The Los Angeles home that actress Sasha Alexander (Shameless, Rizzoli & Isles) and her husband, director Edoardo Ponti, purchased was a far cry from the airy and bright space you see today. “It didn’t have a lot of light. It had a lot of dark, painted walls—like dark blues, reds, and oranges—so it felt a little like a caveman’s house,” Alexander says. Interior designer Estee Stanley adds that the walls were faux-finished in Tuscan-style oranges and reds.
Alexander, Ponti, and Stanley were all in agreeance about one thing, though: the Spanish-style home had fantastic architecture, including beautiful archways, elegant built-ins, and charming windows. “When my husband and I saw it, we both fell in love with it immediately,” Alexander says. “The home had great bones and a lot of character.” "The house itself," Stanley continues, "I could see that it could be fantastic.”
Scroll down to see the stunning transformation.
First, Alexander decided that “the most important thing to do was to strip the house down to its bare bones, which was white, and to add a lot of light to it.” Stanley replaced practically everything in the house that could be replaced: “We added all new doors, bigger doors that lead to outside, new floors, all-new bathrooms, and a brand-new kitchen,” she says. “We painted and stained all the woods. We did literally everything.”
The most important thing to do was to strip the house down to its bare bones, which was white, and to add a lot of light to it.
A Danish architecture book that Alexander had discovered became the inspiration for much of the new woodwork throughout the home. “I found this amazing wood in it, which was whitewashed oak, and I loved its warmth,” she says. They ended up using it throughout the house: in the kitchen cabinetry (along with other white cabinets), bathroom cabinetry, and custom armoires in the primary bedroom, which Stanley designed. “I think it brings continuity to the house, which was something that Estee taught me,” Alexander says. “It’s okay for things to be the same in different rooms. That’s what brings stuff together.”
The term “Primary Bedroom” is now widely used to describe the largest bedroom in the home, as it better reflects the space’s purpose. Many realtors, architects, interior designers, and the Real Estate Standards Association have recognized the potentially discriminatory connotations in the term “Master.” Read more about our Diversity and Inclusion Pledge.
When it came time to decorate, Stanley says she and her clients were “really all on the same page with style.” Stanley mixed the couple’s existing collection of French and Italian antiques (including a set of ancient French Louis XV dining chairs) with thoughtful fabric selections, custom-made pieces, and new modern designs, tying the home’s Spanish-style architecture in with a more fresh, contemporary California lifestyle. "It was important for it to be light and bright and eclectic and that it reflected our European families and lifestyle—you know casual, sexy, but chic," Alexander says. Ponti has even coined a term for their style—“urban romantic"—thanks to its warm, sophisticated mix of wood, steel, big windows, and French details.
With the exception of a few touches of color in the children’s rooms (Lucia, 8, and Leonardo, 4), the trio agreed on a subdued base for the house. “I think all of us really love more of a neutral palette because it’s just more soothing and calming,” Stanley says. Alexander admitted she worried that going all-white could look boring, but Stanley convinced her that “bringing in other textures and colors with fabrics and wood and things like that,” would keep things interesting—and they certainly did.
In addition to the home’s soothing color palette, Alexander says, “The house had good energy when we first walked in…, and it still does.” What more could you ask for?