Having resolved to take the building down to its studs, Pompeo and Bullard seized the opportunity to rethink everything from room configurations and spatial flow to materials and finishes. Windows were enlarged to enhance light and capture sweeping vistas. Existing floors, mostly polished wood, were swapped out for vintage limestone pavers, reclaimed terra-cotta tiles, and planks of textured French oak. And antiqued moldings were added. «The house was scrubbed of patina over the years, so we went to great lengths to revive a sense of age and dignity,» Bullard explains.
The voluminous living room perhaps best exemplifies the sensibility of the revitalized interiors. Bullard blew out the stingy six-and-a-half-foot-tall wood-framed French doors and replaced them with sleek iron-and-glass versions that soar to 11 feet, flooding the space with natural light. He then filled the room with boldly scaled bespoke furnishings that balance grandeur and intimacy: sofas invitingly upholstered in brown mohair velvet, 1940s-style club chairs covered in blue silk velvet, and a cowhide carpet with an arabesque pattern. And just beyond those French doors is a spacious new terrace offering glorious views. «The living room is where I had my Joan Crawford moment,» Pompeo remarks, referring to a famous home-renovation scene in the movie Mommie Dearest.
The emendations didn’t stop there. In the area behind the house, what had been a steep, somewhat inaccessible wilderness is now a terraced playland with a stone double staircase that leads down to a swimming pool and cabana worthy of Esther Williams. Designed with the L.A. firm Inner Gardens, the landscape also features an outdoor kitchen with a pizza oven and a kitchen garden for vegetables, fruit trees, and a chicken coop. «It’s a total organic fantasy,» Bullard says.
At the front of the house, a drab courtyard was transformed into a Mediterranean-style garden replete with 50-year-old olive trees strung with wicker light fixtures, a 19th-century French fountain, and a generous dining setup. For convenience Bullard added a set of French doors leading directly to the manorial kitchen, an erstwhile warren of four poky rooms that have been combined into a cook’s paradise large enough to contain the entire household staff of Downton Abbey—or, in Pompeo’s case, lots of friends and family.
In fact, when it comes to socializing, Pompeo and Ivery have no shortage of accommodations. Chief among them is the lower-level lounge, a sultry lair tricked out with exotic Moroccan accents beneath a ceiling of distressed gold leaf. Off to the side of this clubby parlor is Bullard’s coup de théâtre: a dazzling hammam clad in veined Turkish marble, with niches lined in mirrored mosaic tile.
«The hammam is wonderfully decadent,» Pompeo enthuses. «Crazy follies were not uncommon in movie-star palaces built around the same time as this house, so it’s hardly out of left field. It’s exactly what Martyn and I were going for—classic L.A. luxe with a contemporary twist.» The result feels right for today. And more important, she adds, «right for our family.»