photographs by Brittany Ambridge text by Caroline Biggs interior design by Lauren Soloff and Chay Wike
Chay Wike, fashion designer and owner of LA boutique Chay, takes us inside her family’s hillside home, where she elevates understatement to an art form.
WHEN CHAY WIKE AND HER FAMILY MOVED INTO THEIR HOLLYWOOD HILLS HOME TWO YEARS AGO, SHE KNEW THEY’D FOUND SOMETHING SPECIAL. The six-bedroom compound—which includes a detached guesthouse and a small cabin— overlooks Los Angeles and is surrounded by open skies and local wildlife. “The setting draws you out of doors,” she says. From the start, this hideaway in the midst of the city offered a welcome retreat for Wike, her husband, and their two daughters. Though built in 1933, the house required surprisingly minor renovations; among them, ripping the floor tiles out of the kitchen, now Wike’s favorite room. The concrete they discovered underneath, she says, “was beautiful, with all its cracks and imperfections, so we left it alone and just polished it.”
A fresh coat of white paint brightened the home’s original brick walls and wood-paneled ceiling, making the living and dining rooms appear larger and more relaxed.
Braid Dessert Plate
The family’s pup, Bill, unwinds on an ottoman in the living room.
FREE & EASYFor Wike, who opened Chay, a fashion and lifestyle boutique in the fall of 2012, preserving what’s natural about a space has become a personal mantra. “Our home has a cozy, earthy feeling, with clean white walls and not too much clutter,” she says. Its style draws inspiration from the uninhibited landscape surrounding the house. “It’s magical up here,” she says. “We have deer, coyote, rabbits, owls, and a resident mountain lion, which we’ve yet to meet.”
In the dining space, a set of bentwood chairs surrounds a table made of locally salvaged pinewood.
SIMPLICITY RULESWike is a firm believer that less is more in the home. “I prefer to paint my walls white,” she says. “Your belongings are art, and they add plenty of color to a space.” To cut clutter, she suggests hanging onto only the items you really love. “Try to use the nicest things you have,” she says, “instead of saving them for that special occasion that never seems to happen.”
Wike sanded down this once-lackluster hood to reveal the original copper.
Saddle Leather Dining Chair
Rather than coat the walls of the sitting room in paint, Wike chose to keep the brick exposed and introduce potted plants and an abundance of natural textures.
DJ CHAYWike’s strong ties to music (her parents were rock artists during her New York City childhood, and her husband, Mark, also works in the industry) have played into developing the style of both her home and her store collection. “It informs so much of my life and creative work,” she says. “It helps me visualize the mood I’m trying to design. When I’m planning a dinner or thinking about the vibe of the shop, I always pick the playlist first.”
Tan Moroccan Leather Pouf
Serena & Lily
GREEN THUMBInvest in houseplants for your home: they purify the air, add natural warmth, and, as Wike explains, “keep you connected to a space.” (Her favorites include philodendrons, begonias, and ficus.) She also keeps a vegetable garden outdoors and feeds her family with the fresh produce.
The colorful storage bins, says Wike, hold an “exorbitant amount of stuffed animals!”
STRUCTURALY SOUNDRetaining as much of the original architecture of her home as was possible (rather than executing a gut renovation) was important to Wike. “These natural, authentic items have a real sense of perspective,” she says. “They are always relevant amid fleeting trends.” Her inspiration during the process was the physical setting surrounding her home; styling the space, she explains, was a collaboration with the natural environment: “I don’t have a background in design, but the beauty speaks for itself.”
“It was essential to keep our bedroom cozy and bright,” says Wike of her challenges in addressing the room’s small size and minimal light.
Emmanuel Torabi Home