Richard Hallberg likes to go back in time—way back, to ancient Rome. “When designing a house, inside and out, I always start with square one, Roman architecture, for its embrace of symmetry,” says the Los Angeles interior designer, who is also the owner and co-founder of Formations, the West Hollywood maker of furnishings and accessories, most of which expertly reference historical precedents. “I believe that symmetry can create a focused calmness for people. For me, architecture and interiors are tied together,” he insists. “It’s hard for me to conceive any interiors without also conceiving the architecture.”
When Hallberg was commissioned by the owners of this Brentwood house, he was shown a floorplan and renderings for a residence not yet built. The client, a noted television personality and host, recalls driving to Formations to show him those plans. “I knew there was something about those original plans that just didn’t sit right with me,” she recalls, “and when I kept hearing about Richard and his reputation, I wanted his opinion.” The moment she walked into Formations and found herself immersed in its atmosphere of creativity unlike any she had ever seen, she knew that she and Hallberg shared a common aesthetic. “He looked at the drawings and said to me, ‘Give me a week with these.’ I came back a week later; he handed me finished drawings and said, ‘This is the house I think you should build.’ And we did.”
A few years back, when the homeowners purchased this property, there was an existing California Spanish-style house already there, dating from 1927. So taken with its architecture were the couple that they didn’t at first see its flaws—not only the small, cramped rooms typical of the era, but also the leaking roof, the worn floorboards, the drafty windows. While the architectural style was what they wanted, the house’s aged bones were not. They tore down most of the existing house and rebuilt what Hallberg had drawn: a more modern, even more authentic version of the Spanish-style house endemic to Southern California.
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INTERIOR DESIGN BY RICHARD HALLBERG
PHOTOGRAPHY BY BELMOND
PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY BY CLAIRE BARKER
WRITTEN BY JO RODGERS
This story appeared in the Spring 2021 issue of MILIEU.