In a neighborhood that has attracted the likes of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, designer Miles Redd gives a 1950s bachelor pad an eclectic redo.
Petite, curvy, and sexy as all get-out, the 1961 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL parked outside Phillip Sarofim’s new home in Beverly Hills is the perfect throwback. Built in 1958, the single-story house—whose crescent roof, swooping walls, and perfectly round dining room are signatures of its architect, Robert L. Earl—is one of many wonders that landed in the Trousdale Estates, a hillside enclave with views to the Pacific Ocean and a trove of modernist houses by such midcentury starchitects as Lloyd Wright, Paul R. Williams, and A. Quincy Jones.
When he bought the house in 2017, Sarofim, a young venture capitalist and car aficionado, instantly knew the seafoam-green coupe with the gull-wing doors would fit in with his new bachelor pad and neighborhood. “Dean Martin had one, and he lived across the street,” Sarofim says. “Frank Sinatra had one, and his house was six doors down. And Elvis Presley, who lived two blocks away, had a 300 SL too.”
Sarofim’s love for classic cars—he restores them and enters them in competitions around the world, together with his girlfriend, the pop singer Avril Lavigne—is so passionate that he’s been known to remove the furniture from his dining room and turn it into a stage in the round for one of his biggest prizes: a rare 1970 Lancia Stratos HF 0 that looks like it’s straight out of a James Bond movie. It’s kismet that the car’s striking persimmon hue coordinates perfectly with the red X in the Bert Stern photograph of Marilyn Monroe on the lacquered black wall.
But if vintage cars are the perfect Trousdale touch, the home’s furnishings are counterintuitive. Instead of Saarinen tables and Le Corbusier chaise longues, these serpentine rooms are filled with museum-caliber antiques—from a George II gilt-wood console to Louis XVI chairs to a Venetian mirror—and an art collection that mixes Old Masters, a Picasso, and a Robert Motherwell with edgier contemporary works by such artists as Doug Aitken and Peppi Bottrop. (Sarofim’s neighbor and friend, Eugenio López Alonso—founder of the Museo Jumex in Mexico City—and his curator, Esthella Provas, advise on his burgeoning art collection.) Taken as a whole, the home’s zeitgeist can be described as “maximum minimalism,” says Sarofim’s interior designer, Miles Redd, who has decorated several homes for the family, including a Wyoming ranch house for his father, Texas billionaire Fayez Sarofim, and homes for his sister, film producer Allison Sarofim.
The mix clearly works—but it took some convincing. Sarofim had first engaged Redd to decorate his Beaux Arts home in Houston. “It was very traditional, and halfway through the project, he scrapped it and moved to Los Angeles,” Redd says. Newly divorced, Sarofim was on the search for a home that would suit his new life as a bachelor while accommodating his two children when they arrived for visits. He and Redd looked at more than 300 houses before Redd Googled the name Trousdale Estates (“I was imagining a house with a little drama,” he says) and discovered a listing for the Earl home. It was on the market after an extensive renovation by its previous owner, the former Corum president Michael Wunderman, and it included a new flared-edge swimming pool with an inset firepit.
“Wow, what do you think?” Redd asked his client. But Sarofim demurred. “I think I’m more of a traditionalist,” he said. Redd persisted. “You could do a really amazing traditional interior in here,” he told him. “I like that the house is generous, but has a human scale.”
Soon, Sarofim was immersed in the rich history of the enclave, which was created in the 1950s and ’60s when the Doheny family sold the backyard of their Tudor Revival manor, Greystone, to a developer named Paul Trousdale. Sarofim discovered that, in addition to past celebrity residents like Groucho Marx and Prince, his new neighbors include Bernard Arnault, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Kelly Wearstler.
Meanwhile Redd and his colleague David Kaihoi began a breakneck sprint to furnish the house—a feat they accomplished in just six months. “I was exhausted,” Redd jokes. Sarofim trusted the team to bring coherence and a sense of style to his many treasures, although he did push back on one of Redd’s suggestions. “Knowing that I like blue, Miles wanted to do something like 14 shades of blue lacquer,” he says. “I said, ‘Let’s just keep it to black, white, and gray.’ ” Nevertheless, Redd and Kaihoi made sure that the home is not lacking for color.
In the living room, a peacock-blue biscuit-tufted velvet sofa (along with a real stuffed peacock) has a dialogue with one of Damien Hirst’s vivid spot paintings. A guest room, upholstered in Kaihoi’s green-velvet Tutsi fabric for Schumacher, features a blue-lacquered canopy bed with a matching blue Chinese rug. Meanwhile, in the bright sunroom, the color scheme gets an extra jolt from a horizontally striped ikat in a crayon palette on the sofa.
Sarofim loves to socialize, and with five bedrooms, the 6,200-square-foot house has ample space for the constant stream of family and friends who come to visit. “I entertain quite a bit, everything from small dinner parties to cocktail parties for 100 or 200, and on weekends, we have barbecues and pool parties with the kids,” he says. “I just love spending time in this house.” As Redd says: “It’s a fabulous backdrop for la dolce vita.”