Eclectic Homes

Bamboo Gardens Inspire a Serene California Home

When interior designer Tim Clarke was hired to work on a house in Pacific Palisades, California, the home had already been gutted down to the studs. “My customers required to make a 1960s house with large rooms but low ceilings feel great, up-to-date and modern, while also taking advantage of an indoor-outdoor lifestyle,” Clarke says. “I find inspiration from the open-plan tropical houses in places like Bali, Hawaii and Brazil, in which the separation between exterior and interior is sometimes nonexistent.”

Clarke took his signature “native forests” approach, which borrows organic materials like wood, stone, sand, shells and glass, and the elements of air, earth, water and fire. “The decoration is vaguely Asian and contemporary, relaxed and comfortable,” says the designer, who drew inspiration from the gorgeous pine gardens surrounding the home.

at a Glance
Who lives here: A young family with a small son and daughter, and their dog
Location: Pacific Palisades, California
Size: Around 4,000 square feet; 4 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms

Photography by Noah Webb

Tim Clarke Design

To make a welcoming entrance arrangement that worked together with the home’s design, Clarke designed a pivoting door and additional indigo-glazed, highly textured baskets to serve as sculptures. “This provides a definite destination and a processional arrival sequence,” he states.

The version here’s Becker, the family’s Vizsla, who also welcomes people.

Tim Clarke Design

The entrance hall sets the tone for the rest of the house’s interiors. Inspired by pavilions from Bali, Clarke broke through the ceiling to make a pyramid-shaped one, and lined it with Douglas fir stained to resemble walnut. The large artwork on the left provides the feeling of an expansive view to the trees.

“I utilized this Balinese pavilion thought to help make some height and break up the large expanse of ceiling that the homes of the era have,” Clarke says. “The rooms are usually quite large, but since the ceilings are usually only 8 or 9 feet, you really see them”

By increasing the ceilings at which he can, he opened the chambers and solved the problem of this oppressive giant flat lid the previous ceilings generated.

Tim Clarke Design

Part of Clarke’s design philosophy involves celebrating the elements of air, earth, water and fire. From the living room a bluestone fireplace joins fire and earth; a plant and light paint colors remind us of atmosphere; and nautical-inspired elements like the nickel and mahogany coffee table and optical picture reference water.

Tim Clarke Design

Although the organic materials have a very elegant appearance, they could withstand abuse. “I always try to utilize materials which are kid and pet friendly — not overly precious, and frequently with nice texture and/or colors that can mask the wear and tear that kids and dogs may create,” Clarke says. The children use this room a good deal, and the designer admits that only from view, the camera’s tripod is straddling a heap of toys.

A bamboo garden just outside the chimney inspired the color palette. “I don’t usually use any color that feels imitation or fabricated; I use colors that occur naturally outside,” he states. “At a home like this, the connection to nature is very important, and the view becomes art.”

Clarke additional pattern in carefully contemplated touches, frequently on accents like throw pillows and rugs; the routines are usually ethnically inspired.

Tim Clarke Design

This kids’ bathroom is simple and compact. “The vinyl is sanded glass, installed as a contemporary spin on bamboo pattern,” Clarke says. By working hard to acquire the stuff flush with the drywall, he eliminated the requirement for trim pieces that would have taken away from the clean and crisp appearance.

The wainscoting, floor and counter are Lagos Azul limestone. A bifold glass door protects the rest of the bathroom from splashing when someone pops, but will not make bathers feel shut in. “The doorway folds back so that you don’t feel as though you’re bathing in an aquarium,” Clarke says.

Tim Clarke Design

A long hallway joins the kids’ bedrooms, parents’ office and gym to this small playroom. Floating oak shelves finished in a warm gray driftwood blot extend down the hallway and wrap around to the space. “The hallway was rather long, and the room at the end was on the small side, so connecting it with all the shelves borrowed a tiny space from the hallway,” Clarke explains.

He also used one of the shelves as a side table next to the sofa. “The lack of a lot of small end tables simplified the space and made it more visually cluttered,” he states.

Tim Clarke Design

Ebonized walnut cabinets are topped with Silestone countertops in kitchen. Glass tile in Ann Sacks provides a calming pattern and movement. “These handmade tiles are somewhat irregular, causing them to get a wonderful touched-by-hands quality which reflects light in an irregular way and sparkles,” Clarke says.

In addition to the tiles, frosted glass cabinet doors also reflect the light and block the dark wood from overwhelming the space.

Tim Clarke Design

A lighter wood onto the kitchen table, rift-cut white walnut with a cerused complete, helps define a breakfast area. Woven chairs and a large painting that resembles wood grain add texture and warmth.

“Kitchens could be cold, hard spaces without many opportunities for almost any feel,” Clarke says. “These woven leather seats are really durable and include an earthy, natural feel into the space.”

Tim Clarke Design

From the master bedroom, Clarke additional long windows which almost extend into the floor, to complement the exact vertical bamboo garden outside. “We chose to design a mattress that had a superb Japanese quality, feeling virtually built in and low, together with the nightstands running under the window,” he states.

The lamps were blessed vintage finds and have the signs of the zodiac on them. “I really like the introduction of classic when potential; it keeps items from feeling stale and soulless,” Clarke says. The Moroccan carpet can be classic and has a great, deep wool pile that is very cozy underfoot.

Tim Clarke Design

The master bathroom is calming and light. “I actually wanted to produce the bathroom feel like a giant room rather than breaking it up a lot,” Clarke says. A transparent glass wall separates the shower whilst retaining the opinion open and performs off the glass at the mosaic tile.

The mosaic glass tile has some rock tiles mixed in and recalls a waterfall. “The mixture gives a great in-and-out depth, since it is possible to see the wall behind the glass but not the rock,” he describes.

Tim Clarke Design

The room is uncluttered, which lets the eye remaining on the gorgeous tile and the outdoor views. The mirror floats, and the light comes from behind it. This eliminated any glaring light in addition to the visual jumble of light fixtures like sconces.

The counters are Lagos Azul limestone, and the cabinets are stained walnut.

Tim Clarke Design

The doorway in the shower leads to a private garden with an outdoor shower. “The idea was that they can shower daily together with the door open for an outdoor shower-like experience with no freezing,” Clarke says. “On those really amazing sunny days, it is great to shower outdoors with this bamboo around from the outdoor shower — the space is totally protected from wind, so the complete outdoor experience happens more times than not.”

The deck is made from teak, which is smooth enough to stand on in bare feet. While every room in the house has powerful links to the surrounding landscape, the master bathroom is the ideal example of a seamless transition from inside to out. After all, the family can walk directly in the indoor shower into the outdoor one au naturel with total privacy.

To learn more about Tim Clarke’s signature style styles, pick up a copy of his book, Coastal Modern.

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