Recently, my friend Joni blogged about downsizing into an apartment from her 3,100-squarefoot family home. Her story was heartfelt, and worth the read. She chose to use her best pieces, pulling antiques from the corners of her large house to beautifully decorate the new apartment which is about half the size.
I've lived in apartments for the last 5-years, a journey I've not regretted - particularly in a winter climate where the complex is responsible for snow removal six of our twelve months. I've done my best to decorate the box within my means so as to be comfortable, but beautiful - redecorating a few times.
I've also followed along with William McLure in his many moves from apartment, to loft, to apartment, to rental home, to his recent move to his first big home purchase!
The decorations and renovations of each of his apartments far exceeds what the Lease provides possible for people like me, and Joni. Painting our floors white would probably end up in eviction. But his creations are beautiful, and highly inspirational - even if for him it meant forfeiting a security deposit.
However, no apartment decorating compares to Dan Marty in West Hollywood, California. Maybe that's because Dan had the ability to live in one of the most beautiful apartment complexes ever designed: Villa D'Este.
Built in 1927-1928, and originally named "Court of The Fountains", Villa D'Este was the brainchild of architects and brothers F. Pierpont and Water Davis, of Los Angeles. Cecil B. DeMille lived there for some time, and the apartment featured in the 1963 movie "Under The Yum Yum Tree" was indeed at Villa D'Este.
Each of the eleven units is entered through this Spanish style courtyard, complete with fountains and hand-painted tiles on the floors, stairs, ceilings, and water features. Each unit also has its own secluded patio.
Situated in West Hollywood, near the Sunset Strip, the apartments are rarely available - and range in price from $4,000-$9,000/month depending on the floorplan. Dan lived in multiple apartments at Villa D'Este, two of which were featured in publications.
Dan owned Dan Marty Design, then Maison Au Naturel in Los Angeles for a number of years, moving around from shop to shop. If you watched Million Dollar Decorators, you remember Mary McDonald shopping in his store for her clients guest house redo, the one she did for them before they put the house up on the market. If you flip through any shelter magazine from 2005 - 2009, most every interesting piece of furniture or art is likely to be sourced through Dan. He had an unerring eye for picking pieces, creating vignettes, and styling. Even Mary, an amazing decorator in her own right, walked into DMD while filming MDD and bought the vignette as Dan had styled it.
In 2009, Western Interiors featured Dan's first apartment at Villa D'Este:
Shortly after this feature, a larger apartment opened up in the building, and Dan moved to the new space. It was picked up by House Beautiful. This apartment was actually one of the only units photographed when the building was first occupied. So it's wonderful to have the opportunity to show the original occupant photo next to Dan's, 82-years after!
The original occupant of Dan's second apartment with their beautiful mohair upholstered Spanish colonial chairs and religious statues, approximately 1928.
Dan's decoration of the same unit in 2010.
Unfortunately, I was unable to find any other antique photos of the apartment, but I do have many of the apartment as it looked when Dan lived there and decorated it.
Dan no longer lives at Villa D'Este, and his shops have long since closed - sorely missed among the Los Angeles designers who frequented them for objects unique and desired. In fact, his presence on the internet is nearly gone - with nothing posted about him or his shops since 2013. But thankfully, these photos of his apartment decorating still exist, and in my opinion deserve to be shared.
If you're renting and looking to jazz up your space in a "Dan Marty" way, take a look at these lovely things now available on Amazon: