Though she no longer lives in it, actress, author, and The Honest Company co-founder Jessica Alba tells us she has a soft spot for her first big purchase, a tree house–like two-bedroom home in Los Angeles. “After buying it when I was younger, pretty much anything that I made I would invest back into that house, so I have a fondness for it,” she says. Keen to hold onto it, Alba decided to transform the spare home into a vacation rental and guesthouse, so she hired Los Angeles–based Consort Design, co-founded by Domaine creative director Mat Sanders, to give the space a dream makeover.
Decorating the home for a traveler, rather than for herself or a family, Alba imagined sort of a mashup of a hotel and a house. “I travel a lot and if there was a house like mine to stay in instead of a hotel, I would want to stay in my house,” she explains. “So I’m just thinking of someone who travels and who wants a cozy but luxurious and safe place to be. That’s sort of the vibe.” Consort co-founder Brandon Quattrone tells us some of the home’s architectural features, like its spiral staircase and library mezzanine, which have an old world feel to them, influenced the design as well. “As a rental property, we wanted the house to have a bit of fantasy, so we drew inspiration from our favorite hotels with an old world vibe, like The Bowery and Gramercy Park hotels in New York City,” he says.
Aesthetically, Alba wanted the home to feel “like a nautical jewel box.” Its predominantly blue color palette certainly helped to achieve that maritime look. “At one point, we started referring to this project as ‘the blue house’ because we ended up choosing a blue from Farrow & Ball in almost every room, with the exception of one gray room,” Sanders says.
"The best part about the home is its soaring 20-foot ceilings and hilltop views," Quattrone says. "We wanted to draw the eye up, so we turned to The Shade Store for window treatments with bold borders that would sing in the space and direct your eye out to the incredible scenery."
A beautiful collection of vintage furniture and décor, including chrome lamps, midcentury modern armchairs and French headboards, gives the space its bijou vibe. The standout pieces, from a mix of eras and in a range of styles, create the sense that the pieces had been collected over time, much like a box of jewelry. “The biggest life-saver” for curating these gems, Sanders says, was online vintage marketplace Chairish, “which made it remarkably easy to find incredible vintage furniture in our area.”
Sanders tells us he and partner Quattrone designed the space with imaginary inhabitants in mind. “In our heads, the owners were an adventure-seeking, globe-trotting couple,” he says. To create a worldly look, the designers chose a spirited collection of artwork with vibrant hues and a mix of subjects. “With the exception of a couple of fun flea market finds, we turned to Natural Curiosities for artwork,” he says. “They were the perfect source for nailing that well-traveled feel.”
The biggest challenge for the designers was telling the story of Alba’s “very mindful and eco-friendly lifestyle through the decorating process,” Quattrone tells us. (Alba’s brand The Honest Co. is dedicated to eco-friendly home and baby products.) To stay true to that, the designers used water-based low-VOC paints, sustainable carpeting by FLOR, and organic mattresses by Naturepedic, and “all the custom upholstery was locally produced using non-toxic filling,” Quattrone says.
The house itself is quite all-natural in a way, so it’s no surprise that Alba was drawn to it. “It feels like a treehouse sort of. It’s just incredibly serene… you’re in the middle of nature—all you see are skies and trees and the tops of houses,” she says. “I love that there’s so much natural light, the location is perfect, and it’s super-safe.”
Sound like a place you’d like to stay next time you’re in Los Angeles? Call or email Mark Alba at email@example.com or 909-474-2013 to inquire about renting the property.
Do you love the look of this “nautical jewel box”? Tell us in the comments below whether this resonates with your style.