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Heart of the Matter
By Maile Pingel | Photo: AVABLU | February 11, 2016
For skincare guru Ole Henriksen and interior designer Laurence Roberts, life at their Hollywood Hills home is a celebration of love.
“It’s been 31 years of bliss, fun and adventure,” says beauty expert Ole Henriksen of life with interior designer Laurence Roberts. For the last 14 years, the couple has called a cozy West Hollywood Colonial home, a place made all the more dear to them as it was the site of their wedding seven years ago. Built in 1937, the 3,400-square-foot house is rumored to be by renowned architect Paul Williams. “But I have a lot more research to do!” says Roberts. Regardless of pedigree, the house, which sits at an angle above Sunset Boulevard, is arguably one of the city’s most idyllic abodes.
The front door opens to a double-height entry hall with a curving staircase (a hallmark of Williams’), and because the home tucks into the hillside, terracing creates a clever flow of rooms—down a few steps here, up a few steps there. “It had good bones but needed help,” says Roberts of his initial look at the home, but the decision to buy didn’t take long. “We redid the floors, the roof, the electrical—all of that, but kept the charm.” The designer took the kitchen down to the studs but retained the original cabinetry, just adding doors to the open cabinets to create a cleaner look, something Henriksen appreciates. “Clutter overwhelms me,” he says. “I don’t believe in complicating life; keep it orderly, keep it basic.” And that’s precisely the philosophy that grounds Henriksen’s whole approach to health and well-being: Just as exfoliation reveals healthier skin, simplifying life reveals what’s most important. “We’re easygoing,” Henriksen adds; “family is everything for us.” The couple frequently hosts relatives (there’s a trundle bed in the converted maid’s quarters and space for a crib in the guest room) and travel to Europe often, especially to visit Henriksen’s mother in his native Denmark.
But work is still extremely important to the couple and vital to their happiness. Upstairs, near a gallery of vintage photographs (and a portrait of one of Henriksen’s longtime clients, supermodel Linda Evangelista), is the couple’s shared office. Roberts’ desk overlooks the interior courtyard, while Henriksen’s looks onto the terraces, where they have placed antique planters, a cabana and Henriksen’s rings and parallel bars. “I’m like a monkey—gymnastics are my meditation!” he says with a laugh.
“We like our house; we live in our house,” adds Roberts, a successful hairstylist before friends introduced him to an Academy Award-winning producer who needed help with her Holmby Hills estate. It was a two-year project, and he’s been designing ever since. This year he’ll start work on a Malibu residence with architect Richard Landry, as well as a small addition to their own master bedroom. “I’m very hands-on. I like working with people, really getting to know and understand them,” he explains, adding that potential clients visiting the couple’s home has often led to commissions.
Despite being layered with luxury furnishings (from designers like Paul László, Michael Berman and Rose Tarlow) and an art collection that includes Damien Hirst and Ed Moses, the house radiates a relaxed spirit. “I’m drawn to ’20s, ’30s and ’40s design,” says Roberts, “so the furniture is pretty architectural—with clean fabrics to show off the lines.” Throughout the home are personal touches too. “We display gifts from friends and family, and things we’ve bought on trips—there’s a story behind everything,” offers Henriksen, whose seventh book will be published later this year.
Though the house is essentially finished, Roberts can’t help but change things up now and then, often with artworks, which he places to create moments of contemplation or motivation. “Laurence always has a surprise up his sleeve,” Henriksen says with delight. “Home means everything to us, and I really appreciate getting back where I belong after being on the road.”
So whether it’s making breakfast or answering calls, Roberts and Henriksen are just happy to be at home. And when asked independently what they love most about the house, they say exactly the same thing: an evening in the living room, fireplace and candles going, a glass of wine for one and a coffee for the other, simply reading and relaxing. “This house has heart and soul,” says Henriksen. “It just wraps itself around you.”
Entry lantern and sconces, and living room chandelier
Dining room chairs
Kitchen tile, stone and marble
Sub-Zero and Wolf
Ovens, range and refrigerator
Fountain, plants and planters