposed with a modern pivot sconce in brass by Christopher Gentner at the entryway. This is the prologue to our LA home. It immediately tells a story of an unexpected and yet perfect pairing.”

The wildcard was the French, Jean Royère-inspired coffee table from the 1980s. Made of travertine and metal, the funky and unusual piece of furniture was a bone of contention. “Lee and I could not agree on this,” shares Luna. “I loved it. He didn’t. Nate finally stepped in to break the tie and insist that it is the right choice. Seeing it with all the other pieces in our apartment, Lee agrees that is indeed the right choice!”

Berkus describes the design process with Luna and Imperial as being “magical”. He explains, “There was no ego involved. It was about having the best idea win, every time.” Luna expresses the same sentiments. “He always made us feel that we were in good hands every step of the way. Nate and every member of his team took the time to truly understand how Lee and I live, from the moment we wake up to greet the world to the time we say goodnight, Nate wanted our apartment to meet and if possible exceed all the functional expectations we had of our new home.”

Celebrity Dining: A 198srcs French travertine and metal coffee table in the style of Jean Royere from AFD Warehouse on 1stdibs instantly catches the eye in the living room

A 1980s French travertine and metal coffee table in the style of Jean Royere from AFD Warehouse on 1stdibs instantly catches the eye in the living room

Taking into consideration the flow of their day is best reflected in the mindfully designed lighting plan. “Light switches and controls were not just randomly placed; they were choreographed,” says the homeowner. “We walked through the space and were asked which areas of the space we would like to illuminate as we entered. We were also made aware that with a spectacular city view, there are times that we may want the view by itself to illuminate the space and therefore have lighting that enhances that feature.”

Celebrity Dining: In the entryway is an Austrian 183srcs Inlaid Tambour Chiffonier
and a pivot single-arm wall sconce by Gentner Design, both from 1stdibs

In the entryway is an Austrian 1830s Inlaid Tambour Chiffonier
and a pivot single-arm wall sconce by Gentner Design, both from 1stdibs

Celebrity Dining: The shower features iron and glass doors by Pinky’s Iron Doors and flooring by Clé tile Zellige in Weathered White and Scribes Ink

The shower features iron and glass doors by Pinky’s Iron Doors and flooring by Clé tile Zellige in Weathered White and Scribes Ink

When asked what his favourite part of the home is, Luna declares: “Nate has made it so difficult to choose a favourite space! From the marble sink in the bathroom which was carved from a single slab of stone, to the unexpected sofa on the balcony which extends our living space and is the perfect meditation spot every morning, being in our LA apartment feels like we are living in a perfectly appointed suite at one of the finest hotels in the world! The only difference is we get to call it home.”

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