- The Hamptons
- Las Vegas
- Los Angeles
- New York
- Orange County
- Palm Beach
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- Silicon Valley
- Washington, D.C.
By Maile Pingel | Photo: by Roger Davies | Portrait by Stephen Busken | July 23, 2018
With a Craftsman bungalow in the Hollywood Hills and a condo in West Hollywood’s Sierra Towers, actor Clark Duke lives the best of both worlds.
Architecturally speaking, Clark Duke’s L.A. homes couldn’t be more opposite—a century-old bungalow in the Hills and a midcentury high-rise condo—but inside they are one in spirit. Created with L.A. designer Oliver M. Furth, who first came to Duke’s attention in a Wall Street Journal article, the interiors of each home are deeply reflective of Duke’s interests, which range from comic books to luxury design.
“It’s two facets of the same person,” says Furth, explaining that the house, with its pool and garden, is Duke’s primary residence while the condo is for entertaining. Duke, an Arkansas native, is an actor, writer and director (and a painter in his downtime) known for roles in films like Hot Tub Time Machine and television shows including the U.S.-version of The Office and I’m Dying Up Here. He had already begun collecting but wanted to take it to the next level. Enter Furth, a designer known for his academic approach and objects-driven rooms.
“We’d planned to start lightly but it developed into something more intense,” says Furth, noting his client’s interest in learning and asking questions. “I’d say the defining moment came when I was reading about Memphis design and I called Oliver and said, ‘Could we make my house look like this?’” remembers Duke. It was music to Furth’s ears, and in came Ettore Sottsass’s Carlton bookcase for the sitting room near Duke’s master bedroom. (Designed in 1981, just a few years before Duke was born, it is perhaps the most recognizable of all Memphis pieces—radical, postmodern designs that became a phenomena throughout the decade.)
“That was the piece. That purchase felt like joining the major leagues,” adds Duke. Buoying his client’s interest in the Memphis Group, Furth introduced Duke to its only American member, L.A. artist Peter Shire, from whom they commissioned the dining room console. “To not just be collecting but working directly with an artist I admired felt like a turning point,” continues Duke. The role of teacher isn’t unfamiliar to Furth; in fact, he seems to relish playing design Sherpa. “I don’t have ‘blank check, see ya in six months’ clients. They tend to be smart, creative people interested in taking a journey,” he says.
Throughout the home, Furth—who also runs roving design gallery Furth Yashar & with his partner, Sean Yashar—melded artworks by John Baldessari and Frank Stella with designers like India Mahdavi, Tanya Aguiñiga, Jonathan Zawada, Bari Ziperstein, Elyse Graham and Ben Medansky, all set against a backdrop of Porter Teleo wallpapers. Important pieces even appear in the kitchen, where Furth placed a chair by Italian artists Giorgia Zanellato and Coralla Maiuri. But it isn’t all avant-garde. Duke inherited his great-grandmother’s dining table and china cabinet, and there are plenty of recliners in guy-friendly fabrics. “It was totally fun,” recalls Furth of bringing it all together.
That same energy fills the condo, just a stone’s throw away from the house. “Sierra Towers still feels like Clark but not so heavy-handed,” Furth says. “The neutral envelope of the architecture tones it down; it’s very urban.” Artworks by Warhol and Ruscha meld with more Memphis pieces (Marco Zanini and Sottsass vases) but the 1950s Aldo Tura drinks trolley is a surprise. “It’s a little early for Clark’s collecting period but it captures the ethos of its moment—and we wanted to look backwards and forwards a bit,” explains Furth. “Oliver introduced to me the idea that every piece is an opportunity to make a meaningful decision for a room,” adds Duke.
But there were other lessons, too. “Don’t stress about painting a room because you can always paint it a different color later. I know that sounds simple but realizing every decision wasn’t so permanent felt very freeing,” says the actor. As daring as they are disciplined, it’s no wonder Duke and Furth just clicked.
Home and Condominium
Los Angeles Interior Design
Oliver M. Furth
Decorative Carpets by Stark
Living room rugs (house and condo), guest bedroom (condo)
Design Within Reach
Living room club chairs and Le Corbusier chaise, Frank Gehry balcony stools (condo)
Holland & Sherry
Living room sofa fabrics (house and condo)
Carlo Mollino dining room side chairs, library and study stools, Marco Zanuso sitting room armchair (house); entryway mirror, Piet Hein Eek dining room side table, Aldo Tura bar cart (condo)
Nightstand and console (condo)
India Mahdavi stools in the billiards room (house)
Rogers & Goffigon
Dining room drapery fabric (condo)
The Future Perfect
Reinaldo Sanguino table and De La Espada chairs in the breakfast room (condo)
The Rug Company
Dining room and study rugs (house)