Interior designer Enrique Crespo loves a challenge. When one of his favorite clients invited him to transform a mod L.A. pad into a whimsical wonderland, he unleashed a palette of wild sophistication and harmony. Crespo took Nikki DeBartol and Chad Chronister’s posh Beverly Hills hideaway from delightfully decorative to disco-licious.
Using colorful Italian fabrics, Pierre Frey draperies, custom-made furniture, color-changing glass tile, imaginative Trove wallpaper undulating with graffiti or floating feathers, inventive Tampa Bay art and avant-garde lighting, Crespo created a West Coast haven for Nikki and family.
It was a dream project for Tampa Bay-based Crespo. “I design for people, I don’t have a certain look. I love modern and color and what was great about Nikki is she loves taking chances and shares my sensibilities and passion for modern and transitional design.
Crespo worked with a blank palette of stark white linear architecture, soaring ceilings, natural California lighting pouring in through glass doors and windows. With 6,000 square feet to play with (five bedrooms, 5 and baths) that overlook Beverly Hills and Century City, adding color and personality to what was previously Justin Bieber’s rental home required balance and imagination.
“Good design happens when you think outside the box and take a chance. Nikki loves color and we were able to be adventurous but well balanced and flowing from room to room and bringing the indoors and outdoors seamlessly together,” says Crespo. “Nikki picked most of the artwork from Tampa’s CASS (Contemporary Art Space & Studio), so we wanted to make sure we integrated the art’s colors into each room’s drapes, fabrics, furniture and wall treatments.” Continued on the next page.
Art Rules: Crespo’s design flowed from the pop art as a focal point. “Nikki has always been interested in contemporary art pieces, particularly art that represents the new contemporary movement. Many artists that appeal to her are icons of the graffiti and street art scene. You can see by the images of the house, there is a cohesive theme, from the decor to the artwork. Her collection displays a variety of artists, emerging to establishment,” says Cassie Greatens, owner of CASS.
The Beverly Hills home has a local connection. Two of the artists (Tesone, Bask) currently live in Tampa Bay, and Mark Oliver grew up here and graduated from USF with a degree in sculpture. The CASS art posse (including acclaimed Mr. Brainwash’s Life Is Beautiful neon tease and living room wall mural) portray a bicoastal mish mash of brash street art and murals that are all the rage now in downtown St. Pete and Grand Central’s mural explosion.
Next to Aphrodite is an exquisite custom carpet from Nepal in blue with yellow splashed and a lighting installation that changes color, mood lighting that is all hip high tech, making for a dramatic space.
But it’s the foyer from the main door to the backyard that is the jaw-dropping show stopper. The spiral glass Space Rainbow dangling from the ceiling matches the colors in the custom made Bazaar Velvet rug and French console topped with Calla lilies in tall glass vales.
With towering glass windows looking out on the verandah’s pool, hot tub and waterfall feature, Crespo created an outdoor living space with a big sectional for entertaining, a dining area and lounge chairs in similar colors to the interior accented by gray Missoni pillows and turquoise umbrellas.
Not Your Grandmother’s Wallpaper: Wallpaper as art is a huge part of this home’s magic. “Wallpaper adds a layer of texture you can’t get through painting, adding visual interest,” says Crespo. “A good example is the Powder Room’s Trove graffiti wallpaper which gives this party house a whimsical, and colorful look.” Illuminated by sparkling Murano glassbeads, a glass vessel sink and a matte silver cabinetry finish, this bathroom is a Studio 54 wannabe.
Another guest bathroom features Trove blue wallpaper with images of falling angel’s wings caught in fishing line, a seaworthy motif played out in some of the house’s Sharknado-inspired artwork.
Sleep Style: Indigo and baby blue tones create an ocean theme for her son’s bedroom from walls to draperies, complete with bunk beds, and a blue and white pebble patterned custom rug. A retro egg-shaped white “Mork and Mindy” chair with coral red color cushion insets creates another surprise in the kids’ room to mirror the art.
The other four bedrooms, some with inset fireplaces and flat screen televisions, showcase both the art and dramatic custom mural wallpaper. In the master bedroom, the Trove “Falling Feathers wallpaper, white Knoll chair, glass desk and custom-designed rug mirroring the drapery and wallpaper colors keeps the room very light, very sculptural.
Entertaining In Style: In addition to the al fresco havens, the kitchen/dining and living rooms are the heart of the home. In the svelte kitchen/dining area, Pierre Frey’s graffiti wallpaper inspired Crespo for the house’s palette. The sleek Cosina glass dining room table and sophisticated cream-colored Italian chairs host fabulous dinner parties while casual lunches can be enjoyed in the kitchen while sitting on modern acrylic stools, illuminated by the Foscarini white sculptural light fixture.
The living room is equally inviting, with a circular Roche Bobois sofa, round rug and Restoration Hardware chandelier to soften the house’s angular architecture. The pillows and draperies are all Missoni, and the sliding glass doors stack all the way open so the outside becomes a natural part of the interior space.
A gorgeous white bar with a glass countertop and with bright turquoise bar stools ups the fun factor. At the back of the bar, acrylic boxes hang on the color changing glass tiles, transforming the liquor bottles into vibrant sculptures.
The Big Bang: Crespo loves the fluid sculptural feel of the home. By defining the pristine white architecture with pops of color (drapery, art, wallpaper, rugs) and the blue and yellow palette Nikki wanted, Crespo disrupted everyone’s expectations. “In California, everything is grey and light—tan and taupe. But when people, even the contractors, walked into this house, they were blown away.
Nikki collects art like snowflakes, each one a unique conversational piece for her homes in Tampa and Beverly Hills. At The Disco House, CASS featured innovative artists including Hijack (Bleeding Heart), Hueman (Next Afternoon), James Verbicky (Vasina), Retina (Untitled), Tatiana Suarez (Nadi), Tristan Eaton (Goodnight), Brent Estabrook (Unthink Everything), Derek Gores (Lady Danger, Mission Control, Air Scream, Frequency Flyer) and Sharktoof (Nature’s Dandelion, Nature’s Setting Sun) and Brainwash (Not Guilty).
Perhaps one of the most intriguing pieces is Space Rainbow by Mark Joseph Oliver and Casey Johnson. Oliver and Johnson wanted to create an exciting, intriguing artwork as a celebration of the physical space it inhabits in Nikki’s home, as well as a far-off space where only the sound of rocket ships can be heard.
Learn more about Crespo Design Group and CASS by visiting crespodesigngroup.com and casscontemporary.com.