Actress Ione Skye loves to have family and friends over to cook, play games and lounge around in her Los Angeles home. With a little help from her ex-fiance, interior designer David Netto, she's created a place that's white and bright but also warm and welcoming. She shares her secrets for turning a modern house into a stylish oasis.
"It's clean and natural," Ione says of the sheepskin shag, the room's prime spot for leisure activities such as reading the Sunday New York Times, listening to records and eating brunch. "A rug is great for a casual meal if you don't have a formal dining table," she notes. It's also a luxurious contrast to the white-box architecture, as are the handmade African pillows, baskets and stools. The fireplace is almost always lit, fostering a country-house vibe.
Ione suggests drawings and paintings, which tend to be friendlier than photographs. "Oil painting is such a rich medium," she says. This painting (by her) takes as its inspiration a Los Angeles magnolia tree. "The whole room derives its success from that painting-it's so happy and large scale," designer David Netto explains.
Friends gather casually at the low table, and it,s great for kids too.
heep furniture low to the ground.
The sofa, the tables, her bed: Most of Ione,s furniture hovers between 16 and 20 inches above the floor. "Low furniture is more inviting," she says. It also fits the architecture, and has an Asian feel. Ione had the legs of this birch dining table shortened so guests can sit Japanese-style on the floor, using the straw pillows or pulling up one of the low stools or chairs scattered around the house for flexible seating.
People are frequently stopping by, and Ione provides lots of entertainment options. The backgammon board is always lying out for an easy pickup game. She is obsessed with music, and often compiles a mix CD for the get-togethers she hosts, like her English Sunday roasts. Guests can also take turns DJ'ing on her new Pro-ject record player. "My house can be like a little commune," she says.
"I like people to do whatever they want when they come over-swim, watch movies, eat anything in my fridge," Ione says. The open kitchen mirrors that free-and-easy spirit architecturally, especially the shelving. "There's nothing better than looking at neat piles of plates or linens," she says. The dining table is earmarked for more formal meals. For soft lighting, she has small lamps on the kitchen counter and one low-hanging overhead light above the table.
Grown-up furniture is unexpected in a kid 's room.
establish a kid-friendly area (that adults can enjoy, too).
"A child's bedroom doesn't need to suffer overly cutesy furniture. "It can be child-appropriate without being dumbed down," David says. The armoire, which David converted from an Italian bookcase, inspired several pieces in the NettoCollection, his line of children's furniture. The jute carpet could be in any adult's room. The sofa and cube chairs are great for group playtime. However, Ione prefers that the toys don't spill out into the
Ione's office, which is connected to her bedroom, is where she writes and "obsessively looks at things online." It has to be organized, but also, she says, decorated with objects that inspire or spark creativity: a 1930s Chinese bust and pictures of her daughter on the desk, a large mid-20th-century photo by photographer John Swope, all guarded by the Doberman statue her brother (actor Donovan Leitch) gave her. "I'm kind of artistic and spacey, so it's nice to have a place that focuses me," she says.
"I love getting into bed and watching movies with friends," Ione says. In keeping with the overall mood of the house, the bed and sofa are low, so that no matter where people are sitting-and often it's on the floor-they feel relaxed. Formerly a party room and art studio, Ione and David slowly transformed the space into a bedroom, enriching it with warm, uplifting colors and patterns, and bringing in a sofa and a hanging egg chair.