As Melissa Akkaway points out, each accessory tells a story, and this applies to both an outfit and a house. And Akkaway knows this very well: As a taster at The Particulars, an online fashion platform, he has been advising readers for years on how to find their personal style. And after ordering a new home in Malibu, California for her family of four with the help of architects Marmol Radziner and interior designers at Redmond Aldrich Design, she is now also a true expert in how to decorate a home with the right accessories, just like to complete an outfit. Throughout the villa, about 700 square meters, it manages to create a strong interior design impact even within an architectural vision where memories are intertwined.
That pair of Miu Miu heels studded with rhinestones? A reminder of the night she met her husband. The Louis Vuitton suitcase at the end of a corridor? A memory of his father. Makeup that any seasoned fashionista can attest to is all in the styling. Fill a room with junk and too many personal memories and you will find yourself in an antique shop or worse, a flea market. If you go too far with minimalism, however, everything becomes cold and impersonal.
First of all, it helps to have a good structure. And at Akkaway, the base is perfect. Marmol Radziner’s experience with west coast homes is seen in the house’s low and horizontal volume and in the well-thought-out integration of interior and exterior (which partly happens through large glass sliding windows, although the roof overhangs help keep the house cool when the sun shines strongest). Two stacked blocks make up the house, the upper part lined with cedar, while the lower is dominated by a green roof filled with native plants.
Outside a wonderful oasis green Californian. There is a skateboard ramp for the Akkaway kids (and for the surfer dad when he’s in the mood); -one victory Garden from which grow tomatoes, cucumbers and bok choy; and an olive grove that houses an outdoor dining area accessible from the internal kitchen. “You can keep everything open thanks to Malibu’s mild climate, and experience this very indoor-outdoor experience,” says Ron Radziner, one of the architects behind the studio of the same name. And the beach is less than 10 minutes away on foot.
Like a beautiful captivating story that is revealed little by little, the house is not revealed at once: a small and slightly dark entrance gives way to an airy and bright space where the living room, kitchen and dining areas merge into one. Outside the great room there are extra spaces such as pantry and laundry room. The bedrooms are hidden upstairs. The kitchen is open and very functional – a feature that Akkaway wants, who prefers to have cooking utensils (and clothing for that matter) at hand.
The design of the house took four years: “Their idea was to live in it for a long, long time,” says Radziner. When Akkaways gave the architects the green light, “they came to the other house we lived in and said, ‘show me the cupboards and where you put things, so we can make sure we design a house that has everything. we need. you need, “Akkaway recalls, details such as surfboard storage, a gym and a study space. “So the project really reflects the way we live.”
The decor with Redmond Aldrich came later and the family wanted to give the interior different warmth and textures. “Melissa knows her stuff when it comes to colors and designs,” says Chloe Warner, founder of Redmond Aldrich. Akkaway agrees: “I love textures, I love drawings, I love playing with all these things,” he says. “I think, especially with accessories, you can have fun.”
However, the Malibu House was a very demanding player. To really stand out on the view from the outside and on the many wooden elements, furniture and accessories had to be of great importance. “Architecture has its own solemnity,” he explains, “so to create a real contrast it was necessary to insert drawings, colors and graphic details, otherwise the only visible thing would have been the purity of the architecture”.
For an accessory enthusiast like Akkaway, it was no problem at all. The light-patterned wallpaper, he told Warner, let’s put it in the studio. A pink onyx coffee table in the living room? Continue. Even sentimental items, such as the Louis Vuitton suitcase, have found their place. “Home accessories are objects that you can add or remove at any time,” says Akkaway, “You can change, delete, put things back where they were, anytime, anywhere.”
The end result is a house that is both architectural solemnity and decorative imagination. “Many people think that if you buy or build a house that has a strong architectural feel, then you have to decorate it in a certain way,” says Warner. “It’s fun to think about what can happen if you do not follow the patterns.”