Tour the Los Angeles Home of the Rising Stars Behind SIMO Design
“To be completely honest, it wasn’t love at first sight,” Rennalls confesses. “We could see the potential outcome, but it was under an excess of distracting materials all screaming at the same time. We knew we would have to touch every surface and there was nothing we could salvage.”
What drew Gnatovich and Rennalls to the property, however, was its sheer scale along with unique spaces and details. “It was important to us to merge the heavy molding with the clean lines, which you have to do the right way to combine those worlds,” Gnatovich says. “We looked at the Chanel store in Paris and [ancient] stone buildings of storefronts that honored the push and pull of old and new.”
One of the duo’s main challenges consisted of designing spaces that felt open and connected without losing the discretion of individual rooms. “We solved the problem by creating exaggerated openings, particularly between the dining and living room; we utilized large pocket doors where necessary for added flexibility as well,” Rennalls explains.
The dramatic, voluminous entry, which was simply (and solely) furnished with a sculptural table, is Rennalls’s favorite part of the project. “The boxy exterior of the house contrasts with this winding curvy stairway,” she says. “We eliminated the base molding that is in the rest of the house and kept a simple reveal. We wanted the eye to just focus on the curve of line from the railing.”
For Gnatovich, the home’s strongest elements are the kitchen and its marble island: “I love how it opens up to a farmhouse table under four mature olive trees where we enjoy the indoor-outdoor living that California is famous for,” he says.
Marrying old and new throughout was at the heart of the home’s interior design scheme, where traditional and modern elements meet in an atmosphere filled with neutral colors, a limited selection of materials, and furniture pieces with endless character and soul. “We didn’t want anything to be too crisp,” Rennalls says. Lime wash paint has such beautiful subtlety; if the colors were too white, some of that subtlety would have gotten lost…. I try to source vintage furniture as much as possible. I like it when you buy something and it feels like it had a life before you owned it. I also think it helps to soften the edges of a space if things are already worn in.”
As much as Gnatovich and Rennalls love their home, the duo also feels it is time to move on. “It is more space than we need, really,” Gnatovich notes. “Sometimes we lose the animals for hours. I think this is ultimately why we are [going to sell the house]. There are some rooms we don’t even go in, primarily the secondary bedrooms, so we are really looking forward to downsizing.”
Their next project? A house on the East Side of Los Angeles in the Los Feliz Oak neighborhood that they have been working on for nearly three years. The reveal is planned for the spring of 2021.